Number - Babylonian numeral system, base-60


The sexagesimal numeral system or base-60, was the first positional system in the first language developed the Cuneiform

It was used by astronomers

Numeral System Parts
Babylonian numerals and other mesopotamian systems (Hellenistic numbers) integral and fractional portions (see radix)
Greek numerals for the fractional portions only

Time and angle

Its influence is present today in modern:

  • time (60 minutes in an hour)
  • and angles (360 degrees in a circle)

but in both cases,

only minutes and seconds use sexagesimal notation


  • angular degrees and hour can be larger than 59 (one rotation around a circle is 360°, two rotations are 720°, etc.),
  • and both time and angles use decimal fractions of a second.

Example: Modern time separates each position by a colon or point.

  • time
10:25:59 (10 hours 25 minutes 59 seconds). 
  • angles
10°25'59" (10 degrees 25 minutes 59 seconds).

Documentation / Reference

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