[INDOLOGY] Mathematical Treasure: The Cambodian Zero

Dominic Goodall dominic.goodall at gmail.com
Wed Jun 21 06:04:31 EDT 2017

It's perhaps worth pointing out that Dominique Soutif's doctoral thesis, defended at Paris III in 2009, seems to be a little more up-to-date on this matter.  Dominique Soutif there corrected a consistent misreading of the last digit in these various dates and established that they all in fact read 604.

In his thesis (Organisation religieuse et profane du temple khmer du VIIe au XIIIe siècle. Volume I : Les biens du dieu, p. 18), he says:

« En effet, ses premières représentations connues apparaissent simultanément au Cambodge à Trapeang Prei et à Sumatra à Palembang en 604 śaka, soit 682/683 de notre ère. » 

I don’t have it beside me, but I think that the same points are also covered in this article of his of 2008 published in the Cambodian journal Siksacakr: « Dénombrer les biens du dieu ; étude de la numération du khmer ancien (vie-xiie siècle çaka) », Siksâcakr 8, p. 51-80 [paru en 2010 ; traduction khmère, p. 172-206].

Dominic Goodall

> On 21-Jun-2017, at 11:43 AM, Andrea Acri via INDOLOGY <indology at list.indology.info> wrote:
> The zero (annotated as a dot or small circle in the tens position) is also used in three Sriwijayan inscriptions from Sumatra from the same time (605–608 shaka / 682–687 CE). This is 2 centuries earlier than the "Gwalior zero". See:
> Anthony Diller
> Journal of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, Vol. 68, No. 1 (268) (1995), pp. 53-66
> http://www.jstor.org/stable/41493264 <http://www.jstor.org/stable/41493264>
> Anthony Diller
> Mon-Khmer Studies 25, 1996, pp. 125-132
> http://sealang.net/sala/archives/pdf8/diller1996new.pdf <http://sealang.net/sala/archives/pdf8/diller1996new.pdf>
> G. Cœdès <https://www.cambridge.org/core/search?filters%5BauthorTerms%5D=G.%20C%C5%93d%C3%A8s&eventCode=SE-AU>
> BSOAS 6/2, 1931, pp. 323-328
> DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0041977X00092806 <https://doi.org/10.1017/S0041977X00092806>
> Andrea Acri
> Sent from my iPhone
> Sent from my iPhone
> On 21 Jun 2017, at 04:32, Dominik Wujastyk via INDOLOGY <indology at list.indology.info <mailto:indology at list.indology.info>> wrote:
>> Here is a nice presentation of the evidence:
>> Frank J. Swetz (The Pennsylvania State University), "Mathematical Treasure: The Cambodian Zero," Convergence (October 2015) - See more at: http://www.maa.org/press/periodicals/convergence/mathematical-treasure-the-cambodian-zero#sthash.8llx0OXX.dpuf <http://www.maa.org/press/periodicals/convergence/mathematical-treasure-the-cambodian-zero#sthash.8llx0OXX.dpuf>
>> --
>> Professor Dominik Wujastyk <http://ualberta.academia.edu/DominikWujastyk>​,​
>> Singhmar Chair in Classical Indian Society and Polity​,​
>> Department of History and Classics <http://historyandclassics.ualberta.ca/>​,​
>> University of Alberta, Canada​.​
>> South Asia at the U of A: ​sas.ualberta.ca​ <http://sas.ualberta.ca/>​​
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Dominic Goodall
École française d'Extrême-Orient,
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Pondicherry 605001
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