Talk:Euclid

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Nationality[edit]

According to the Heath,the leading English language scholar on the subject (in the works cited in the article), and as confirmed by leading general reference works, including Encyclopedia Britannica, Euclid was of Greek nationality. That is also the consensus of the editors who have worked on this article over the years. Please do not change this statement in the article without citing reliable sources to the contrary, and without first discussing it on this Talk page. Thank you. Finell (Talk) 14:57, 4 April 2008 (UTC)

[Copied from User_talk:Finell]:
Dear Finell I was wondering what your objection to changing the nationality of Euclid is. As it is known, Euclid was probably born in Alexandria. He taught and died in it. No one can confirm that he is purely Greek while what is more confirmed is that most of his life was spent in Egypt. He is even called "Euclid of Alexandria". In the hellinic period the Egyptian and Greek civilizations were strongly mixed with each other and each of them influenced the other. Euclid and many other scientists of Alexandria in the Byzantine age are results of that mix. So it is fair to claim both nationalities for them. So I do not understand why this insistence on claiming a doubtful piece of information (i.e. that he is purely Greek) while refusing something that might have greater evidence? Please note that I am saying he is a Greek/Egyptian and I am not claiming that he is only Egyptian. I linked the NAHSTE website in external links.
If you did some search in the internet you would find many evidences that support my claim. Best wishes, Ahmedettaf April 5 2008 —Preceding unsigned comment added by Ahmedettaf (talk •[{Special:Contributions/Ahmedettaf|contribs]]) 15:57, 5 April 2008 (UTC)
Correction to my last message: I meant the two civilizations (Egyptian and Greek) were strongly interacting with each other during the Ptolemaic empire and not the Byzantine age. Sorry about that Ahmedettaf (talk) 16:36, 5 April 2008 (UTC)
Dear Ahmedettaf: Welcome to Wikipedia! Thank you for contributing.
I have no personal investment in Euclid being Greek; I have no Greek ancestors. I recognize the achievements of Ancient Egyptians in astronomy, mathematics (e.g., through the Rhind Mathematical Papyrus), and the engineering and architecture of the Pyramids. Likewise, I recognize the major contributions of Islamic culture to mathematics (among other things), including its role in developing the system of numerals now used worldwide, invention of algebra, and preserving much of Europe's culture after the Roman Empire fell and the great Library of Alexandria was sacked: much of what we know about Euclid's work, for example, is through Arabic editions and translations. The Arab world and took over as the beacon of light and learning during Europe's five centuries of Dark Ages. I have a deep respect for the history of knowledge (less so for the history of wars and monarchs), and I give credit where it is due.
My only concern with the treatment of Euclid's nationality here is accuracy, as determined from the historical evidence by the most reliable sources on the subject. For the same reason, I have removed statements when people add them about the years of Euclid's birth and death: even though various years have been published, scholarship shows that they are pure guesswork; they do not even qualify as circa years.
When Euclid is called "Euclid of Alexandria", it is to distinguish him from Euclid of Megara. Conversely, Plato is not called "Plato of Athens" (and likewise with Socrates and Aristotle) because no such disambiguation is necessary for them. The leading authorities on Euclid and on the mathematics of his era conclude, based on what historical evidence there is, that he was Greek. Standard reference works likewise state that he was Greek. I am not aware of any body of reliable scholarship that supports the proposition that he was Egyptian. I looked at the NAHSTE Web page when it was first mentioned. NAHSTE is a project to catalogue archival collections of materials that are important "to a full understanding of the history of science in Scotland" [1]. The NAHSTE site has several biographies, but not one of Euclid. The linked NAHSTE page is a listing of archival collections that contain works related to him. Yes, the title of the page says "Egyptian mathematician", without any discussion of why or citation of authority, and along with giving fictitious birth and death years without even a "circa" qualification. That does not counterbalance all the reliable scholarship on the subject. You don't identify the other Web sites to which you refer; there is lots of misinformation on the Web. As with all sources, Web pages can be used to support facts published in Wikipedia only if they meet Wikipedia's standards for reliable sources.Finell (Talk) 21:21, 5 April 2008 (UTC)
Dear Finell: Thank you very much for your warm welcome. I am very grateful too for your instructive reply. I deeply appreciate you interest in the history of science and your good attitudes towards the contributions of different human civilizations. Please be sure that I share this passion and respect with you. My recent contributions to Euclid's page has indeed no racial themes. Also I will not be happy if I inserted a piece of fake information. Accordingly I will be glad if we can discuss further this topic and reach the correct conclusion.
I am afraid that there are no such "reliable" sources that resolve the controversy over Euclid's nationality (whether he is Greek or Grecko-Egyptian). The earliest bibliographical sketch for Euclid was written at least seven centuries after Euclid's death. Accordingly information regarding his identity might have been influenced by speculation rather than strong evidences. The only piece of reliable information we have is that he had taught in Alexandria Bibiothica and that he died there. However, even if we assume that he was of Greek nationality (and I do not object to this at all. As you might have noticed I did not change his nationality under his picture) there are a couple of reference I came across that claimed he was born in Alexandria. Please check The Britannica Encyclopedia and [2] So it is probable that Euclid was Alexandrian by birth (Actually he is listed in Wikipedia as well in the list of Ancient Alexandrians [3] and also in the list of Hellenistic Egyptians [4]) Please dear Finell note that I am not depriving Euclid of the Greek nationality. What I am claiming is that he has an Egyptian part in his identity as he was probably born and has spent most of his life there. You would find such controversy of identity listing everywhere with People of Greek and Roman Egypt (e.g. Claudius Ptolemaeus, Hypatia and others)As for the point that his work was in Greek, I found it natural as the formal language of Egypt at that time was the Greek beside a late form of the ancient Egyptian language. I hope I have clarified my point. Best Wishes, Ahmedettaf Ahmedettaf (talk) 03:58, 6 April 2008 (UTC)

I'd like to comment on some of the things that have been said above, in the hope of clarifying the situation and perhaps even getting agreement on what to put in the article. Mr. Finell wrote: "as confirmed by leading general reference works, including ... Encyclopedia Britannica, Euclid was of Greek nationality." I've just read the article on Euclid in the 15th edition of Britannica, published 1978, the article signed by van der Waerden. He says " ... almost nothing is known of its (Elements') author's life" and "Of his life it is known only that he taught at and founded a school at Alexandria ...". He says nothing at all about Euclid's "nationality"; the article is not harmed by that omission. Mr Finell goes on to say "That is also the consensus of the editors who have worked on this article over the years." That's a slightly odd use of the word "consensus", since there are several records on this very page of editors arguing this issue, and no assumption can be made about the attitude of those who have edited only those parts which do not touch on Euclid's nationality. Mr.Finell also says (26 September 2006, when asserting the alleged "consensus") "Euclid came to the university to teach mathematics; he was not born there." If this is taken to mean that he was not born in Alexandria, there is not a shred of evidence to support it, nor any scholarly support either.

Moving on to a more positive approach, let's consider what Euclid's "nationality" might mean, and what possibilities there are.

  • It could be that he was Greek, born in Greece. This is possible, but there is no evidence to support it.
  • It could be that he was of consciously Greek ancestry, but born elsewhere, such as Tyre (as claimed by al-Qifti) or Alexandria. This seems to be the likeliest possibility, but not certain.
  • He could have been originally non-Greek, learnt the Greek language and joined the Greek-speaking academic community in Alexandria. In particular he might have been an Egyptian. This is possible, but less likely, partly because his name is Greek, and also because if he had been non-Greek someone would probably have mentioned it.

The crucial question, however, is what to put into the wikipedia article. Again I will quote Mr. Finell, but this time with more agreement: "If there exists differing verifiable responsible scholarship published by reliable and reputable sources, in accordance with Wikipedia's official policies, it may be added to improve the article. Speculation, however, is not permitted." That's entirely right. We should stick to the facts. We should provide sources even for those facts which are not disputed (and this issue is not one of them). We can present and discuss opposing interpretations of evidence. But where there is nothing to go on, and the matter is not really important anyway, the wisest option is often silence.

I can't see how a policy of silence can reasonably offend anyone. If we present what is certain, and say nothing else, people can have their faith in wikipedia confirmed. If they have strong prejudices about Euclid's nationality, whatever they are, they will neither be supported nor provoked. Those who find it possible to keep an open mind (as I try to do), will also be satisfied. In this case the policy would mean deleting all explicit reference to Euclid's "nationality". The reader would still know that he worked in Alexandria, spoke Greek, was part of Hellenistic civilization and worked on Greek mathematics. That should be enough for anyone.SamuelTheGhost (talk) 20:09, 6 April 2008 (UTC)

Dear Mr. SamuelTheGhost: I can not agree more. I highly value your contribution. Certainly what we should add to the Wikipedia has to be based on evidence and not speculations. This is particularly true with Euclid's nationality as I mentioned above and as what you have described in more detail after that. I do not have any particular interest in provoking Euclid as ethnically Egyptian. Nevertheless I am afraid it can not also proven that he was Greek. For example, if he were so, we should have known more about him as Greeks at that time tend to keep records of which Greek cities they were born in and preserved their own cities nationalities. Also writing or teaching in Greek at that time was natural as Greek had become one of the formal languages in Alexandria and Egypt. So I agree with you that there is muck controversy about Euclid's nationality which can not be 100% settled. This is why I did not omit his Greek nationality but just added the other probable nationality he might have belonged too. I think it might be O.K if we agreed on deleting what is related to Euclid's nationality altogether in the favor of stressing more certain facts like what you have mentioned (e.g. he taught in Alexandria). Another option, which I prefer, is to put a section on Euclid's Nationality where we might discuss different speculations about him (similar to what you have presented above). I would be glad to know what you, Mr. Finell and the others think about these two suggestions. Again, please be sure that there are no offenses to me in revealing the truth and sticking to the agreed on facts. Best wishes Ahmedettaf (talk) 00:04, 7 April 2008 (UTC)
My first post that began this section linked to the page of Britannica Online that says he was Greek; I did not cross-check the print version. W.W. Rouse Ball, A short Account of the History of Mathematics, p. 52, says: "Of his life we know next to nothing, save that he was of Greek descent ..." Heath also says he is Greek, doesn't he? I am sure it would be easy to find other WP:RSs that say he is Greek. I am not aware of equally reliable sources that say he is Egyptian, or anything else, and so far no one has cited any. Greeks ruled Alexandria during the Hellenic period, and its culture was Greek. So if Euclid had been born there that would not make him Egyptian; but no scholarship says that he was born there, only that he lived and worked there as an adult. Wikipedia does not require proof of truth. According to the first two sentences of Wikipedia:Verifiability (boldface in original): "The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth. 'Verifiability' in this context means that readers should be able to check that material added to Wikipedia has already been published by a reliable source." As a matter of Wikipedia policy, editors may not delete verifiable statements because of their personal doubts or speculations. Nor may they add alternate facts based on their own reasoning, without support in reliable sources. Please read Wikipedia:Verifiability and some of the related policies linked in it, such as WP:NOR. We've been all over this before. Please do not belabor this non-issue. Thanks.Finell (Talk) 00:50, 7 April 2008 (UTC)
However all these sources do not say that he is for sure Greek since there are no references that can be traced continuously to the time when Euclid was born. The first bibliographical source that was written about Euclid was at least 7 centuries afte Euclid's death. All the sources you have stated are of course respectable dear Mr. Finell. Nevertheless they do not have any verifiable evidences of their claim and one can easily say in this case that they are speculative or consistent with what most people might think. A clear cut truth is not there. As for the point that Alexandria was a part of Greek civilization as was Egypt at that time, I do not object. I was just pointing to what you had said in an earlier post: "No source was cited for the recent additions to this article to the effect that Euclid was an Alexandrian or Egyptian or African by birth or nationality". Now I have presented two references that say Euclid might have been born in Alexandria including the Britannica Encyclopedia itself. So if we depend on that source for one thing, we should equally rely on it for another. After all,I am not claiming that Euclid must have been of Egyptian Descend. Please remember that even if the Greek were the rulers of Egypt at that time, they tried to mimic the Egyptians at least in the early period of their ruling. The rulers were titled as Pharaohs and were even dressed as them. They encouraged marrying from the natives in order to assure stability during the first part of their ruling. Accordingly what I am saying here and as Mr.SamuelTheGhost mentioned, there is a controversy about Euclid's nationality. No single verifiable evidence (that is an evidence which dates back to the same time around which Euclid was born) exists that says he was for sure Greek. It is very easy to claim Euclid was Greek, may be based on his name or the language he wrote the Elements in, but that is not enough. He was certainly a part of the Greek civilization but this does not mean that he was Greek. This is similar to many Persian and Minor Asian scientists who flourished in the period 800-1200 A.D and wrote their work in Arabic language. This did not make them Arabs by ethnicity but indeed they were a part of the Arabic civilization.
As for the "verifiability versus truth" issue raised here, I would think then that we must state Euclid was Alexandrian by birth ([5] ,[6],[7] [8]). However I see that a good solution would be to devote a section on Euclid's Nationality. We can then try to gather the different pieces of information supporting the different speculations. This is important for the sake of scientific honesty. The article as it is now, rules out all other legitimate possibilities for Euclid's nationality. Best Ahmedettaf (talk) 01:29, 7 April 2008 (UTC)


