5000 Years of Geometry

Mathematics in History and Culture

  • Christoph J. Scriba
  • Peter Schreiber

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages I-XVI
  2. Christoph J. Scriba, Peter Schreiber
    Pages 5-26
  3. Christoph J. Scriba, Peter Schreiber
    Pages 27-116
  4. Christoph J. Scriba, Peter Schreiber
    Pages 117-218
  5. Christoph J. Scriba, Peter Schreiber
    Pages 219-254
  6. Christoph J. Scriba, Peter Schreiber
    Pages 255-330
  7. Christoph J. Scriba, Peter Schreiber
    Pages 331-388
  8. Christoph J. Scriba, Peter Schreiber
    Pages 389-488
  9. Christoph J. Scriba, Peter Schreiber
    Pages 489-564
  10. Back Matter
    Pages 565-626

About this book


The present volume provides a fascinating overview of geometrical ideas and perceptions from the earliest cultures to the mathematical and artistic concepts of the 20th century. It is the English translation of the 3rd edition of the well-received German book “5000 Jahre Geometrie,” in which geometry is presented as a chain of developments in cultural history and their interaction with architecture, the visual arts, philosophy, science, and engineering.

Geometry originated in the ancient cultures along the Indus and Nile Rivers and in Mesopotamia, experiencing its first “Golden Age” in Ancient Greece. Inspired by the Greek mathematics, a new germ of geometry blossomed in the Islamic civilizations. Through the Oriental influence on Spain, this knowledge later spread to Western Europe. Here, as part of the medieval Quadrivium, the understanding of geometry was deepened, leading to a revival during the Renaissance. Together with parallel achievements in India, China, Japan and the ancient American cultures, the European approaches formed the ideas and branches of geometry we know in the modern age: coordinate methods, analytical geometry, descriptive and projective geometry in the 17th an 18th centuries, axiom systems, geometry as a theory with multiple structures, and geometry in computer sciences in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Each chapter of the book starts with a table of key historical and cultural dates and ends with a summary of essential contents of geome

try in the respective era. Compelling examples invite the reader to further explore the problems of geometry in ancient and modern times.

The book will appeal to mathematicians interested in Geometry, and to all readers with an interest in cultural history.

From letters to the authors for the German language edition

I hope it gets a translation, as there is no comparable work.

Prof. J. Grattan-Guinness (Middlesex University London)

"Five Thousand Years of Geometry" - I think it is the most handsome book I have ever seen from Springer, and the inclusion of so many color plates really improves its appearance dramatically!

Prof. J.W. Dauben (City University of New York)

An excellent book in every respect. The authors have successfully combined the history of geometry with the general development of culture and history. …

The graphic design is also excellent.

Prof. Z. Nádenik (Czech Technical University in Prague)


Archimedes Dürer Escher Euclid Geometry

Authors and affiliations

  • Christoph J. Scriba
    • 1
  • Peter Schreiber
    • 2
  1. 1.University HamburgHamburgGermany
  2. 2.University GreifswaldGreifswaldGermany

Bibliographic information