Approach of the Math Mummy
4,000 years ago I began to design a pyramid for my passing into the heavens, but alas, there was a problem. You see, the number system we used had 7 different digits, each representing specific values:
- 1 - This was represented by a short vertical line
- 10 - This was represnted by a heel bone, which looks like an upside down 'U'
- 100 - This was represented by a coil of rope.
- 1,000 - This was represented by a lotus plant
- 10,000 - This was represented by a finger
- 100,000 - This was represented by a tadpole, or frog
- 1,000,000 - This was represented by a man with both hands raised
To get the value of a number, you simply add the value of each of the hieroglyphs that make it up. You cannot, however, use any hieroglyph more than 9 times. This presents the problem that the largest numer we could express was equivalent to what you would write as 9,999,999 and even that was quite long to write.
With our number system, I was unable to order enough gold for my burial chamber, so I set off on a journey. I eventually met a man who explained to me your 'base 10' number system. He claimed to be of a place called 'Waterloo'. I decided to pay a visit to this 'Waterloo'. I even dyed my bandages in honour of this mans exquisite tie. I am currently making my way through Toronto, but travel is slow when you are 4,000 years old. I expect to make it for next Friday, and I hope to see you there.
The Math Mummy