I've really enjoyed this exchange, it's a fascinating question. Finnell, I see that you have said that you "have no personal investment" on account of not being Greek, although I'm sure that was not called for; but, are your sources of European ancestry, and writing in Eurocentric epochs and languages? Is it not odd that a man we know to be living and working in Egypt, which is in Africa, is not described as an African? You don't have to answer that, I know he spoke Greek and worked in the Greek tradition, but the point is that he was an African, literally, undeniably, and not in some abstract, contrived sense. As one scholar asks in speaking to Euclid's heritage, "Are English-speaking Nigerians Englishmen?" The axis on which we evaluate Euclid's work is inevitably an English-language, Eurocentric axis. This is one of those things that's appalling and that we intuitively want to resist conceding, but it is quite real. And I'm not disagreeing with you per se, rather challenging our shared view of the world, or something, ha.
OK, back to talk that's relevant to Wikipedia. Here are some citations that say Egyptian. This does not mean that he was not also a Greek, in another sense (but we typically emphasize Greek and not African or Egyptian because of our own cultural orientation, even if all are true in their own way). [9][10][11][12] I agree that he should not be described as either Greek or Egyptian, except to note where he lived and what language he spoke. DBaba (talk) 01:40, 7 April 2008 (UTC)
Thanks Mr. DBaba for this valuable contribution. Actually one of the major things I liked about this discussion is the civilized
tone in exchanging our arguments. Our goal after all is seeking the truth without prejudice. Now we have references supporting both points of view, so I suggest that we either state both identities for Euclid or devote a special section on his nationality and state the respective references. Best Ahmedettaf (talk) 08:32, 7 April 2008 (UTC)
"I know he spoke Greek and worked in the Greek tradition, but the point is that he was an African, literally, undeniably". Certainly -geographically-, but does that tell us anything about the context he worked in? Obviously not. In any case, I believe that any arguments about Euclid's 'ethnicity' (or 'nationality', but that'd be an anachronism, surely?) are misguided, hence why I changed to a version -a few days ago- that read as [Greek mathematics|Greek mathematician] rather than "[Greeks|Greek] mathematician" or "[Greeks|Greek]/[Egyptians|Egyptian] mathematician". If anyone is too sensitive to Euclid being described as a "[Greek mathematics|Greek mathematician]", it can be changed to [Greek mathematics|Hellenistic mathematician] which imo should dispel all concerns about 'fair representation'. 3rdAlcove (talk) 20:45, 7 April 2008 (UTC)
"I believe that any arguments about Euclid's 'ethnicity' (or 'nationality', but that'd be an anachronism, surely?) are misguided" then why should we claim him as Greek? As I mentioned before Euclid is listed in another Wikipedia Document under the category of "Egyptian Hellenistic" [13]. I am sorry that you thought this discussion is motivated by sensitivity towards describing Euclid as Greek !. No one has said that, and no one asked for depriving Euclid of his Greek ancesty -which is probable. However the question is: We have sources claiming he was Greek and sources claiming he was Egyptian, what is the problem then in describing him as both? Why do we always prefer to describe him as "Greek" only? What is the harm in describing him as Greek/Egyptian or Ancient Alexandrian or Egyptian Hellenistic, as long as there are some arguments supporting those claims? Ahmedettaf (talk) 21:27, 7 April 2008 (UTC)
I believe you've misinterpreted my post. I didn't use '"Greek" mathematician' in an ethnic sense (I suppose this answers your "Why do we always prefer to describe him as "Greek" only?" question. As far as I understand -please correct me if I'm wrong- it's because the Elements represent(s) a culmination of the Greek geometric tradition.); take a look at the "change to a version..." section. The 'misguiged' part was in response to Euclid's possible ancestry: his work is what matters in the end, so who cares what he was? "Hellenistic" covers it (with a link of the [Greek mathematics|Hellenistic mathematician] kind, since [Greek mathematics|Greek mathematician] might seem as an 'ethnic' designation) because it refers to a cultural context and not ancestry necessarily and as such would be a way of completely avoiding any argument of that sort. 3rdAlcove (talk) 21:52, 7 April 2008 (UTC)
3rd, suggesting that to be honest about Euclid being Egyptian was a sort of condescension to "sensitive" types, this sort of abrasiveness does not help build consensus, and seems to indicate that you haven't understood the conversation. Clearly, he is a Greek mathematician in once sense, and an Egyptian mathematician in another. That's fact, not "sensitivity". DBaba (talk) 22:55, 7 April 2008 (UTC)
"Sensitivity" as in "sensitive about fair representation" which, sure, I am too. Euclid was "Egyptian" in the sense that he worked in Alexandria, in Egypt and "Greek" in the sense of the mathematical tradition and culture. We know nothing about his birthplace or his ancestry, hence why I proposed what I did. I've completely understood the conversation so, perhaps, you should ask for further clarification before reaching conclusions. In any case, does "Hellenistic mathematician" cover it all? If Finell agrees, we could even change it to "Greco-Egyptian" or even "Greek or Egyptian" (though I prefer the "Hellenistic" solution to any 'ethnic' designations, personally, since it provides us with the only thing we know for certain) and be done with it. 3rdAlcove (talk) 23:20, 7 April 2008 (UTC)
Dear Mr. 3rdAlcove. Thanks for the clarification about the "sensitivity" context and I hope there are no hard feelings. I totally agree with you that Euclid was a part of the Hellenistic civilization. I am also sure that you know we all admit that there is a kind of controversy about his nationality due to a lack of trusted sources. However, I am afraid Mr. Finell once said that we could not change verifiable information in Wikipedia as well as we could not add any information without being verified. Now given the current situation of the article in which Euclid is listed as a "Greek" and that this claim is supported in some sources (And hence "Verifiable" in the sense Finell was describing), we can not delete it from the article (As I understood from Finell in his comment on the post of Mr. SamuelTheGhost but please correct me if I am wrong). On the other hand, we now have another piece of information that is "verifiable" in some sense too and which can expand the article and add to it in a useful way. According I can see that the suggestion to list him as Greek/Egyptian would be a fair solution if we agreed on. Of course what matters most for us is his work and I deeply appreciate that. However, this does not contradict with our right to discuss and state various postulates about his biography. Best wishes Ahmedettaf (talk) 00:34, 8 April 2008 (UTC)
Dear Mr. 3rdAlcove: The references are required for verifiability. The listed references are written by recognized specialists (including university professors) and hence are reliable in the sense of wikipedia. None of them is from the 18 th century (and I do not know what is wrong with that even if that was the case). So please do not delete the references in order not to violate the verifiability criterion. Best Ahmedettaf (talk) 03:54, 11 April 2008 (UTC)
Sorry but those sources were of generally low quality or generic ones (proverbs for students from the 19th century?). We don't need a source for everything, especially matters that are generally accepted. 3rdAlcove (talk) 15:00, 11 April 2008 (UTC)

Mr. Finell raises an interesting point when he says

Wikipedia does not require proof of truth. According to the first two sentences of Wikipedia:Verifiability (boldface in original): "The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth. 'Verifiability' in this context means that readers should be able to check that material added to Wikipedia has already been published by a reliable source."

This section of Wikipedia policy is clearly devoted to the case where editors include material which, they claim, is true, but is not sourced. This situation implies that they know the truth by means of original research, which is banned. But what of the converse situation, where something is apparently reliably sourced, but not true? Clearly if that happens, we must have decided that the "reliable" source wasn't reliable after all. Therefore, Wikipedia policy is, effectively, that material must be both true and reliably sourced. In this particular case, it seems that Rouse Ball went a little beyond the evidence. Therefore we can say that, just on this occasion, he loses his status as "reliable source".

As for Mr. Finell's remark "Please do not belabor this non-issue." - what excellent advice! SamuelTheGhost (talk) 16:15, 11 April 2008 (UTC)

Dear Mr. SamuelTheGhost: My only reservation was that we insisted on calling him Greek and showing objection to acknowledge that he might have been Egyptian. Both claims lack strong evidences since there are no sources that can be traced continuously in time backward to the time when Euclid was living (Also was not it starnge that we know everything about a lot of other Greek scientists who lived before ad after Euclid but know nothing about "Greek" Euclid?). When I raised this point I was faced with (Verifiability vs truth) issue so I understood that it is a matter of referencing. I was not convinced but I had to abide by the policy. Now, I can see that the article is looking more reasonable by stating what we are sure was true. Personally I still believe that he might have been Greek or Egyptian (Thinking in terms of probability theory). Nevertheless, I am agreeing to the state of the article as it is now as long as there is no insistence on preferring some doubtful material to other doubtful material. As for "Please do not belabor this non-issue" I think this applies to anyone who insists on including a material he believes in and refusing equally probable material just because it is inconsistent with the mainstream point of view. But after all it is a good advice for everyone of us :) Best Ahmedettaf (talk) 21:37, 11 April 2008 (UTC)

This is becoming positively amusing. Mr. Finell reverted the recent update saying "Ptolemaic Kingdom is an era in history, not an nationality; the references cited support the statement that he was Greek, regardless of second-guessing by non-experts". Well, it is absolutely clear that the Ptolemaic Kingdom was Euclid's political master, which would certainly therefore be his "nationality" in the modern sense of the word. The United States of America is also just "an era in history". There is no WP:RS that Euclid was Greek in anything other than language. There is a reasonable presmption that he was Greek in ancestry, which could be discussed if we chose to introduce a section in which to do so. I have been doing my utmost to avoid "second-guessing". As for "non-experts", Mr.Finell has no knowledge of the expertise of the participants in this discussion, so to use that epithet is an unfounded personal attack. Please do not belabor this non-issue. SamuelTheGhost (talk) 08:28, 13 April 2008 (UTC)

