History : May-Jun 2016
5 6 A GOLDEN AGE OF PAINTING FILLED 18TH-DYNASTY TOMBS WITH DETAIL AND COLOR, SUCH AS THE TOMB OF MENNA IN THE THEBAN NECROPOLIS. 7 8 ARALDO DE LUCA LEARNING THE ROPES IN ANCIENT EGYPT Egyptian surveyors were renowned for their skill at measuring areas using ropes. The great Greek mathematician and philosopher Democritus (fifthfourth centuries b.c.) spent time in Egypt, where, according to Clement of Alexandria, he was particularly struck by the skills of the Egyptian rope stretchers, known as harpedonaptai. “In the construction of lines with proofs I am not surpassed,” he wrote, “not even by the so-called Harpedonaptai of the Egyptians.” Egyptian fields were either rectangular or trapezoidal so that, by using geometry, the harpedonaptai could get an accurate measurement for each plot. They would then use these measurements to calculate the productivity of each according to its quality. Rope with 13 knots and a total of 12 sections A right triangle, made up of 3 x 4 x 5 sections 1. The Egyptians measured land by dividing it up into triangles. To do this, they are thought to have used a rope with 13 equally spaced knots. 2. The surface area of a whole field could be calculated using geometry.