Re: maize in ancient India: transpacific links (cont.)

Y. Malaiya (
Wed, 01 Jan 1997 16:10:07 -0700

Milo Gardner wrote:
> Yuri speaks of maize as the best leading indictor that he can
> imagine. Well, I can offer zero being given to India ,as the
> Vedic texts list Maya.
> If the Maya reference in India is well known in other situations,
> I'd like to particularly cite a Historia Mathematica journal
> 'reviews of papers' submitted by Dr. Gupta, on or about Feb. 1994.
> In that article a Ph.D. candidate was researching the history of
> the symbol zero - not the concept that clearly goes back
> to 1800 BC (Egypt, the RMP and Babylon, Plimpton Tablet).
> Without having the article at hand, all that I recall is that
> the Vedic section that cited Maya was read as Ptolemy - a
> gross mis-reading if I ever saw one.

Let me guess here. The reference is possibly to "Surya Siddhanta"
the classic text for Indian astronomy, which is said to have been
composed by an Asura named Maya. Some take Maya to be Ptolemy, since
in an inscription of Ashoka "Ptolemy" ruler of Egypt is called

The symbol for zero in India goes back perhaps to 6th century,
when the positional decimal system came into use.