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date: 28 November 2020


The Oxford Dictionary of the Renaissance

Gordon Campbell

The abacus uses counters to carry out operations in arithmetic. In the Renaissance the instrument usually took the form of a board with lines to mark the positions for counters. More recent instruments use beads on strings or rods, but the principle is the same. In western Europe, the use of the abacus was eventually replaced by written methods of calculation. Probably because the mathematics involved was elementary, the abacus lent its name to elementary instruction in mathematics. ... ...

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