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The Vernacular Tradition: A video account of math manuscripts

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The Vernacular Tradition
James Branch Cabell Library Storage
QA21 .V47 1987

This video gives a fascinating narration
of early mathematics text written in the vernacular language. The Vernacular Tradition, as the title implies, explores the translation of mathematics written with practical application to everyday life. It gives an account of problem solving using mathematical methods. One example is the system of double-entry bookkeeping used in accounting.

Two remarkable works are mentioned in the video, one Greek and one Italian. The Italian work, Summa de Arithmetica, Geometria, Proportioni et Proportionalita, written by Luca Pacioli, was published in 1494. The narrator takes the viewer through translations of this rare book, which is in the collection of the Cambridge University Library. Hearing and following the narrator through the chapters of this remarkable Renaissance scholarly work is the next best thing to reading the book itself.

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By Ibironke Lawal, engineering and science collections librarian

Image: Creative Commons

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