SHEILA TERRY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SHEILA TERRY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Table from 1882 illustrating the development of numerals from the 1st century AD as seen by the philologist Canon Isaac Taylor. Subsequent scholarly research and debate expanded this view. It is now widely accepted that today's symbols are Western Arabic numerals which originated from Indian Brahmi numerals. The nine Hindu-Arabic symbols (glyphs) had been introduced into Europe at the beginning of the 13th century, principally by Fibonacci, but only came into general use two centuries later. This positional decimal system with its zero symbol made calculations much easier to do than clumsy Roman numerals.
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