# Definition:Compass and Straightedge Construction/Historical Note

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## Historical Note on Compass and Straightedge Construction

Some sources suggest that it was the Greek mathematician Oenopides of Chios who imposed the restriction that compass and straightedge were the only tools that were "philosophically suitable" for geometric constructions.

Others suggest that this restriction originated with Plato's Academy.

The fact that the constructions made in Euclid's *The Elements* implicitly impose such a restriction suggest that Euclid himself may well have been an Academy student.

However, when necessary, the Greeks were quite ready to use other tools to achieve constructions that cannot be made with just a straightedge and a compass.

## Sources

- 1937: Eric Temple Bell:
*Men of Mathematics*... (previous) ... (next): Chapter $\text{II}$: Modern Minds in Ancient Bodies - 1992: George F. Simmons:
*Calculus Gems*... (previous) ... (next): Chapter $\text {A}.4$: Euclid (flourished ca. $300$ B.C.) - 2008: Ian Stewart:
*Taming the Infinite*... (previous) ... (next): Chapter $2$: The Logic of Shape: Problems for the Greeks