Science and Mathematics in Medieval Times

The way the ancient people of civilization looked at science was completely different from the way modern people do. In ancient civilizations, the term Scientia referred to the knowledge every person obtained during their lifetime. Enhancing the scientific, mathematical, and artistic subjects was led by Greek and Roman academics . The work of scientists and mathematicians remained stranded in Rome until the Fifth-Century when the fall of the Roman Empire opened academia to the rest of Europe.

Calculating Religious Feasts

The learning held within the quadrivium began to be used to calculate the position in a time of moveable religious feasts. The calculating of Easter had caused problems for the Catholic Church for centuries. The date of Easter is not set in stone in the Bible but is recorded as celebrated on the Sunday closest to the 14th on Easter Month. The use of computus charts to calculate the date of Easter is among the oldest mathematical recorded calculations.

The Use of Computus Diagrams

Leaving the Dark Ages

Astronomy Continues to be Important

As Europe moved into the 13th century, mathematics and science took a dramatic turn for the better.


Elements contained a powerful collection of theorems and proofs which led to far greater rigor in Medieval mathematics. And, al Kwarizmi’s work introduced algebra and systematized Indian numerals. The Roman system had grown too unwieldy for burgeoning European commerce.

Europe began producing great mathematicians in the 13th century, most notably the creator of the Fibonacci sequence of numbers-1,1,2,3,5,8,13,21… His most important work, Liber Abaci, popularized al Kwarizmi’s system of numerals.

Commerce benefited from these breakthroughs. The emergence of double-entry bookkeeping was made possible by these new numerals. This system of bookkeeping in turn accustomed people to think in terms of strict rules of accounting in more areas of life than business transactions. Early scientists learned to pool larger and more precise bodies of knowledge by balancing nature’s accounts.


The study of alchemy led to practical experimentation with chemicals, work generally disdained by the aristocracy because it involved working with materials. Alchemy also forced theoreticians to take physical observations into account along with book study.


Students at Europe’s new universities learned the Almagest and ancient texts detailing aspects of the celestial sphere and planetary epicycles. Astronomers in Spain had devised new tables based on close observation of planetary motion. By 1320, Parisian astronomers reworked them and spread them throughout Europe.

Thus, a solid scientific framework was laid for the work of the Renaissance scientists.

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Florida-based attorney Jorge J. Perez is a history buff occupied by many hobbies. Learn more at!