According to the Ptolemaic Kingdom article, that term refers to a particular era in the history of Egypt, the time when Egypt was ruled by Ptolemaic line of kings. The expression is similar to Ming Dynasty. There never was a nationality called the Ptolemaic Kingdom. If you still contend otherwise, please supply a reliable source that says Euclid's nationality was "Ptolemaic Kingdom"; until someone does, that statement does not belong in the article. Furthermore, why do you assume that the leading scholars simply "presume" that Euclid was of Greek ancestry, rather than assuming that the leading scholars actually know what they are talking about? Have you actually read the references cited in the article? Since when is "political master[y]" the sole criterion of nationality? When Germany invaded Poland, did the Poles instantly become Germans? And then Poles again after World War II ended? Ditto for the French? Finally, yes, it is true, I am assuming that the Wikipedians who contribute to this article, myself included, are not experts, as compared with Heath and Ball and the other sources who say that Euclid was Greeek; that is hardly a personal attack. If I am wrong about this, and some of you indeed meet Wikipedia's criteria for a WP:RS (I know that I don't), please come forward, identify yourselves, and supply your CV and your bibliography of published writings on the subject at hand. Finell (Talk) 10:15, 14 April 2008 (UTC)

'Nationality' refers to (1) ethnicity, or to (2) the protection of and allegiance to a state. There's nothing to say about Euclid's ethnicity; but clearly he resided in (the political dominion of) Ptolemaic Egypt. That doesn't mean he wasn't 'Greek' in another way, which is not a question of nationality. It just seems you're misappropriating the term to say... well... What? Can't you see how absurd it is to hyperlink his nationality to Greece? DBaba (talk) 17:33, 14 April 2008 (UTC)

Heath in his books has no sources supporting that Euclid was Greek. Brittanica Encyclopedia is citing Heath and hence we are in a circular argument situation. References are cited that Euclid was Egyptian. As per Wikippedia Verifiability article, books published by known publishing houses are considered verifiable sources. Please Finell do not assume from your self that the sources are not WP:RS and explain your reservations here first. I think that the ultimate solution for this dispute is either to devote a section on Euclid's nationality or to assume that he was a mathematician in the Hellenistic period and that is it. According to Wikipedia policies, all recognized minor opinions must be stated and there are supports that Euclid might have been Egyptian as well as Greek. None of these two claims is true or false since we do not have enough resources to verify either. Hence whenever reputable scholar or encyclopedia is claiming either of them, we should acknowledge that these are just speculations. A final word: Greek/Egyptian is not ambiguous. In other Wikipedia articles you might find designations as: Grecko-Egyptian (As in Hypatia's article), Egyptian American (As in Ahmed Zewail's article), German born with American and Swiss citizenships (As in Einstein article)...etc. Dual or multi nationalities are used all over the place. Best (Ahmedettaf (talk) 23:44, 17 April 2008 (UTC))

Why is it that every post regarding something that Europeans value is challenged by Islamocentric ideologies that reorient all learning and civilization in middle-eastern races and cultures. This argument is racist, Ahmedettaf, is merely attacking western culture out of his own cultural and racial bias'. Europe has always recognized contributions from the middle east and from Islamic civilizations, yet the onslaught continues, Muslims try to get credit for every achievement that other people have done, especially Western achievements. It doesn't matter what "race" Euclid was, he was a geometer at Alexandria, all evidence points to him being Greek, only middle-easterners and Islamocentric people want him to be ethnically Egyptian, all other scholarship (not just European) points to him being Greek. Only for middle-easterners is this a contention, because of some ethnocentric idea that they get "credit" for what people did in the past. Euclid was Euclid, no one but him gets credit for his achievements. Other people of middle-eastern ethnicity within the Greek world were openly noted as such, especially Greek philosophers, like Porphyry and Ammonius Saccas as being from the orient, to think that they would not mention it for someone as influential and prominent as Euclid is ridiculous. TheBookishOne (talk) 23:16, 15 June 2014 (UTC)

Please![edit]

I know you all mean well, but by adding statements about Euclid's nationality that are not based on sufficiently reliable sources, you are damaging Wikipedia's own reliability. Please read WP:RS. We use the most reliable sources that are available on a topic. Therefore, when we have the leading historians of mathematics or a general reference like Britannica to rely upon, a schoolmistress writing for children or a dabbler writing outside his field is not a sufficiently reliable source. Further, while we must cite reliable sources, reliable sources themselves need not; they are the ones to whom we look. Also, if you are going to add sources to the article, please provide full citations in proper form. See WP:CITE for guidance. Thank you. Finell (Talk) 15:42, 18 April 2008 (UTC)

Parallels[edit]

Some parallels for consideration.

  • There've been arguments about Buddha & Buddhism, because (what has been believed since at least the 3rd century BC to be) the Buddha's birthplace has been since 1860 in Nepal.
  • According to the Bible, Jesus was born in Bethlehem, which is now in the West Bank. Was he a Palestinian?
  • Was Muhammad a Saudi?
  • Kant lived all his life in a city now in Russia, but is always called German.
  • Bartok was born in Transylvania, then in Hungary, now in Roumania.
  • Were Thales & Herodotus Turkish?
  • Was Archimedes Italian?
  • Until 1867, Austria was just 1 of the many statelets making up Germany. Why then is Bach usually described as German, but Haydn, Mozart & Scubert as Austrian?
  • Franck is often called a Belgian composer, tho' he was born before Belgium was invented & spent most of his life in France.

Peter jackson (talk) 15:31, 10 May 2008 (UTC)

These parallels are clearly in a non-Euclidean geometry. It's a hyperbolic geometry, I think, with an infinite number of parallels all missing the point. SamuelTheGhost (talk) 08:34, 11 May 2008 (UTC)

They're not meant to reach any particular point. Rather they're questions to think about in considering what we mean by nationality & whether we have any consistent idea of it. Here are some more.

  • Before 1948, everyone in the British Empire had the same legal nationality. More precisely, anyone born in the dominions of the monarch was the same, apart from children of diplomatic & enemy military personnel. This meant that Sir William Herschel, being born in Hanover in the period of the Hanoverian dynasty of the British monarchy, didn't need to be naturalized to receive a knighthood. It also means there was no difference legally between British, Irish, Australian & Indian.
  • Stravinsky was successively a Russian, French & American citizen, spent years living in Switzerland & asked to be buried in Italy.

Peter jackson (talk) 16:39, 15 May 2008 (UTC)

Those of your parallels which refer to anachronisms are those which miss the point, since that issue does not arise here. To try and get a handle on this seriously, we have three questions.

  1. What do we know about Euclid? Virtually nothing.
  2. What do we know about the political/national/ethnic environment at the time in which he lived? Enough for our purposes.
  3. How do we best describe the one in terms of the other? That's the question.

Looking at those points in greater detail.

  1. There is no contemporaneous or even near contemporaneous information on Euclid. It is clear from his writings that he read and wrote Greek. The first documents which mention his life, from Proclus and Pappus of Alexandria, are six or seven hundred years later than Euclid's presumed own time. They give his approximate date and the fact that he was active in Alexandria. Much later still there is the account of the Arab, al-Qifti. He describes Euclid as a Greek, domiciled in Damascus, born at Tyre. It is interesting that T. L. Heath discounts al-Qifti's evidence on overtly racist grounds - "the Arabian tendency to romance" etc. etc., even though there is nothing in it that he might have found objectinable.
  2. There are few problems in describing the environment. Alexandria is in Egypt and always was. (Both names are Greek.) it was the capital of the Ptolemaic Kingdom. People with Greek ancestry are reasonably described as "Greek", wherever they live, but in those days it was common to describe oneself in terms of a city, so "Alexandrian" or whatever. "Citizen of the Ptolemaic Kingdom" seems to me a perfectly acceptable alternative description of an Alexandrian. (In New Testament times, "Greek" seems to be used to mean "not a Jew", but that was three hundred years later, and may have been a specifically Jewish usage.)
  3. My preference for the wikipedai article is to say as little as possible. If we stick to what is certain, nothing is lost. People who want to fill out the picture from their own imagination or prejudices can do so. If we feel the need for adjectives, the word "Hellenistic" summons up the right overtones, in implying Greek language and an inheritance of Greek culture, but no necessarily exclusively so. The alternative is to say more, being careful to make clear the uncertainties involved.

The point which really interests me is the extent to which Euclid drew on ancient Egyptian sources, as well as Greek ones. I think he must have done. The Egyptian written language was still understood (witness the Rosetta Stone, which is a little later in much the same place). The library at Alexandria was said to be crammed with ancient wisdom. It seems entirely natural that Euclid should have done his homework and put together his information from all sources available. Unfortunately, however, there is no evidence available about this, and no-one seems to have researched it, so it wouldn't be possible to say anything in the article. A pity.

To return to the main point, I think that, given a little common sense and willingness to compromise, it shouldn't be too hard to come up with a formulation which everyone agrees is fair and accurate. Unfortunately those conditions do not exist at the moment. When one editor is obsessively determined on his own extreme viewpoint, those other editors with a sense of proportion tend to wander off and do something more productive. I suggest you have a go, and you'll see what I mean. SamuelTheGhost (talk) 15:42, 18 May 2008 (UTC)

P.S. To run along just a few of your "parallels":

  • To call Jesus a Palestinian seems to me very apt
  • Kant was a Prussian
  • Thales & Herodotus were Asian
  • It's hardly accurate to refer to the Habsburg Monarchy/Austrian Empire as a "statelet"
  • I'm surprised you didn't ask about Handel

SamuelTheGhost (talk) 08:55, 20 May 2008 (UTC)

Historicization[edit]

I figured I'd write something here as well for the sake of continuity. I very much appreciate Finell's adherence to quality and reliability, as well as others comments on Euclid's nationality/ethnicity/race/origin. I made a major addition that is discussed below under "Historicization". Please continue the discussion there.

NittyG (talk) 15:34, 10 January 2009 (UTC)

Recent additions to References[edit]

Several entries have been added recently to the References section, but without adequate bibliographic citations. Please see WP:CITE for guidance on how to cite sources, and provide full citations in proper form. Numbered Web links are not proper form in a list of references. References should be listed in alphabetical order by author, and author is the first element of any citation (last name first). Consider using citation templates to be sure that all information is provided and in proper form. For books, Wikipedia favors inclusion of ISBN numbers. Thank you. Finell (Talk) 08:23, 11 April 2008 (UTC)

User:finnel , you have removed cn tags without giving any reason. I request you to restore those tags.Tags are required unless references are cited for each of those "claims" . Further there are several research papers written by scholars who dispute existence of "Euclid" himself.-Bharatveer (talk) 06:10, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
I explained my removal of the {cn} tags in the edit summary. Further, the most reliable sources do not dispute Euclid's existence or the content of this article. Some unsourced fringe position does not make generally accepted facts a POV and does not warrant a neutrality dispute tag; there is no genuine dispute among legitimate scholars. Finell (Talk) 10:51, 25 July 2008 (UTC)

Historical Evidence suggest Elements is Uclides Work[edit]

The hypothesis of the key to geometry is very lickly, as this would be the reason for the painting of the school of athens.

