Ancient Greece math was always evolving with a lot of founding theories being developed by noted Greek mathematicians. The Greek civilization was born in 2800 B.C. This was also the time when the pyramids in Egypt were being built.

A number of books on Ancient Greek Mathematics have been found. Notable ancient Greek mathematicians wrote these books. Eudemus contributed to mathematics by writing on arithmetic, and astronomy. Eudemus was Aristotle’s disciple of mathematics.

What was math like in ancient Greece?

 Ancient Greek mathematics was mainly born out of the desire to explain natural phenomena prevalently. Mathematics and philosophy developed together almost intertwined. The philosophers tried to prove their theories with the help of mathematical theories and explanations. Their mathematics also are out of purely practical extension of logic and also wants it to more for practical use and applications

Ancient Greek Mathematics

In 775 B.C the Greeks changed their hieroglyphic way of writing. They invented the alpha and beta which led them to the Phoenician writing system. This writing system became the backbone of ancient Greece maths development. The spread of knowledge became more pertinent, and literacy levels rose. Knowledge was easily transported in books due to this writing system.

greece math expert Pythagoras

The roots of mathematics in ancient Greece:

Until 600 B.C, the Greeks developed art, craft, music, and literature. The earliest known manuscripts about ancient Greece mathematics were when Byzantine Greek codices were discovered. There are historical findings of Herons modification to Euclid’s Elements.

Greek mathematician

Ancient Greek school of mathematics:

Ancient Greeks regarded mathematics as a discipline worth devoting specialized time to. This led to the creation of schools of mathematics that taught only mathematics.

The Ionian school of mathematics:

Thales founded this school in 643 B.C. The school, apart from ancient Greece math, also taught philosophy of science. This was an interesting subject to study, and it clearly showed the level of awareness ancient Greeks had about science.

The Pythagorean School in ancient Greece for mathematics:

Pythagoras, immortalized by his theorem, was also a proficient Greek mathematician. He founded his school in 585 B.C. The school taught number theory and proofing techniques. This was an advent in mathematics, and the beginning of hypothesis and empirical studies to back research.

Pythagorean School greece

The school also taught geometry, the area in which Pythagoras himself excelled. Apart from this, a popular subject was philosophy. It was interesting to note that ancient Greeks understood that philosophy was, in fact, a standalone subject to be pursued.

The Eleatic School of maths:

The Electric Schools name is derived from the place where it is located in Elea. Zeno was the chief architect of this schools view on ancient Greek mathematics. Zeno sometimes had opposing views on existing ancient beliefs on number theory and philosophy.

Part of Euclid

Zeno’s contribution to the theory of movement is well-known. The way he correlated space, time, and movements is remarkable. The intelligence and insights implored into these subjects thousands of years back are outstanding. If Zeon were born in today’s times, his theories would have still evoked a strong interest.

Mathematics of Ancient Greece

Early origins of Greek mathematics

Early Greek mathematicians were influenced greatly by their neighbours especially Egypt when the Greek traders started trading in the Egyptian ports. Even famous mathematicians like Thales and Pythagoras had travelled to Egypt and were exposed to ideas from Mesopotamia.

The earliest examples of Greek mathematics can be seen in the advanced engineering of the Mycenean and Minoan civilisations where they had huge four storeys palaces with advanced drainage systems. Not many documents survive but are suspected to have passed down in the later Greek states.

Archaic and Classical period

Mathematicians like Pythagoras and Thales had travelled to Egypt and Babylon which had supposedly influenced their works.

The discovery of irrationals by Hippasus and the earliest attempt to square the circle by Hippocrates were in this phase. Archytas also belonged to this period who sobbed the problem of doubling the cube and also identified the harmonic mean.

Even philosophers like Plato gave a lot of mathematical theories and believed the elements in the matter could be broken into geometric solids and even propagated the idea of geometrical proportions bounded the cosmos and not physical or mechanical forces. Even in the works of Aristotle, we find the theories about the rainbow and the theory of proportions in the analysis of motion.  The majority of the mathematical works of this phase are gathered from the works of Aristotle.

Hellenistic Period

The Hellenistic period was the peak of ancient Greek mathematics when the spread of Greek culture led to their mixture of Babylonian, Egyptian and other ideas. Famous mathematicians like Euclid, Archimedes, Hipparchus, and Plotrlmy Apolonius belonged to this era and took  Greek mathematics and astronomy to a very advanced level. Their work on the measurement of the circumference of the earth inspired modern scientists to research this issue. They had even constructed a sort of computer known as the Antikythera mechanism, the only specimen of the ancient ages. Their works had been recovered and stored all over the globe, from Sicily, Mesopotamia, Central Asia, Egypt, etc.

Famous mathematicians and their contributions


Euclid of Alexandria was known as the father of geometry and is famous for Euclidean geometry. He had made revolutionary contributions to geometry.


Pythagoras has been immortalized by his Pythagoras theorem which is still based on the Pythagorean’s Basic rule of geometry. He studied several principles of mathematics and also gathered a group of followers known as Pythagoreans who learnt and propagated his theories even after his death.


Archimedes is yet another legendary mathematician in history. He invented compound pulleys and even an Archimedes screw. He also refunded the Pi, a rule still used today.


Thales was probably the first person to whom a mathematical discovery was attributed and he is best known for calculating the heights of the pyramid and also how to calculate the distance of shops from the shore by using geometry.


Aristotle is another Greek known for a number of things like philosophy, law, biology, physics and that even included mathematics. He studied the theories of Platinand made great contributions to Platonism. It is through his works that we gather most of the information about ancient Greek mathematics.


Hipparchus made great contributions to mathematics and is even considered to be the founder of trigonometry and made the first mathematical trigonometric table. He even developed a reliable method to predict a solar eclipse.


Xenocrates had written a book on the theories of numbers and geometry and even could count the number of syllables out of the alphabet.


We find several books written by Anaxagoras on the scientific accounts of natural phenomena. He even discovered a correct explanation for the eclipse, a description of the sun as a huge fiery mass.


Hypatia is one of the rare women who made contributions in the field of mathematics and even taught in an ancient Greek school.


Antiphon was the first to give an upper and lower value of the pi by using a polygon around a circle. His theories made great changes to mathematics which still have relevance even today.

Ancient Greece math was something that historians could not fully uncover. But they did find interesting facts that were truly remarkable. It also indicated that ancient people were far superior to modern day people in intelligence. Ancient Greece mathematics is just a sample portrayal of this fact.