Epitaph of Diophantus/Historical Note
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Historical Note on Epitaph of Diophantus
- This tomb holds Diophantus. Ah, how great a marvel!
- the tomb tells scientifically the measure of his life.
- God granted him to be a boy for the sixth part of his life,
- and adding a twelfth part to this, he clothed his cheeks with down;
- He lit him the light of wedlock after a seventh part,
- and five years after his marriage He granted him a son.
- Alas! late-born wretched child;
- after attaining the measure of half his father's life, chill Fate took him.
- After consoling his grief by this science of numbers for four years he ended his life.
The puzzle seems first to have appeared in the The Greek Anthology Book XIV.
There are a number of translations that can be found. The one given here is that provided by W.R. Paton.