C.K. Raju, who has done considerable historiographical research on mathematics, suggests that the attibution of Elements to Euclid rose from a translation error from the Arabic uclides, literally ucli (key) + des (direction, space), or "the key to geometry"[1]. Raju goes further in showing that Elements and Proclus' Commentary was edited by the Vatican to make it "theologically correct". Ideas such as "irrefragible demonstration" were added to Commentary, though it did not align with Proclus' philosophy of mathematics, which held that proofs "vary with the kind of being". Interestingly, according to Raju, Proclus, in the same tradition of Theon and Hypatia, believed that mathematics was a window on the soul, being a meditative process, whereas the Church wanted to create a "universal means of persuasion", and mathematics was thus divorced from the empirical, which continues to this day.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euclid%27s_Elements#History

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_School_of_Athens http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:The_School_of_Athens#Reason_for_the_Existence_of_the_Image

The Mathematical Collection of Pappus of Alexandria (c. 290 – c. 350), contains, results obtained by his predecessors, and notes previous discoveries.

Books VI and VII consider Euclid's work. In Book VII Pappus writes about the Treasury of Analysis

The so-called "Treasury of Analysis", my dear Hermodorus, is, in short, a special body of doctrine furnished for the use of those who, after going through the usual elements, wish to obtain power to solve problems set to then involving curves, and for this purpose only is it useful. It is the work of three men, Euclid the writer of the "Elements", Apollonius of Perga and Aristaeus the elder, and proceeds by the method of analysis and synthesis.

Pappus then goes on to explain the different approaches of analysis and synthesis

in analysis we suppose that which is sought to be already done, and inquire what it is from which this comes about, and again what is the antecedent cause of the latter, and so on until, by retracing our steps, we light upon something already known or ranking as a first principle... But in synthesis, proceeding in the opposite way, we suppose to be already done that which was last reached in analysis, and arranging in their natural order as consequents what were formerly antecedents and linking them one with another, we finally arrive at the construction of what was sought...

Pappus mention Euclids work:

"Data_(Euclid)" - Data (Greek: Δεδομένα, Dedomena) is a work by Euclid. It deals with the nature and implications of "given" information in geometrical problems; the subject matter is closely related to the first four books of the Elements.

"Optics" - Pappus refers to it to show that the circle of contact has a smaller diameter than the sphere, only to add a lengthy argument to demonstrate that the error committed in Ptolemy's construction is nevertheless negligible.

"Elements" - Part of Pappus's commentary may exist in an Arabic translation, namely that on Book X of the Elements. http://www-history.mcs.st-andrews.ac.uk/Biographies/Pappus.html http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pappus_of_Alexandria --Tales23 (talk) 11:59, 14 January 2009 (UTC)

Tales - You're summary of Pappus' writings are good and complete, but this is not about Pappus and his work, this is about Euclid. It is important that we stick to the subject completely and avoid anything but the topic. You can discuss Pappus' work elsewhere. In the interests of this not being overloaded with off topic material, I suggest that you remove anything that is not about the topic. I know you did mention Euclid's name a few times, but all of the other material is completely unnecessary. Specifically, I would suggest that you rewrite your comment to include the pertinent information, and then I will also delete this comment afterwards. I appreciate your response, and I hope that we can work on this article together (eg going through the transcribed writings of Pappus' mentioning of Euclid). Thanks.

NittyG (talk) 14:30, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

Hello Nitty, i think i summed it up. And i have this on my watch list and might edit more later, thanks (Tales23 (talk) 08:46, 14 January 2009 (UTC))


For the record, if I had not made this clear yet, the ideas that this originated out of have nothing to do with this, and fought it from the beginning. Please read in more detail the discussions around this addition, here and elsewhere. Actually, Tales deleted everything on his discussion page, which he/she has done repeatedly. Look through the history. one example: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=User_talk:Tales23&oldid=264092628 NittyG (talk) 17:10, 24 April 2009 (UTC)

Uclides - The Key to Geometry[edit]

Proclus Lycaeus "Wherever there is number, there is beauty."
Hypatia Raphael Sanzio detail.jpg

C.K. Raju, who has done considerable historiographical research on mathematics, suggests that the attibution of Elements to Euclid rose from a translation error from the Arabic uclides, literally ucli (key) + des (direction, space), or "the key to geometry"[2]. Raju goes further in showing that Elements and Proclus' Commentary was edited by the Vatican to make it "theologically correct". Ideas such as "irrefragible demonstration" were added to Commentary, though it did not align with Proclus' philosophy of mathematics, which held that proofs "vary with the kind of being". Interestingly, according to Raju, Proclus, in the same tradition of Theon of Alexandria and Hypatia of Alexandria , believed that mathematics was a window on the soul, being a meditative process, whereas the Church wanted to create a "universal means of persuasion", and mathematics was thus divorced from the empirical, which continues to this day.

It is this “theologification” that has made mathematics difficult to learn or teach. The remedy is to “de-theologify” or secularize mathematics and teach it in the cultural and practical context in which it developed.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Euclid%27s_Elements#Uclides_-_The_Key_to_Geometry

Dear NittyG do you want me to change anything in particular? Thanks. --Tales23 (talk) 20:20, 15 January 2009 (UTC)

As a comment, for editors who have an interest in this area, the above material has been placed in a new article called Uclides. Tim Vickers (talk) 22:41, 15 January 2009 (UTC)
Hello so someone suggest i delete the ucledis wiki stateing this is a fork, well currently there is no mentioning of the hypothesis uclides originateing from an translation error. Also NittyG you want me to rework the text, i ask you once more please tell me what in particuar you want me to change as this is not your work and Raju is pricely .. so please lets add somewhere the info and also i suggest to change the wiki name to Elements. And than everybody can belive either in euclides vatican version or the persian connection. Thanks. --Tales23 (talk) 15:59, 17 January 2009 (UTC)
This is all interesting speculation, but is still just WP:FRINGE, and therefore not sufficiently encyclopedic for Wikipedia. Finell (Talk) 05:23, 23 January 2009 (UTC)


For the record, if I had not made this clear yet, the ideas that this originated out of have nothing to do with this, and fought it from the beginning. Please read in more detail the discussions around this addition, here and elsewhere. Actually, Tales deleted everything on his discussion page, which he/she has done repeatedly. Look through the history. one example: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=User_talk:Tales23&oldid=264092628 NittyG (talk) 17:11, 24 April 2009 (UTC)

Discussion to add further historical information to the wiki article. Reliable source http://perseus.mpiwg-berlin.mpg.de/cgi-bin/ptext?doc=Perseus%3Aabo%3Atlg%2C1799%2C001&query=elem.%3A1%3Adef. --DuKu (talk) 16:03, 30 January 2010 (UTC)

Finell seems to have no intrest in science - he makes a lot of claims and trys to play down the scientific evidence. In the following i include the data from above link to create a sub section for the wiki of euclid - to complete the historical information which comes from oriental origin.
Removed copied text potentially exceeding fair use. (Novangelis (talk))
The oxfford journal, reviewed the book here - http://philmat.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/extract/17/3/378

Google Books http://books.google.com/books?id=RzwNuNRePZUC&pg=PA4&lpg=PA4&dq=Zenarchus&source=bl&ots=8Sc9UysxNs&sig=hq1abwgK2aOv9ykjWvygNObrp9U&hl=en&ei=ds9jS5L9GND-_Aali7XrAw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=9&ved=0CCoQ6AEwCA#v=onepage&q=Zenarchus&f=false http://books.google.com/books?id=RzwNuNRePZUC&pg=PA4&lpg=PA4&dq=Thusinus&source=bl&ots=8Sc9UyszJu&sig=MgSrEA-vBR9oGHGD1d_qEFBoamA&hl=en&ei=GNBjS6TaH8v8_AbHjrn4Aw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CAcQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=Thusinus&f=false The provided info now debunks above claims of just a fringe theory or unrelaible sources. --DuKu (talk) 20:43, 30 January 2010 (UTC)

Major problems:
  1. Don't cut and paste long sections of copyrighted materials. This is from a source where 1956 edition as far as I can tell, so long sections will exceed fair use if permissions are not appropriate. I have removed it. Please do not restore it if you are unsure of the copyright status.
  2. Even if permissions are appropriate, the wall of text doesn't make a concise point. (Wikipedia:Talk page guidelines)
  3. The section you bolded said that "key to geometry" is a mistranslation.
  4. Do not make personal attacks. Comment on the edits, not the editors.Novangelis (talk) 22:13, 30 January 2010 (UTC)
If you read my earlyer post you can see that the intention is to substract data from the source. I did nothing in regards to your statement of "persoanl attacks", stop makeing things up (As you did with your statements of undo reaso). I will work something out and will post it later for submission discussion, for you all to enjoy. --DuKu (talk) 23:10, 30 January 2010 (UTC)
And further for the statement that Uclides is "Just" a translation error is irrelevant, because it is historical scientific data. The situation is that we have little information on euclid, though every bit is worth to mention to find the root - even if it means that uclides would be a translation error. --DuKu (talk) 23:33, 30 January 2010 (UTC)

Person Data[edit]

States birth-death date aswell as he was greek, cite references please. --Tales23 (talk) 08:11, 18 January 2009 (UTC)

The article does not state a birth or death date. Reliable sources differ even as to the circa dates. What is said in the article, including Euclid's nationality, is supported by the References. You can help improve the article by adding footnotes with specific sources throughout the text, but Wikipedia policy only requires in a few instances, such as direct quotations. Finell (Talk) 05:19, 23 January 2009 (UTC)

Propose removal of picture "Artist's impression of Euclid" - think it misleading[edit]

After reading this article today, and this Talk page, I was about to go away when I noticed the picture "Artist's impression of Euclid" at the front of the article. This seems at odds with what I have read here - namely that very little is known about Euclid. The source of the picture is a broken web link so I cannot check it. If the picture was not drawn by an artist from Euclid's time who had seen him then unless the artist had some physical description of Euclid available to him, I think the label of the picture is misleading. I propose to remove the picture from the article. Does anyone object? --AlotToLearn (talk) 04:37, 17 February 2009 (UTC)

Not seeing any objections, I've removed the image--AlotToLearn (talk) 06:58, 21 February 2009 (UTC)
Sorry to reply so late. Thank you for doing that. I was planning on doing it myself as a part of the revision I've been attempting to do. NittyG (talk) 18:00, 22 April 2009 (UTC)

Euclid and his origins[edit]

I have read with interest the comments on Euclid. I find it strange that the authors of Wikipedia are refusing to deliberately recognise the fact that Euclid is African, worked in an African environment because that environment [Alexandria] was, if you like, a centre for academic excellence in those times. The fact is that Alexandria was a main city of Egypt which is in Africa!

Let us tell the truth and be objective. The sooner media like Wikipedia begin to educate the public as to the truth about Africa, the fact that Africa produced the first advanced and developed societies and communities and universities and libraries including Timbucktu amongst others the sooner that true development for mankind will continue.

It is unfortunate that the gains and the contribution of the African has been deliberated obliterated and submerged for centuries. I am not interested in the raison d'etre but the fact that NOW is the time to put an end to the chicanery and the lies. We need each other to reach the top of our station and achieve true potential. If we want to live in deceit, that is a matter of choice. I choose not to.

Wikipedia can increase its standing and reputation and in fact seal its status as a reliable research tool by acknowledging truth. I was amazed that the authors found it very difficult to accept that Euclid was of Alexandria and insist on him being referred to as 'Greek' when the evidence available does not refer to him as being Greek apart from his name! Amazing.

