Leonardo’s father was one of the traders who traded in Bugia; a Mediterranean port found in North Eastern Algeria. He always accompanied his father on his journeys across North Africa, and through travelling, he gained valuable knowledge of the mathematical systems that were popular in the countries they visited. After travelling for fifteen years, he quit his long travels and went back to his hometown (Robertson & O’Connor, www-history.mcs.st-and.ac.uk). While in Pisa, his hometown; Leonardo decided to write books based on his mathematical foundation. Examples of these books include; Liber Abaci, Practica Geometricae, Flos, Liber Quadratorum, among others. Influences from Indian, Arabian and Greek mathematicians can be detected in his methods. Therefore, it is correct to say that Leonardo’s works represents the developments of results he acquired from his predecessors.
Leonardo’s published his first work, Liber Abaci (Book of Abacus), in 1202. The Book of Abacus was based on algebra and calculations that he accumulated during his several voyages. The book introduced the use of Arabic numerals and the Hindu-Arabic place value system into Europe: 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 0 (Robertson & O’Connor, www-history.mcs.st-and.ac.uk). Prior to this time, Roman numerals were being used in Europe, and they were extremely awkward for arithmetic. For example, I =1, V=5, X =10, among others. Leonardo also described in Latin the rules being learnt at elementary schools for subtracting, adding, dividing and multiplying numbers.
Several arithmetic problems handled in the book were similar to the ones that appeared in the Arab sources. Liber Abaci’s second section contained several mathematical problems faced by merchants. These problems related to the pricing of goods, how profit calculations were to be conducted, how currencies used in the Mediterranean countries were to be converted, and problems that had originated from China. The third section ...
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