Archive for April 5th, 2008

Tax Math, Aztec Style

April 5, 2008

Having tax woes? The Aztecs, who lived in Central Mexico and whose empire was particularly strong between the 12th and 15th centuries, shared your pain. They might not have had to fill out 1040 forms, but they did have to pay taxes, and the calculations were not simple, according to a paper published April 4 in Science Magazine which deciphered the mathematics of two codices from around 1540-1544. (“Aztec Arithmetic Revisited: Land-Area Algorithms and Acolhua Congruence Arithmetic” by Barbara J. Williams and María del Carmen Jorge y Jorge; see the abstract here.) Click to read more about Aztec math and taxes!