What I find even more disturbing is that there is a purported drawing of Euclid painting him as a European sage. Pray tell, who is the author of this purported picture? Is it correct to say that Egyptians of that period 300BC et al actually looked like that? Does it make sense that a Greek would relocate to Egypt and live all of his life there? I think it is time to stop giving the impression that everything good came from Europeans only. The truth is actually that every major progressive advancement in science mathematics and technology came from Africans. That is the truth.

The fact that Africa has fallen so far from its original station and the systems in place in the world make it difficult for Africa to rise and fulfill its true potential today does not change this fact. Without the African the modern West cannot exist. Europe and America owe their development growth and progress to Africa. It is fact.

I would commend the Wikipedia authors who I must say are doing an incredible job to properly research into Africa starting from Egypt and Mediterranean regions heading on to Ethiopia and beyond.

Without Africa, the Rest of the World would not be. It is time to give credit where it is due. If Wikipedia would not do it, others would rise up and will do so. It is only a matter of time.

Sincerely

Sage Esq. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Sage Esq (talkcontribs) 12:08, 17 February 2009 (UTC)

The problem is not with Wikipeida or Wikipeida's editors. All reliable sources agree that Euclid was of Greek nationality and descent, not African or Egyptian. This has been discussed here over and over to death. I suggest you do some reading on the history of Hellenistic Alexandrea or on Euclid himself. Finell (Talk) 03:16, 20 February 2009 (UTC)

many greek mathmatitons lived in alexandria due to the fact that many sages and mathmatition lived there. they could discuss varies achademic topics together also, i am sure wikipedia has a very accurate page on timbuktu, which i will check, but in case you didn't notice, timbuktu was inspired by muslims in the middle east. you all sound like rather dimm black suppremist. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 75.177.141.238 (talk) 23:04, 14 March 2009 (UTC)

same person as last comment. here is a quote. "Very little is known about the life of Euclid. Both the dates and places of his birth and death are unknown. It is believed that he was educated at Plato's academy in Athens and stayed there until he was invited by Ptolemy I to teach at his newly founded university in Alexandria. There, Euclid founded the school of mathematics and remained there for the rest of his life. As a teacher, he was probably one of the mentors to Archimedes." also, the egyptains were more middle eastern than african. alexandria was also founded by greek settlers. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 75.177.141.238 (talk) 00:22, 15 March 2009 (UTC)

Strange[edit]

It seems to me that someone making a contribution to an article about Euclid (as a historical personality, that is) should know about the Hellenic Era, Alexander's conquests, and all those rather important details- do you not agree? How must we respond to such historical philistinism? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 95.13.52.180 (talk) 19:24, 18 March 2011 (UTC)

Historicization of Euclid[edit]

I see now that there has been some considerable discussion about Euclid's nationality, and some authors of this article over the years want this to be discussed before putting it in the article. I did use reliable sources, and I would also challenge others to provide reliable primary sources (quoted from the texts) that Euclid came from Alexandria. I think that it is far more in the interests of Wikipedia that other opinions on the matter be welcomed, and so it be worded in the article something to the affect of, as I have written, "it is unclear where Euclid was born or lived". The beauty of Wikipedia is that people have to rely on solid sources rather than the history that is produced for social and political purposes. When looking at the evidence for Euclid and commentaries on the works attributed to him, there is little weight behind Elements being written by him, or any biographical information about "Euclid". Evidence should be provided for Euclid being a native of Mainland Greece, and having lived in Alexandria, just as much as any evidence should be provided that is contrary to the claim. As Orwell said, "Who controls the present controls the past. Who controls the past controls the future." Wikipedia is an opportunity for people to write a history that is not for the purposes of racial domination. I am not trying to fight with anyone on this subject, rather invite others to make a well-rounded, unbiased, quality article. While I cannot prevent people from removing what I wrote, I hope that instead, for the sake of equity, what I wrote be not taken down, rather the additions be left, and the subject be discussed separately. I'm sorry if I have caused any contention with people who have written and care about this article, I don't mean to undo what you did in any way, rather add to the article constructively. I'm also sorry if I violated any established norms around the editing of this article, but I do think this is a necessary addition. I also spent a considerable amount of time making this addition, so I also care about the article and am willing to put in all the time necessary to help make it complete.


As for the quote from Proclus Commentary, I do think it's necessary it all be left, because it holds all the key references made to Euclid, with the exception of what is from Pappus of Alexandria.


Most of my information comes from the work of C.K. Raju, which i don't know how to footnote more than once without having it be repeated. I'll figure that out shortly.

NittyG (talk) 12:20, 10 January 2009 (UTC)

Your edit seems to have introduced strange characters into the text. You may wish to check. Ian Cairns (talk) 12:44, 10 January 2009 (UTC)
What are you talking about specifically? I only quoted Proclus' Commentary directly as it was written by Morrow. NittyG (talk) 14:34, 10 January 2009 (UTC)
I gave up and tidied out your characters - see [14]. Whatever it was, you need to check your editing environment... Ian Cairns (talk) 14:40, 10 January 2009 (UTC)
Oh! I was also wondering what that was about. I thought it wasn't me, but I guess something weird happened along the way while I was editing. I just assumed they were there before and they meant something I was unaware of related to lack of inline citations or something. Thanks a lot. NittyG (talk) 15:12, 10 January 2009 (UTC)

I just looked over the discussions below "nationality". I appreciate the concern people have about quality and reliability (especially Finnel), as well as all the comments people made about the origin, residence, and identity of Euclid. Indeed, Heath does not have any primary evidence for Euclid being from Alexandria, and so the same should be asked of him. If one were to look at where sources originate, as was explained in my addition, there is no biographical information that is more than a conjecture. I have done my own digging, but before removing anything, at this point one will have to refute what is in the additions on historicization. As far as I have read, it looks as though Heath has no primary grounding, which C.K. Raju shows Heath also admits. Heath wrote at a time when many Western historians, especially those under Western states and institutions, tried to ascribe all scientific and technological accomplishments to whites and the West. There quotes where he dismissed non-white sources in a clearly racist tone. We need to understand the history of history as much as history, and ask why we validate sources in the first place. Though I obviously feel a certain way about the subject, I have, as you can see, written the entry very objectively, separating fact from conjecture and leaving things open for further inquiry, which I certainly haven't done yet either. I only did what I know is right given what I've read thus far. NittyG (talk) 15:25, 10 January 2009 (UTC)

Racism yes it is, but its importend to make a diffrence, because the understanding of the historical world is today relative simple and science has advanced. Todays racism is not comparable. There is some insight on this in Cicero s wiki.And Sparta had a big influence on this, they brought also up the word of Bar Bar s.(from blabla as they could not understand foreign people - so they became bar bars) Please tell me why do you belive that euclid been in Alexandria AND born there? See Hypatia which edited/simplified euclids and his theons of alexandrias work. Its importend to be concious of peoples intention and motives. And if not even rasicm everyone has thoughts, so everzone working on history alters it somehow. So you need to read more inbetween and be aware that the source is modified. But still there are honest parts too :) (Tales23 (talk) 04:11, 13 January 2009 (UTC))
I don't entirely understand what you are saying, could you please clarify a little bit more?
Some questions:
  • What exactly do you mean history is "not comparable"?
  • I do not necessarily believe that Euclid is from Alexandria, and that is what I put into the article. Was that unclear?
  • What exactly are you saying about Hypatia and Theon?
I do agree that history is only written by the writers and they necessarily affect it. In any case, the ethic is accuracy, and if Euclid did not exist, or was historicized as a mainland Greek, that should be mentioned.
I don't think that all inaccuracies are racist, rather, things are often written for racist motives, and that must be undone. Entire histories have been written for this purpose, and are still taught in textbooks today. It is everyone's responsibility, including authors of wikipedia to be accurate, and discount anything that is not substantiated.
I certainly appreciate your response, but if you can, could you please be more clear in the future with your posts? Thanks

NittyG (talk) 14:14, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

I see i wrote this topic in the hurry and its a major issue ever since ... actualy i have just little thoughts on the topic as i was focusing on euclid and im just about learning the acnient history. So the topic of racism was a major topic and sparta and all this, well actualy i have to read more before i can make a statement. If you agree we can delete my comment, thanks ... (Tales23 (talk) 08:05, 14 January 2009 (UTC))

Please Discuss[edit]

Finnel - I know I did not discuss this previously, as you had established before. So, it is fair that people have taken issue with what I have put up. However, what I wrote was almost entirely referenced with valid sources, and I did not outright say that Euclid does not exist, rather I referenced scholarly writings and primary sources for why others question his existence. Accordingly, I will not revert your undo, but we will have to discuss it, and work together constructively. I did say before that I would appreciate it if it was discussed before the addition is taken down, but as I did not do likewise, I will discuss this to be fair. If there is no constructive discussion, I will have to revert back to my addition. I understand your desire to hold true to the accuracy, reliability, and rules of wikipedia. I have the same interest in mind, so I hope that we can work together to make this article complete. To begin, responding to your reason for reversion:

  • Mostly unsourced - everything was sourced. Please indicate otherwise.
  • Contrary to consensus - it was shown that there is no consensus as to any biographical information about Euclid, or even his existence
  • Contrary to the most reliable sources on the subject - I showed how people have claimed that the sources that were considered reliable are not entirely reliable
- some writers show how, for one, the sources those writers used were not reliable, as they were transcribed and possibly interpolated
- they also show how those sources may have been biased, in fact theocratic and racist.
-- some people claim that the foundation of the history of Euclid, and much of history today, was written during a time when inequity between Christians and non-Christians and later Whites and non-Whites was the dominant mindset. Then it was the predominant mindset, and within many institutions, consensus, that, for example, Blacks were in every way inferior to Whites. The fact that Thomas Heath, the most cited historian on Euclid, discounts Arab accounts as being the "Arab tendency to romance" (which you can read in my reference), suggests something about him being a reliable source. It was fine in Heath's time (1861-1940) to say such outrageous comments, because such feelings were held in common. Regardless of whether the history of Euclid was written with these mindsets, it is at least pertinent that varying and valid scholarly opinions be added to the article. As I said before, if it is asked what the sources are for Euclid's history being partially or entirely false, it should be asked, what are the sources for everything about Euclid's history being true? If we can do both, then we can make a good, well rounded article.
  • Weasel words (In the article Euclid's Elements - it is better that we discuss in one place) - if there is not a consensus on Euclid having written Elements, it is most commonly believed. In any case, you can use other words to describe the wording, but these are not "weasel words".

NittyG (talk) 14:14, 13 January 2009 (UTC)

While I wait for Finnel (and whoever else) to gather their case to discuss, I wanted to mention that I did make some mistakes in the addition. Just a couple:

- There were some grammatical errors

- I wrote the Uclides comment as being C.K. Raju's idea - it had actually been brought forth as a joke by Heath, but Raju conveys that it should be taken seriously.

There are some other issues, but I just wanted to say that everything in the addition was not perfect, and it needs to be revised. If people could comment on the add as it is, we can start from there.

