Dragon Maths an Overview

Friends from University are friends forever even if you rarely see or here from them. It was in September 2013 that Greg contacted me. Greg is now a forensic manuscript examiner for a major university. In a collection of old manuscripts that had been bequeathed to the University was one he thought might amuse me. It proported to be a copy of an earlier document which itself was a copy of a still earlier one.

It was headed

Bibliotheca Alexandrina scriptam circa librum draco ex numeris.

Which translates to 'Copied from a scroll from the Library of Alexandria which concerns dragon numbers.'

At first Greg though this was some treatise about how many dragons were to be found in the world but further translation of the scroll show it to be rather the Mathematics of Dragons rather than their quantity. The scroll contains a text that teaches mathematics up to the level of basic algebra and an autobiography of a witch named Gnurter who claims to have introduced numbers into our world.

Greg asked me to check out whether the mathematics in the scoll made sense and to see if I could improve on the translation of that part of the text. Greg continues to examine the original scroll and further references within it to see what evidence there is that it is a copy from a document that was once in the Library of Alexandria. In the meantime the University has given me permission to make the contents available to the wider world to which purpose I have created this site.

The treatise on mathematics gives an interesting and useful way of thinking about numbers and the techniques for handling them. This treatise was originally a continuous document that I have split into sections, moving some of the details away from the main body of work to be available as extra pages.

The story 'The Deceit of Numbers' gives a possible origin for this way of thinking, in which numbers are physical objects found in 'The Domain of Numbers'.

I have produced an interactive site which is an attempt to bring the Domain of Numbers alive. Unfortunately my lack of expertise in this area means that currently this site only works succesfully in the most current versions of Firefox, Internet Explorer and Chrome browsers on a desktop or laptop.

John King January 2014