It dashes at once into the middle of the subjects with the examination of a problem which had baffled the ancients, and seems as if it were tossed at the heads of the French geometers as a challenge.
The ancient Egyptians were famed as " geometers," and as early as the days of Rameses II.
Having determined the difference of latitude between Alexandria and Syene which he erroneously believed to lie on the same meridian, and obtained the distance of those places from each other from the surveys made by Egyptian geometers, he concluded that a degree of the meridan measured 700 stadia.'
The harmony between arithmetical and geometrical measurement, which was disturbed by the Greek geometers on the discovery of irrational numbers, is restored by an unlimited supply of the causes of disturbance.
It is probable that the algebra of the Egyptians was of a most rudimentary nature, for otherwise we should expect to find traces of it in the works of the Greek geometers, of whom Thales of Miletus (640-546 B.C.) was the first.