NittyG (talk) 05:00, 15 January 2009 (UTC)

I just invited people from the Nationality discussion to join, including SamuelTheGhost, Ahmedettaf, DBaba, and 3rdAlcove. Feel free to invite anyone I missed. A note to the above invited - you have already said your opinions above. Make sure you're not redundant. You may want to first wait for Finnel's response. NittyG (talk) 07:19, 15 January 2009 (UTC)

I haven't had time for Wikipedia lately (too much work), so I apologize for not responding sooner. By consensus, I meant consensus of Wikipedians; this article has been stable for a long time, which is how it should be considering the importance and age of the subject. Wikipedia is an encyclopedia. Therefore, its articles should reflect reliable sources on the article's subject. SamuelTheGhost and Ahmedettaf have already been through this before regarding nationality. See the discussion of #Nationality above. The questioning of Euclid's existence is not mainstream scholarship on Euclid. Furthermore, your conclusions, or my conclusions, on weighing and balancing other sources, especially sources that are not biographies of Euclid (in this case), is prohibited as WP:OR. You can find revisionist critiques about most everything, but that does not make them encyclopedic. I really don't have the time to discuss historiography. Finell (Talk) 05:08, 23 January 2009 (UTC)
I understand - this takes a lot of time. I am also not able to do work on this for a while. I will get back to the topic soon. It's possible that we will have to have a drawn out discussion. NittyG (talk) 13:24, 30 January 2009 (UTC)

To begin afresh[edit]

I have moved this down to the bottom in order to make it easy to continue.

I would like to change the article to include the revisions I had made. The fact is that there is neither a scholarly nor a wikipedia consensus on this issue. Finnell is the only one who has been defending a view that several people have objected to, often on reasonable grounds. I will discuss this with anyone ahead of changing the article in order to gain a consensus that should be concluded in the article. The fact is, as there is no consensus, that is precisely what should be included in the article - varying, reliable opinions on the subject. This is exactly what I have done in my revision, with great attention to detail (though there are a few mistakes I noticed later, as I noted above). I have made my points, point by point, to the reversion Finnel had made above. There were hardly any replies made on Finnel's part, more than simply stating that it was the consensus of wikipedians. If Finnel or anyone wishes to elaborate more on any problems with the revision I have made, please go over what is below this heading (Historicization of Euclid), and respond to the points I made. There is nothing I have not put that is not backed by strong evidence, using sound historical research from reliable scholars. We should discuss this until we come to an agreement, which I think we can. Just a reminder - this is about the quality and reliablility of this article, not about personal opinions. We need to be objective, and stay on topic. I understand that this takes time - I certainly spent considerable time on my revision. However long it takes, we need to do it at what pace is mutually acceptable to the participants of the discussion. On that end, I'll wait a few days to receive a reply, or I'm going to proceed in making the revision. After that, instead of reverting, the issue should be discussed here. I have been and am being completely fair and reasonable on this, and given that my revisions are sound, have equal status as anyone else on this article. If reversions are made after I have made the revision, I will simply re-revert. From there, the article may go on to higher mediation. I would of course prefer to just discuss it here, constructively and objectively. Thanks

The article with my addition before reversion

The article before my addition

The comparison


Additional note: The primary source used in the article is very difficult to read. It took me a considerable amount of time to read it, though it is short. Here is another article on the subject, which is better written, but more relating to the revisions I made to the article on Euclid's Elements. Computers, mathematics education, and the alternative epistemology of the calculus in the Yuktibhâsâ


NittyG (talk) 19:12, 22 April 2009 (UTC)

Dear NittyG: This is an important article on one of the most important figures in the history of mathematics. It represents the consensus of many Wikipedians who put the article together (I am not one of the article's primary authors; I have made a few additions in the article and have done some copy editing). That is the consensus to which I have referred. The material that you wish to add is contrary to that consensus and, more importantly, contrary to what the most reliable sources on the history of mathematics have written. Mainstream scholarship does not doubt Euclid's existence, his authorship of Elements, that he was Greek, or that he worked at the Library in Alexandria. In its present form, the article is essentially consistent with leading general encyclopedias and histories of mathematics, which is as it should be.
Your main source, C.K. Raju, is not known as an authority on Euclid or on the history of ancient mathematics. There was no article on him in Wikipedia until you created one, and then wikilinked that article when you inserted ‎Raju's idiosyncratic views into Euclid. Further, Raju's writings promote his own fringe theories. For example, he claims to have discovered an error in Einstein's relativity equations, although no reputable source has corroborated his claim. Raju is also on a campaign magnify India's contributions to the development of mathematics, beyond considerable credit accorded to Indian mathematicians by mainstream sources, and correspondingly to diminish the contributions of Western Europe. Raju's fringe views about Euclid are part of that campaign. Promoting those viewpoints on Wikipedia would violate our core policy of writing from a neutral point of view.
According to your user page, one of the things you like to do on Wikipedia is to "connect the dots". While that is a good practice in original writing and in other endeavors, it is not what Wikipedia does. To the contrary, what you call "connect[ing] the dots" is forbidden by Wikipedia's core policy against original research. While your contributions to Wikipedia are welcome, it is important that you conform your contributions and your conduct to Wikipedia's policies. I see that in the past you created your own article on Uclides (was it an alternative to our Euclid article?), which was deleted by the Wikipedia community. Also, you impermissibly distorted the discussion on this Talk page by deleting posts that you disagreed with. Please familiarize yourself with Wikipedia's policies and comply with them.
I hope I have provided you with a satisfactory explanation. If you restore the changes that you previously made to this article, they will be reverted in accordance with Wikipedia's policies, by me or by others. If you have other contributions to make to the article, and they are verifiable and supported by reliable sources, they will be welcome additions, but, like everything else on Wikipedia, subject to revision by other editors. Finell (Talk) 18:45, 23 April 2009 (UTC)
To begin, let's stay on topic and refrain from attacking each other. Let's focus on the article.
I will however comment on the deletion and establishment of Uclides. Actually, Tales23 wrote all the stuff about Uclides. He/she pushed it hard, and I fought against it. People deleted the things that were put up partly on my suggestion. He took what I had wrote about Uclides, misinterpreted it, and flew off the handle with it. Tales got banned for a period from Wikipedia. The article Tales wrote was deleted, so I thought it was therefore right to delete all that Tales had written here and everywhere about Uclides. That was wrong, which was pointed out to me, and I understood completely. I would like to more formally request to have it removed. NittyG (talk) 23:50, 23 April 2009 (UTC)
Actually, Tales deleted everything on his discussion page, which he/she has done repeatedly.
Look through the history.
one example:
[15]

NittyG (talk) 17:13, 24 April 2009 (UTC)

Building Consensus[edit]

One is correct in saying that this is a minority viewpoint according to mainstream scholarly opinion. I am willing to make a compromise on what to include. I know this is exasperating for many, and you have spent incredible amounts of time on it. But as you said, this is an important topic, and the responsibility takes that kind of work sometimes. I have a glimpse of this firsthand - dealing with the info Tales has put was a lot of time spent for me. Lets work on this together constructively.

Until we build trust, I will only add anything to this article that may be questionable to its primary authors and defenders after discussing it here.

I'm sorry to have caused so much contention - i hope that we can work on this article as partners now.

To build consensus, let's forget about the "existence questioned" and other major parts referenced from CK Raju for now, and all the minor wording changes. We should item by item decide what should be included in the article, starting with:

  • The parts that I cited from elsewhere than C.K. Raju should be included
  • The depiction of Euclid be noted where it comes from or be removed. If we can simply put up a depiction from some artist 1500 years after Euclid, I should be able to draw a picture of him and put it up 2300 years later. We should at least note where it comes from and that it's a depiction.

What do you think?


As for the discussion of CK Raju's work, I have opened up a discussion in the Fringe theories article. We should look at this as an opportunity to expand the policies of Wikipedia, not as a battle.

NittyG (talk) 23:50, 23 April 2009 (UTC)

I have no problem if you want to remove or explain the image. The sources say that no image of Euclid survives, and all depictions of him in art are purely the artist's conception. In the past, I have added captions to that effect to images of Euclid in this and related articles.
You are not, as you claim, "begin[ing] afresh". Rather, you are merely restating the points you made in January and that I answered back then. You still have no reliable sourcces that support what you want to add or change in the article. Further, "building concensus" means gaining support for changing the article here, from editors who have worked on the article, not taking the issue to a policy page. In terms of policy, the last thing in the world that Wikipedia needs is to lower its standards of reliability and verifiability. Likewise, discussions about article content belong on the article's Talk page, not on user's Talk pages (as you proposed on my Talk page); so let's keep all the discussion here.
Comment on an editor's conduct or editing is not a personal attack. I have no doubt that you are well intentioned and that you believe what you say. The problem is that, in the case of Euclid and C.K. Raju, your editing does not conform to accepted policies that are designed to assure the reliablility of material published on Wikipedia.
Finally, putting Raju aside for now, as you suggest, I don't recall what changes that you proposed that were sourced to anyone else. If you want to see if you can build a new concensus to change the Euclid article, please list those proposed changes individually with your reliable sourcces for each statement, and we can discuss each separately. It what you propose is to add languge that casts dobut on statements that reliable sources uniformly support (that is without no support or only fringe for the qualifying statements), that is contrary to Wikipedia policies, and therefore will not be accepted. Finell (Talk) 15:20, 24 April 2009 (UTC)
I agree with everything you said. I'll come back with each point shortly.
Why I said "beginning afresh" was indeed to continue after a long silence. I thought it would be easier for everyone involved to talk at the bottom of a page rather than somewhere in the middle.
NittyG (talk) 16:10, 24 April 2009 (UTC)


