**From:** Marco Cimarosti

**Message:** 227

**Date:** 2001-06-06

Eliotte Rusty Harold wrote (on unicode@...):

I think that the early (Italian? Spanish?) mathematicians who adopted the

"Arabic" digits actually used the Arabic glyphs (which, BTW, at that timer

were probably more similar to Hindi glyphs that they are today). I assume

that those mathematicians had a working knowledge of written Arabic because

they needed to use Arabic ("Moresque") math manuals.

I think that the great differentiation came when typographers engraved the

types to print math books, trying to "harmonize" the digits to the Latin

Letters.

However, looking at the shape of some digits (e.g., "2" and "3") I wondered

too whether these glyph had undergone 45 degree rotations during their

travel from LTR Indic scripts through RTL Arabic script to LTR European

scripts.

_ Marco

> Today's European digits like 0, 1, 2, and 3 are actually closer toAn interesting point.

> the original Hindu glyphs from 1000 years ago than to true Arabic

> numerals. Both Arabic and European digits derive from the original

> sources in India. however, the Arabic numerals had to shift a lot

> more to make for convenient writing in the right-to-left script

> system employed in Arabic than in the left-to-right printed system

> used in the West in the Middle Ages.

I think that the early (Italian? Spanish?) mathematicians who adopted the

"Arabic" digits actually used the Arabic glyphs (which, BTW, at that timer

were probably more similar to Hindi glyphs that they are today). I assume

that those mathematicians had a working knowledge of written Arabic because

they needed to use Arabic ("Moresque") math manuals.

I think that the great differentiation came when typographers engraved the

types to print math books, trying to "harmonize" the digits to the Latin

Letters.

However, looking at the shape of some digits (e.g., "2" and "3") I wondered

too whether these glyph had undergone 45 degree rotations during their

travel from LTR Indic scripts through RTL Arabic script to LTR European

scripts.

_ Marco