the koti

mkapstei at UCHICAGO.EDU mkapstei at UCHICAGO.EDU
Fri Nov 19 09:54:39 EST 2010


Dear Alf (and Randy),

In her _Mathematics in India_ (PUP), Kim Plofker (p. 14)
cites Yajurveda 7.2.20 that gives a decimal progression
running up to 10 to the 12th (a billion). Here, the
term for ten million is not ko.ti, but arbuda, so pace
M-W, ko.ti was not the highest in the old series, whatever
that means. Unfortunately, Plofker's book does not seem to
deal with number names in a systematic way, and I find 
no reference to the ko.ti in it. (Of course, Plofker's
book is most useful and excellent on many other matters.)

The designations for numbers in India are usefully tabulated
in Georges Ifrah, Histoire universelle des Chiffres (there
is an English trans. available, but I have only the
original French), vol. 1, ch. 24 ("La civilisation indienne: berceau de la numérisation moderne"), pp. 940ff. ("Une culture atteinte par la 'folie' des grands nombres"). Ko.ti
occurs here in many lists, and always, so far as I can
see, meaning a "crore," 10 to the 7th.

Matthew T. Kapstein
Numata Visiting Professor of Buddhist Studies
The University of Chicago Divinity School
Directeur d'études
Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Paris



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