  • I will change either add a caption to the image of Euclid, move, or remove it. I think it would add to the article to show how he was depicted or conceived of during the Renaissance
Actually, most of the cited sources I made were not from Raju. I can understand why it appeared that way, given that that part stood out the most, as I overemphasized it. Nonetheless, once again, lets forget about Raju for now.
  • We should put the following information in the article (of course not written exactly as so):
Proclus' Commentary on the Elements is the key source on Euclid that is considered primary, and it was written seven centuries after Euclid was believed to have lived. There are various other mentionings of Euclid, the most important being Pappus' commentaries about Apollonius having studied with Euclid, which was also written centuries after Euclid.
First see for an overview: [16]
Next, see Heath, pg 202: [17]
  • We should include that the comment made Proclus' is considered "questionable", as written in Ian Muller's forward to Glen R. Morrow's edition of Proclus' Commentary on the Elements on page xxx[18]
  • We should include the following information as well.
Work done by Johannes Hjelmslev showed that there was only one reference to Euclid made by Aristotle is not genuine, as it was written in a style that was not characteristic of the time. The fact that this is not considered genuine or unreliable is widely understood.
The basic idea: [19]
More on Hjelmslev: [20]
  • We should include the actual inferences made by people that Euclid was from Alexandria. As far as I know, Heath was the first to claim that Euclid was from Alexandria. I could be wrong - this is something we all need to find out together. It should also be included what references claimed that Euclid was (1) of Greek culture, and/or (2) of Greek "ethnic origin" or "race".
- On this note, we should include the fact that Arabs thought Euclid was from Tyre, and that Europeans for centuries thought he was from Megara, as they confused him with Euclid of Megara, and the reasons that Heath believed he was from Alexandria. Apparently, from what I can see, he bases it on the the statements of Pappus that Apollonius studied with Euclid's pupils in Alexandria. If this is what the notion that Euclid is from Alexandria is based on, that should be mentioned.
- As far as his "ethnic" or other identity, that it should be included that Arabs thought he was Arab, and Europeans thought he was Greek. We must go a bit deeper - we have to remember that identities are created, which get more complicated as the identities of now get applied to the identities of the past. The whole notion of the identities people took in 300 bce Greek civilization (if it was called that at the time) needs to be examined. This is something I have little to no understanding of, and needs to be discussed as well.
- Lastly for now, we should include on what grounds Heath dismissed notions that Euclid was from Tyre, the "Arab tendency to romance". This is important, because it gives a basis for bias. We can discuss this here, but this part of the discussion I am continuing in the discussion we opened up in the article on fringe theories.
NittyG (talk) 20:55, 29 April 2009 (UTC)
Forgot to mention (of course I'll keep thinking of things):
  • We should include how Elements, the Commentary, and other works were translated - by the Arabs, then by the Europeans, how, when and by whom
  • We should include that the primary texts of the elements do not mention Euclid, and that they are said to be "from the edition of Theon"
NittyG (talk) 21:26, 29 April 2009 (UTC)
First, as a matter of format for a discussion, this is way to hard too follow, and does not make it easy to discuss each of your many points. New material that pertains specifically to Elements belongs, if anywhere, in that article, not here; that article mentions Arabic and other translations. Also, it is not reasonable to ask everyone to follow all your web links: Deal with each proposition here in an organized way and cite reliable sources that support each proposed change. Furthermore, the Web is rarely the best way to find reliable information on old subjects; please consult the standard works on math history and biography before you start suggesting so many changes. Given that, as you say, the source material on Euclid is quite limited, there is most likely little that can be added to the article. The subject of Euclid's ethnicity has previoulsy been discussed at length on this Talk page, including the archive; there is nothing to add other than speculation. Some of what you propose, such as reexamining and criticising the reliable sources' bases for their conclusions, violates Wikipedia's policy against original research. Speculation, fringe sources, and revisionism have no place in this article, or on Wikipedia. Finell (Talk) 02:33, 30 April 2009 (UTC)
Actually, I made it very clear and easy to follow. Because there is a lot of information, if you simply skimmed it, it may seem that it's not. The first 4 points I made would be good improvements to the article, by the standards the authors have set, including yourself. I suppose I just wanted to get the whole process out, but the first 4 are what we should focus on now, in the interest of moving things forward.
You need to actually take a look at the links. If I were making valid additions, they have to be cited, and I provided them with links to them to make it easy. Everything I have given is from reliable sources, by the standards of the authors of this article. Nothing, once again, is from Raju, as we are setting him aside. All but one of the links I gave was from a "standard work on math history and biography", some of which were already cited in the article. They would be cited as the book, not simply the link to the google book. This includes one site from the MacTutor History of Mathematics archive on Euclid. The one that is not a good source was a page from a professor from Clark University, while I simply added to help people get an outline of the idea without having to dig through the books.
I'm sorry, but I can't take your comments seriously if you did not actually look at mine objectively. If I made these changes, they would be considered welcome additions. Please look at the first 4 points again, and tell me if you have any problem with them.
I understand that I caused anxiety before, but please realize that I am not fighting with you in any way at this point, I am working with you on improving this article.
NittyG (talk) 02:50, 1 May 2009 (UTC)

First four points added[edit]

Sorry for the very long delay... I added the first four points, and the point about the Elements. This is completely in line with the consensus of the article, using the sources that have been established as the most reliable and authoritative. It may require a little rewording and clean up, but I feel that what was added here is neutral and should stand.

NittyG (talk) 07:19, 13 July 2009 (UTC)

Raju[edit]

Regarding Raju's claim to have disproven one of Einstein's relativity equations, by accident I came across the following statement: The "most common crackpot missives received by scientists and science magazines" include "claims to have proved [Einstein's] theories false.... Like cannibals seeking the strength and life spirit of thier victims, these misguided amateurs seem to think that by outdoing or disproving Einstein they will acquire all his presteige and acclaim. Of course, all that they disprove is their own competence in basic relativity." Collins, Graham P. (January 2006). "Toppling the Giant". Scientific American Special Edition: Frontiers of Physics: 18.  Raju's claim should lead rational individuals to distrust what he has to say. Finell (Talk) 03:35, 30 April 2009 (UTC)

Can we please drop Raju, as we discussed before, in the interests of focusing on improving this article constructively?
NittyG (talk) 03:08, 1 May 2009 (UTC)
I guess we should take Collin Graham seriously because he's a journalist for a science magazine?Monticores (talk) 07:20, 23 January 2013 (UTC)

Apology[edit]

Finell - The changes have stuck, and it appears that we have reached a consensus for now. I thank you for the productive aspects of the discussions we had. However, I would like it if you apologized for the accusations you have made of me, particularly the claims that I have posted subjects on "Uclides". I would like it if you apologized in every separate forum where the accusations were made. It is fine that we have had differences of opinion, but often the tone and especially the accusations made against me were never once taken back. It is the responsibility of people to take back any attack on someones reputation. I was entirely cordial towards you and everyone the whole time, and expect likewise.

NittyG (talk) 17:29, 5 October 2009 (UTC)

Revert of some recent changes[edit]

I've reverted some recent changes to the article by user:Gigogag. The chief issue is with the new dates given for Euclid's life. I'd like to see a source for these. Paul August 22:13, 11 November 2009 (UTC)

Thanks for doing that. I haven't had time to devote to this article lately. The best anyone can say is that he flourished around 300 BC, and even that date has a wide range of approximation. Since no information about Euclid's birth or death survived antiquity, there are no reliable approximations of these dates. Some sources do publish circa birth and death dates, but they are just guesses based on how old he might have been when he wrote Elements (which date is also only a rough approximation) and what an average life expectancy might have been; they don't even qualify as approximations. I wrote the paragraph that begins "The date and place of Euclid's birth", which you restored, in an attempt to stop well-intentioned editors who added birth and death dates, and also images. Whether to have any image in the infobox has been debated here; I added the caption to the present one. —Finell (talk) 22:33, 11 November 2009 (UTC)
Indeed, I'm skeptical of any more precise date being given for Euclid's life. I know of no one more authoritative on ancient Greek mathematics in general and Euclid in particular than Thomas Heath. And, for example, my edition (1981) of Heath's A History of Greek Mathematics says: "Practically all that is known about [Euclid] is contained in a few sentences of Proclus's summary". He goes on to write that this "passage shows that even Proclus had no direct knowledge of Euclid's birthplace, or of the dates of his birth and death; he can only infer generally at what period he flourished. All that is certain is that Euclid was later than the first pupils of Plato and earlier than Archimedes. As Plato died in 347 B.C. and Archimedes lived from 287 to 212 B.C., Euclid must have flourished about 300 B.C., a date which agrees well with the statement that he lived under the first Ptolemy, who reigned from 306 to 283 B.C." (And I now see, my edition of Heath's translation of Euclid's Elements, written a bit later, says much the same). Heath (and more) informed my skepticism and revert. Of course more modern scholarship may tell a different story (for example the reference by Archimedes to Euclid, in Proclus, which is used to date Euclid earlier than Archimedes is now considered suspect). Paul August 13:41, 12 November 2009 (UTC)
I believe this article says all that can reliably be said about Euclid's life aside from his writings. I doubt that future scholarship will reveal more. However, as you know, the future is one of the hardest things there is to predict. —Finell 18:31, 19 November 2009 (UTC)
WHEN I PUT UP THE BIRTH/DEATH DATES, I KNEW WHAT I WAS DOING. I GOT THE DATA THAT PAUL AUGUST SO KINDLY DELETED FROM AN EXPERT ON THE TOPIC. I'LL PUT IT BACK UP AND REMEMBER TO PUT CITATIONS UP THIS TIME. :-) Gigogag (talk) 00:20, 23 November 2009 (UTC)
Please don't shout. I know that there are sources for various date ranges, but they do not agree among themselves on the dates. Further, we have definitive sources cited in the article, which in turn are based on the only sources that survived antiquity, that these dates, and the facts surrounding Euclid's birth and death, are not be known. Further, your edit is against the consensus of this article's editors. Again, you are welcome to discuss this issue with other editors here on this talk page, including your sources, but please do not edit against consensus again. Thank you. —Finell 01:08, 23 November 2009 (UTC)
Indeed, the point is that no one knows by any means when Euclid lived. It can only be a range, so a date of "371 BC" is too precise, and misleading. Please read the biographical information in the article - it says the only brief references that were ever written of Euclid, and there is really no biographical information in the sentences. Gigagog - by the way, despite your :), Finnel was responding to the fact that everything was in caps, which by convention means shouting... :)NittyG (talk) 02:29, 23 November 2009 (UTC)
Giogag, you said you would "put it back up" with "citations", however you changed the dates again but did not provide any sources. A reliable source is the key point here. I'm happy to consider the possibility of more refined dates, but you need to provide a source. Paul August 04:34, 23 November 2009 (UTC)

Citations[edit]

I'm sorry about that mishap. I had gathered lots of information from scholarly sources, but I forgot how to type their links on the page Gigogag (talk) 17:36, 12 December 2009 (UTC):-)

Put it between the tags "<ref>" & "</ref>". It can be generated from the rightmost button above the editing window. You can find templates here, but don't worry about being exact. If you can get a distinctly identifiable source inbetween the tags, other people can clean up the formatting as needed. Good content is more important than the polishing that can follow. Novangelis (talk) 18:21, 12 December 2009 (UTC)

Consensus and Opinion on adding link to Perseus and beyond[edit]

The user Finell and Novangelis do not seem to like links, which mention historical data of euclid, which is not considered of western origin. There is very little information on euclid's origin, which makes it more importend to add all there is. Since at least 12 month both user suppress any information in those regards. Almost the complete talk page focus on euclid's origin. Today i tried to add a link to Perseus - http://perseus.mpiwg-berlin.mpg.de/cgi-bin/ptext?lookup=Euc.+1 Which is one of the world's leading ressources on historical data. The link provides a rich ressource on euclid aswell as further readings. The author seems to be very well infromed "Editions and translations: Greek (ed. J. L. Heiberg) | English (ed. Thomas L. Heath)". I also intended to find another ressources instead of C.K.Raju's, since this was questioned first by Novangelis/Finell.

