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Euclid's Elements

Euclid's Elements

Euclid - The thirteen books of the Elements


Book I – Foundations of Plane Geometry

Book II – The Geometry of Rectangles

Book III – The Geometry of the Circle

Book IV – Regular Polygons in Circles

Book V – The General Theory of Magnitudes in Proportion

Book VI – The Plane Geometry of Similar Figures

Book VII – Basic Arithmetic

Book VIII – Numbers in Continued Proportion

Book IX - Numbers in Continued proportion; the Theory of Even and Odd Numbers, Perfect Numbers

Book X – Incommensurable Line Segments

Book XI – Foundations of Solid Geometry

Book XII – Areas and Volume; Eudoxus’s Method of Exhaustion

Book XIII – The Platonic Solids



Euclid (1956) The thirteen books of Elements. 2d ed. New York: Dover Publications.

About the Project



Reading Euclid

Euclid's Elements of Geometry in Early Modern Britain

Euclid’s Elements of Geometry has enjoyed a very long history of use and study from Hellenistic Alexandria to the present day. For many centuries it has been both a much recognised mathematical text and an important factor in the reception of ancient thought. It has also been critically important in the teaching of mathematics at many times and places, read by individuals ranging from schoolchildren to elite astronomers, from popular playwrights to learned philosophers.

The Elements was particularly visible between 1500 and 1800, around 200 printed editions of the text appeared: roughly one every eighteen months. No mathematical text had such an impact on early modern culture, yet the early modern reception of the Elements has never received sustained scholarly attention. The project remedies this gap by investigating the modes of early modern reception for Euclid’s Elements of Geometry. It will create new understandings of the cultural location(s) occupied by that text during the seventeenth century, through studies of educational, editorial, and readerly practices. By focussing on Britain and Ireland from the appearance (1570) of the first English Elements up to the end of the seventeenth century, it hopes to achieve a balanced study of Euclidean reception considering all the relevant types of evidence.

Reading Euclid is based at the History Faculty, University of Oxford and funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. The project will result in open-access publications, publicly-available datasets and a public exhibition at the Bodleian Library in Oxford.