# First Apotome of Medial is Irrational

Jump to navigation
Jump to search

## Theorem

In the words of Euclid:

*If from a medial straight line there be subtracted a medial straight line commensurable with the whole in square only, and which contains with the whole a rational rectangle, the remainder is irrational. And let it be called a***first apotome of a medial***straight line.*

(*The Elements*: Book $\text{X}$: Proposition $74$)

## Proof

Let $AB$ be a medial straight line.

Let a medial straight line $BC$ such that:

- $BC$ is commensurable in square only with $AB$
- the rectangle contained by $AB$ and $BC$ is rational

be cut off from $AB$.

We have that $AB$ and $BC$ are medial.

So by definition $AB^2$ and $BC^2$ are both medial.

But $2 \cdot AB \cdot BC$ is rational.

Therefore:

- $AB^2$ and $BC^2$ are incommensurable with $2 \cdot AB \cdot BC$.

From Proposition $16$ of Book $\text{X} $: Incommensurability of Sum of Incommensurable Magnitudes:

- if $AB$ is incommensurable with either $AC$ or $CB$, $AC$ and $CB$ are incommensurable with each other.

Therefore by Proposition $7$ of Book $\text{II} $: Square of Difference:

- $2 \cdot AB \cdot BC$ is incommensurable with $AC^2$.

Therefore $AC^2$ is irrational.

Therefore by definition $AC$ is irrational.

Such a straight line is known as a first apotome of a medial.

$\blacksquare$

## Historical Note

This proof is Proposition $74$ of Book $\text{X}$ of Euclid's *The Elements*.

## Sources

- 1926: Sir Thomas L. Heath:
*Euclid: The Thirteen Books of The Elements: Volume 3*(2nd ed.) ... (previous) ... (next): Book $\text{X}$. Propositions