What is the opinion now? Can we add a link to Perseus, which presents one of the richest historical databases worldwide and here in specialy about euclid? "About Perseus Perseus is an evolving digital library, engineering interactions through time, space, and language. Our primary goal is to bring a wide range of source materials to as large an audience as possible. We anticipate that greater accessibility to the sources for the study of the humanities will strengthen the quality of questions, lead to new avenues of research, and connect more people through the connection of ideas." This makes it ideal for linking and in the way wikipedia was created. Further to enhance the wiki, the provided information on Perseus about euclid, should be substracted and be added to the wiki. And the talk page should be cleaned up from all this edit wars, which seems to be going on for a long time. --DuKu (talk) 01:50, 31 January 2010 (UTC)

The link is there, in "References". Perseus is just one of many online libraries.Novangelis (talk) 01:58, 31 January 2010 (UTC)
First i provided a link, than you removed the link and added the reference. The idea of the link was to direct the user to this rich source of information and provide infos which are not yet covered in the wiki of euclide's. There are especialy infos on Tyre and the translation of arabic historians "ucli des" which are worth to be mentioned. Above this the website of Perseus has a huge collection of all the related knowlegde we can find on the matter. (Which i found btw only, because C.K.Raju was not accepted here). And since Raju published a book, which got reviewed by the oxford journal, his source gained enough relaibility to be mentioned on the wiki aswell. Beside this there should also be a google books link. --DuKu (talk) 02:17, 31 January 2010 (UTC)
Develop the article, not the links. Wikipedia is not a collection of links. There's one more relevant policy you need to review: no original research. Your interpretation of data (for example, what you want people to infer from a source) is original research. Please do not try to interpret sources.Novangelis (talk) 02:33, 31 January 2010 (UTC)
Remember you deleted the content i added here on the content page,so it could be worked out for a wiki entry? However, your argument is irrelevant, because it is common to link related websites - especialy if it contains information on the subject, which has not been mentioned yet. The link of Perseus actualy is original research - maybe read again my first comment in this topic? You seem to have no intrest in improving the wiki with relevant historical data. --DuKu (talk) 02:59, 31 January 2010 (UTC)
Perseus is not a source. It is a digital library. The source that you were linking was Chapter 1 of Heath's edition of Elements, which is Heath's biographical summary. I provided a correct citation; it belongs in the Reference section because the article uses that chapter (from the Dover reprint) as a source, but I provided the link to Perseus based on what you added to External links. When you link a web site, you provide the title (at least) and other identifying information. You don't give your own characterization of what you think the source means.—Finell 03:04, 31 January 2010 (UTC)
Please provide the nessassary information in regards to your opinion on wikipedia's external links policy. Following your assumption most external links on wikipedia should be removed. In the sense of the wikipedia it is to provide knowledge of a certain topic and external links can direct the user to a related ressource. However i tried to compile an article for the wiki in the first place, which got interrupted by deleting the content i provided. And lets not forget that we know little, so every bit of information in regards to the subject is vital. --DuKu (talk) 03:15, 31 January 2010 (UTC)

(unindent)This debate is somewhat confusing. The Perseus site seems to be be a reprint of T.L. Heath's 1908 translation and commentary on the Elements of which many copies can be found on the internet. Heath's work is scholarly and a reliable reference as far as what was known in the early 1900's, though I don't see why it would need to be included twice which is what Duku is apparently trying to accomplish.--RDBury (talk) 00:12, 1 February 2010 (UTC)

You are correct. If you look at DuKu's remarks here, and also on my talk page, and his edits to the article itself (all of which have been reverted), and his edit comments, this very new editor (who is not fluent in English) apparently does not understand that the Perseus page is actually the text of Heath's Chapter 1. Further, instead of just identifying the link with a citation, he characterized it in his "External links" entry as "Rich information on Euclid - Uclides oriental origin" (and a few variations). There is nothing like that in Heath; DuKu has been pushing an anti-Western POV here (see his recent addition to the year-old discussion under #Uclides - The Key to Geometry above and the discussion on my talk page). On the other hand, a long time ago, I used and cited the Dover reprint of Heath's Elements, including the biographical Chapter 1, in working on the article. Adding a citation to a free, online source of the same Heath text is a convenience to the reader; we can thank DuKu for inspiring that addition (but not for edit warring).—Finell 01:04, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
+1 Adding the perseus link to the an online version of Heath's book is perfectly fine (as it currently is under References), but there is no need to add it again under external links.--Kmhkmh (talk) 01:09, 1 February 2010 (UTC)
I find no reason why not to add the external links, as internet user rather visit a link, instead of buying a book. The commentary from heath's is missing in large parts from the euclid wiki and the Perseus link contains further historical links. --DuKu (talk) 05:15, 2 February 2010 (UTC)
Heath is now in public domain so you don't have to buy it. I downloaded the PDF from Google Books and refer to it often.--RDBury (talk) 16:52, 3 February 2010 (UTC)

Data missing in Euclid's wiki[edit]

These are some of the commentary from Heath. The link to the source cites sources and from reading it is not contradicting the wiki. It just means more historical data about euclid.


We read15 that “Euclid, son of Naucrates, grandson of Zenarchus16 , called the author of geometry, a philosopher of somewhat ancient date, a Greek by nationality domiciled at Damascus, born at Tyre, most learned in the science of geometry, published a most excellent and most useful work entitled the foundation or elements of geometry

15 Casiri, Bibliotheca Arabico-Hispana Escurialensis, I. p. 339. Casiri's source is alQifti (d. 1248), the author of the Ta'rīkh al-H<*>ukamā, a collection of biographies of philosophers, mathematicians, astronomers etc.


“Basilides of Tyre, O Protarchus, when he came to Alexandria and met my father, spent the greater part of his sojourn with him on account of their common interest in mathematics. And once, when [p. 6] examining the treatise written by Apollonius about the comparison between the dodecahedron and the icosahedron inscribed in the same sphere, (showing) what ratio they have to one another, they thought that Apollonius had not expounded this matter properly, and accordingly they emended the exposition, as I was able to learn from my father. And I myself, later, fell in with another book published by Apollonius, containing a demonstration relating to the subject, and I was greatly interested in the investigation of the problem. The book published by Apollonius is accessible to all-- for it has a large circulation, having apparently been carefully written out later--but I decided to send you the comments which seem to me to be necessary, for you will through your proficiency in mathematics in general and in geometry in particular form an expert judgment on what I am about to say, and you will lend a kindly ear to my disquisition for the sake of your friendship to my father and your goodwill to me.”

The idea that Apollonius preceded Euclid must evidently have been derived from the passage just quoted. It explains other things besides. Basilides must have been confused with basileus, and we have a probable explanation of the “Alexandrian king,” and of the “learned men who visited” Alexandria. It is possible also that in the “Tyrian” of Hypsicles' preface we have the origin of the notion that Euclid was born in Tyre. These inferences argue, no doubt, very defective knowledge of Greek: but we could expect no better from those who took the Organon of Aristotle to be “instrumentum musicum pneumaticum,” and who explained the name of Euclid, which they variously pronounced as Uclides or Icludes, to be compounded of Ucli a key, and Dis a measure, or, as some say, geometry, so that Uclides is equivalent to the key of geometry! http://perseus.mpiwg-berlin.mpg.de/cgi-bin/ptext?lookup=Euc.+1 --DuKu (talk) 05:39, 2 February 2010 (UTC)

That's from Heath pp. 5-6 and if you look at the preceding text you'll see that he calls the whole thing a "fable". Having a reference doesn't mean you can quote out of context to push your own point of view.--RDBury (talk) 16:42, 3 February 2010 (UTC)
Again RDBury, as i state this is not contradicting to the wiki. Maybe you tell me what you mean i push my point of view? Just more historical data. Following your logi you could get rid of wikis like "Pseudo Gerber" aswell. --DuKu (talk) 20:35, 3 February 2010 (UTC)

Interesting fact[edit]

Here's an interesting thing,the main picture is terrible,you can't tell who is who.Where is the legendary portrait of Euclid?The one with a hat. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 31.47.11.31 (talk) 18:42, 3 May 2011 (UTC)

Edit request on 24 April 2012[edit]

Umm, First of all Thales Was considered the "Father of Geometry" not Euclid.

108.209.200.236 (talk) 22:28, 24 April 2012 (UTC)

Euclid is also often referred to the "Father of Geometry". See [21][22][23] Gobōnobo + c 22:49, 24 April 2012 (UTC)

Edit request on 13 May 2012[edit]

Eucld was born in 325BC and died in 265BC

202.0.106.130 (talk) 01:03, 13 May 2012 (UTC)

Not done for now: Please provide a reliable source that supports these dates. Adrian J. Hunter(talkcontribs) 12:50, 13 May 2012 (UTC)

Physical appearance[edit]

In the rather limited biography of Euclid, two sentences deal with his appearance:

"No likeness or description of Euclid's physical appearance made during his lifetime survived antiquity. Therefore, Euclid's depiction in works of art is the product of the artist's imagination."

While I don't find the information as such in any way objectionable, I'm a bit puzzled as to why it's necessary to explicitly state this fact. It's a statement that rings true for more than 95% of famous ancients, but you usually don't see it explicitly stated. This seems to me to be a "spill-over" effect from a discussion concerning the inclusion or exclusion of specific depictions.

As for the actual issue of what depictions to use, historical manuscript illustrations and famous historical paintings (e.g. the School of Athens) should have precedence over modern works. As for modern works, they would have to be in agreement with whatever existing data there is (e.g. the archetypal "Greek philosopher" look) and of some cultural relevance (e.g. commissioned by some important or relevant institution). Any personal take on his appearance by modern artists are irrelevant and nothing more than a waste of space.

Abvgd (talk) 03:43, 6 January 2013 (UTC)

Personally, I see no need for that unsourced statement.Novangelis (talk) 03:49, 6 January 2013 (UTC)

please remove the m from "whom was killed". it hurts my eye.[edit]

85.250.190.137 (talk) 08:53, 22 January 2013 (UTC)

The fraudulent Euclid[edit]

Is there any reason why this article claims that maybe Euclid did not exist at all, and that the Elements were rewritten to align with Christian theology, and that Theon and Hypatia may have been the real authors? The whole paragraph sounds incredibly WP:FRINGE to me. Pasicles (talk) 21:25, 10 February 2013 (UTC)

No, there was no reason to have kept it. It was based upon a self-published source.Novangelis (talk) 22:06, 10 February 2013 (UTC)

Edit request on 30 April 2013[edit]

Euclid was an acient greek who invented the wheel — Preceding unsigned comment added by WikiTroll121 (talkcontribs) 00:01, 30 April 2013 (UTC)

Euclidean vs. Non-Euclidean Geometry Needs Clarification[edit]

I don't know enough about the subject to fix it, but the discussion of Euclidean and Non-Euclidean geometry at the end of the section about Elements needs to be more descriptive. Exercisephys (talk) 03:45, 19 June 2013 (UTC)

Misleading sentence[edit]

The first sentence reads. Euclid (/ˈjuːklɪd/ EWK-lid; Greek: Εὐκλείδης Eukleidēs), fl. 300 BC, also known as Euclid of Alexandria, was a Greek mathematician, often referred to as the "Father of Geometry". It suggests that qualified scholars call Euclid the "Father of Geometry". The is wrong. Geometry goes back before Plato, before Pythagoras, and probably before Thales. There were axiomatically organized geometry texts used in Plato's Academy. Euclid did not father anything in geometry; he simply wrote a great book using materials and style available before he started.

The first sentence should be changed. CHANGE often referred to as the "Father of Geometry" TO often improperly referred to as the "Father of Geometry": geometry had been practiced for centuries before Euclid was born. — Preceding unsigned comment added by BOOLE1847 (talkcontribs) 18:13, 24 September 2013 (UTC)

Name[edit]

the name's meaning is "having good glory"(exact in greek), not "good glory" which is feminine, the reference(4) says "renowned" (exact in english). — Preceding unsigned comment added by 88.218.49.233 (talk) 04:26, 1 October 2013 (UTC)

Edit request, 5 December 2013[edit]

Can I please edit your paper because there are a few errors in this article?

165.155.200.99 (talk) 14:40, 5 December 2013 (UTC)

Not done: this is not the right page to request additional user rights. You may reopen this request with the specific changes to be made and someone will add them for you, or if you have an account, you can wait until you are autoconfirmed and edit the page yourself. --Stfg (talk) 18:24, 5 December 2013 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 31 January 2014[edit]

In the discussion of Euclid's purported biography written in Arabic, the word "fictituous" should be "fictitious". Please correct it. Von Lorenz (talk) 17:09, 31 January 2014 (UTC)

Done RudolfRed (talk) 20:34, 31 January 2014 (UTC)
    • ^ Raju, C.K. Towards Equity in Mathematics Education 1. Goodbye Euclid! Centre for Studies in Civilizations, New Dehli. 2008. [24]
    • ^ Raju, C.K. Towards Equity in Mathematics Education 1. Goodbye Euclid! Centre for Studies in Civilizations, New Dehli. 2008. [25]