Born: about 1680 BC in Egypt
Died: about 1620 BC in Egypt

Ahmes is the scribe who wrote the Rhind Papyrus (named after the Scottish Egyptologist Alexander Henry Rhind who went to Thebes for health reasons, became interested in excavating and purchased the papyrus in Egypt in 1858).

Ahmes claims not to be the author of the work, being, he claims, only a scribe. He says that the material comes from an earlier work of about 2000 BC.

The papyrus is our chief source of information on Egyptian mathematics. The Recto contains division of 2 by the odd numbers 3 to 101 in unit fractions and the numbers 1 to 9 by 10. The Verso has 87 problems on the four operations, solution of equations, progressions, volumes of granaries, the two-thirds rule etc.

The Rhind Papyrus, which came to the British Museum in 1863, is sometimes called the 'Ahmes papyrus' in honour of Ahmes. Nothing is known of Ahmes other than his own comments in the papyrus.

The Rhind papyrus

Article by: J J O'Connor and E F Robertson

List of References (4 books/articles)

A Quotation

Mathematicians born in the same country

Additional Material in MacTutor

  1. Rhind papyrus (Colour picture)
  2. An entry in The Mathematical Gazetteer of the British Isles

Cross-references in MacTutor

  1. History Topics: Egyptian papyri
  2. History Topics: Squaring the circle
  3. History Topics: An overview of Egyptian mathematics
  4. Chronology: 30000BC to 500BC
  5. Famous Curves: Circle

Other Web sites
  1. Mathematicians of the African diaspora
  2. Kevin Brown

JOC/EFR © January 1997
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School of Mathematics and Statistics
University of St Andrews, Scotland
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