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A Discourse Concerning AlgebraEnglish Algebra to 1685$
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Jacqueline A. Stedall

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780198524953

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198524953.001.0001

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Ariadne's thread: William Oughtred's Clavis

Ariadne's thread: William Oughtred's Clavis

(p.55) 3 Ariadne's thread: William Oughtred's Clavis
A Discourse Concerning Algebra

Jacqueline A. Stedall (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

William Oughtred (1573-1660) was renowned throughout his life as a teacher of mathematics and especially, in his later years, for his Clavis mathematicae, his textbook on arithmetic and algebra. The book was eventually published in five Latin and two English editions, and outlived Oughtred himself by over forty years. Yet in many ways, the book was old fashioned even when it first appeared, and its survival, eventually alongside much better and clearer texts, cannot be attributed to its mathematical content alone. This chapter traces the story of the Clavis, the reasons for its popularity and long life, and its influence on 17th-century English mathematics.

Keywords:   William Oughtred, teacher, mathematics, Clavis mathematicae

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