How Was Trigonometry Mainly Used in Ancient Times?

Trigonometry is a branch of mathematics that deals with the study of triangles and their properties. It has been used for various purposes since ancient times. In this article, we will take a look at how trigonometry was mainly used in ancient times.

Navigation and Astronomy

One of the earliest uses of trigonometry can be traced back to the ancient Egyptians. They used it for navigation and surveying their land. They divided the year into 12 months based on the phases of the moon, which helped them keep track of time and make accurate predictions about the flooding of the Nile river.

The ancient Greeks also made significant contributions to trigonometry. They used it extensively in astronomy to calculate the position and movements of celestial bodies. The Greek astronomer Hipparchus was the first to create a table of chords, which were used to calculate astronomical positions.


Trigonometry was also widely used in architecture in ancient times. The ancient Egyptians used it to design and construct their pyramids, while the Greeks used it to design their temples and other buildings.

The use of trigonometry allowed architects to calculate angles and distances accurately, leading to more precise measurements and better construction techniques.

Military Applications

Trigonometry played an important role in military applications in ancient times as well. The Greek mathematician Euclid wrote a book called “Elements” that included propositions on how to use geometry and trigonometry for military purposes.

Archimedes, another Greek mathematician, is said to have used mirrors and lenses to focus sunlight onto enemy ships during battles, using his knowledge of trigonometry to determine the correct angles for reflection.


In conclusion, trigonometry has been used for various purposes throughout history. From navigation and astronomy to architecture and military applications, its versatility has made it an important branch of mathematics that continues to be used today.

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