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MEEF - Middle East Economic Engineering - Articles - Arabic Numbers

New Theory on the Typographical Roots of the Hindu Arabic Numbers and Brahmi Scripts


All Arabic numbers we use today are ideograms created by
Abu Ja'far Muhammad ibn Musa
al-Khowarizmi (c.778 - c.850).

Using the abacus notations,
he developed the manuscript decimal system.
Based on
additives angles,
he defined the numbers
1, 2, 3 and 4.
And using his knowledge
about the
abacus manuscript notations,
he defined the numbers
5, 6, 7, 8, 9, O.

Roots of the 1, 2, 3 and 4 numbers

The Arabic 1-2-3-4 numbers format
are based traces with angles:

The number one (1) has one angle.

The number two (2) has two additives angles.

The number three (3) has three additives angles.

The number four (4) has four additive angles.

The number four get closed due to cursive hand write.

Roots of the 5 and the 10 numbers:
The circle is the symbol of the hand closed, which has five fingers.
The number five was written under the write line.
The number ten (the 2nd hand) was written (placed) on the top of  write line.
Theoretically, the circle on the top of the write line acquires double value (ten value).

The abacus' figure and the cursive circles:
The embryo circles: five, six and seven were placed below the write line.
The embryo circles: ten, nine and eight were placed above the write line.

The circles, the up traces, the additive angles and the write line
To the circle five, one trace up was added, with one additive angle making the number six.
To the circle five were added two up traces, with two additive angles making the number seven.


The circles, the down traces, the diminutive angles and the write line
To the circle ten was added one down trace, with one diminutive angle making the number nine.
To the circle ten were added two down traces, with two diminutives angles making the number eight.

The cursive handwriting ( gray colour ) makes changes on the numbers format and aesthetic. The cursive number five and the number seven still uses the write line on its structures.

The number seven was placed totally under the write line, and was the most simplified during its cursive evolution (gray colour).
First the number seven was placed under the write line (blue colour).
The involution of the number seven was necessary due to the similarities that the cursive seven has with the number six.

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