How Did Ancient Civilization Use Math?

Mathematics is a subject that has been around for thousands of years and has played a significant role in shaping human civilization. Ancient civilizations, such as the Egyptians, Babylonians, Greeks, and Maya, used math in various ways to solve practical problems. In this article, we will explore how ancient civilizations used math to make advancements in their societies.

Egyptian Mathematics

One of the earliest known uses of mathematics was by the Egyptians. They used math to measure land for taxation purposes and to calculate the volume of grain needed for storage.

The Egyptians also used math to build their famous pyramids. They used basic geometry principles such as right angles and triangles to measure and construct the structures.

Babylonian Mathematics

The Babylonians were known for their advanced knowledge of mathematics. They developed a number system based on 60 instead of 10 (which we use today), which is why we have 60 minutes in an hour and 360 degrees in a circle. The Babylonians also created tables with squares and cubes that were used for solving equations.

Greek Mathematics

The Greeks made significant contributions to mathematics with famous mathematicians like Pythagoras, Euclid, and Archimedes. Pythagoras is best known for his theorem that states the square of the hypotenuse (the longest side) of a right triangle is equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sides.

Euclid wrote Elements, a book that organized all known mathematical concepts into one place. Archimedes made important discoveries about geometry and physics.

Mayan Mathematics

The Maya civilization was located in modern-day Central America and had an advanced understanding of mathematics. They developed a numeral system using dots and bars representing different values, which allowed them to perform complex calculations such as predicting eclipses and tracking astronomical events.


In conclusion, ancient civilizations used math in various ways to solve practical problems and make advancements in their societies. From the Egyptians’ use of basic geometry to construct pyramids to the Maya’s advanced understanding of astronomy, math played an essential role in shaping human civilization. As we continue to advance technologically, it’s important to remember the contributions of these ancient civilizations and the role that math played in their successes.