### Born: about 1680 BC in Egypt

Died: about 1620 BC in Egypt

**Ahmes** is the scribe who wrote the Rhind Papyrus (named after the Scottish Egyptologist Alexander Henry Rhind who went to Thebes for health reasons, became interested in excavating and purchased the papyrus in Egypt in 1858).

Ahmes claims not to be the author of the work, being, he claims, only a scribe. He says that the material comes from an earlier work of about 2000 BC.

The papyrus is our chief source of information on Egyptian mathematics. The Recto contains division of 2 by the odd numbers 3 to 101 in unit fractions and the numbers 1 to 9 by 10. The Verso has 87 problems on the four operations, solution of equations, progressions, volumes of granaries, the two-thirds rule etc.

The Rhind Papyrus, which came to the British Museum in 1863, is sometimes called the 'Ahmes papyrus' in honour of Ahmes. Nothing is known of Ahmes other than his own comments in the papyrus.

**Article by:** *J J O'Connor* and *E F Robertson*

**January 1997**