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Interest, price, and profit: an overview of mathematical economics in YBC 4698

By Christine Proust and Robert Middeke-Conlin

Abstract

International audienceTablet YBC 4698 provides an interesting overview of the mathematical approach to economic problems in the Old Babylonian period. Although well preserved (see the photo posted at http://cdli.ucla.edu/P255010), the text has been poorly published. In MKT 1, Neugebauer confessed that he was not able to publish the text.[2] In MKT 3, he made little progress. He transliterated the text leaving many signs unidentified, and translated only a small portion of it (MKT 3, 42-45). Neugebauer recognized that his difficulties came mainly from the fact that he was not familiar with economic terminology.[3] Thureau-Dangin improved the reading of some words, and provided a transcription and translation of section 16, the rest of the text remaining quite obscure (Thureau-Dangin 1937b, 89-90). In TMB, he only quoted the text (p. 214) and referred to MKT 3 and to his previous paper.[4] Friberg, in different chapters of his 2005 monograph (2005: 23 n. 10, 60-61, 67-68, and 215-218), made substantive improvements to YBC 4698’s reading and translations, as well as interpretation of problems 3, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10. However, he considered the problems as isolated entities. In this article, we try to look at the text as a whole, and to understand how the different problems are interconnected

Topics: Mesopotamia, Cuneiform mathematics, History of economy, [ MATH.MATH-HO ] Mathematics [math]/History and Overview [math.HO], [ SHS.HISPHILSO ] Humanities and Social Sciences/History, Philosophy and Sociology of Sciences
Publisher: Cuneiform Digital Library Initiative
Year: 2014
OAI identifier: oai:HAL:hal-01515972v1
Provided by: Hal-Diderot
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