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Combinatorics: Ancient and Modern$
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Robin Wilson and John J. Watkins

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199656592

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199656592.001.0001

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Renaissance combinatorics

Renaissance combinatorics

(p.123) Chapter 5 Renaissance combinatorics
Combinatorics: Ancient and Modern


Oxford University Press

Combinatorial thinking in the Renaissance had philosophical, religious, and game-theoretical roots. The concept of Llullism, in which all knowledge is derived by combining a finite number of attributes, originated in the 13th century and spread throughout Europe; in the same century we find combinatorial studies related to games of dice. From the 16th century Jesuits, Cistercians, and members of other religious orders played a crucial role in the development of combinatorics. The basic combinatorial operations were explained and illustrated by examples from daily life and by tables, normally without proof: number theory and music theory were the most important mathematical fields of application. In the 17th century, authors frequently inserted sections on combinatorics into their arithmetic or algebra textbooks, and began to write special monographs on the subject.

Keywords:   Renaissance, Llullism, dice, number theory, music

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