, Volume 186, Issue 1, pp 21-54

Mathematical diagrams from manuscript to print: examples from the Arabic Euclidean transmission

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In this paper, I explore general features of the “architecture” (relations of white space, diagram, and text on the page) of medieval manuscripts and early printed editions of Euclidean geometry. My focus is primarily on diagrams in the Arabic transmission, although I use some examples from both Byzantine Greek and medieval Latin manuscripts as a foil to throw light on distinctive features of the Arabic transmission. My investigations suggest that the “architecture” often takes shape against the backdrop of an educational landscape. The constraints of the economic marketplace and cultural aesthetic ideals also appear to play a role in determining the “architecture” of both manuscripts and early printed editions.