1/Historical Note

From ProofWiki
< 1
Jump to: navigation, search

Historical Note on $1$ (one)

The ancient Greeks did not consider $1$ to be a number.

According to the Pythagoreans, the number One ($1$) was the Generator of all Numbers: the omnipotent One.

While a number, according to Euclid, was an aggregate of units, a unit was not considered to be an aggregate of itself.

The much-quoted statement of Jakob Köbel might as well be repeated here:

Wherefrom thou understandest that $1$ is no number but it is a generatrix beginning and foundation for all other numbers.
-- $1537$

illustrating that this mindset still held sway as late as the $16$th century.


The ancient Greeks considered $1$ as both odd and even by fallacious reasoning.


Sources