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Metrodorus (Greek: Μητρόδωρος; fl. c. 6th century) was a Greek grammarian and mathematician, who collected mathematical epigrams which appear in the Greek Anthology.

Nothing is known about the life of Metrodorus. The time he lived is not certain: he may have lived as early as the 3rd century AD, but it is more likely that he lived in the time of the emperors Anastasius I and Justin I, in the early 6th century.[1]

His name occurs in connection with 45 mathematical epigrams which are to be found in book 14 of the Greek Anthology.[2] Although he may have authored some of the epigrams, it is generally accepted that he collected most of them, and some of them may predate the 5th century BC.[1] Many of the epigrams lead to simple equations, and they are of the same type as those found in the Rhind Mathematical Papyrus (17th century BC).[3] Among the problems Metrodorus collected are:[3]

Twenty-three simple equations with one unknown, one of which is the famous epigram which reveals the age of Diophantus.[4]
Twelve are easy simultaneous equations with two unknowns.
One gives a simultaneous equation with three unknowns.[5]
Six are problems about filling and emptying vessels by pipes.


Henrietta Midonick, (1965), The Treasury of Mathematics, Volume 2, pages 51–2. Penguin Books.
Greek Anthology, xiv. 1–4, 6–7, 11–13, 48–51, 116–147
Sir Thomas Little Heath, (1921), A history of Greek mathematics, Volume 2, From Aristarchus to Diophantus, pages 441–3. Oxford
Greek Anthology, xiv. 126

Greek Anthology, xiv. 51

External links

The Greek anthology, Volume 5, containing books 13–16, at the Internet Archive


Ancient Greek and Hellenistic mathematics (Euclidean geometry)
Anaxagoras Anthemius Archytas Aristaeus the Elder Aristarchus Apollonius Archimedes Autolycus Bion Bryson Callippus Carpus Chrysippus Cleomedes Conon Ctesibius Democritus Dicaearchus Diocles Diophantus Dinostratus Dionysodorus Domninus Eratosthenes Eudemus Euclid Eudoxus Eutocius Geminus Heliodorus Heron Hipparchus Hippasus Hippias Hippocrates Hypatia Hypsicles Isidore of Miletus Leon Marinus Menaechmus Menelaus Metrodorus Nicomachus Nicomedes Nicoteles Oenopides Pappus Perseus Philolaus Philon Philonides Porphyry Posidonius Proclus Ptolemy Pythagoras Serenus Simplicius Sosigenes Sporus Thales Theaetetus Theano Theodorus Theodosius Theon of Alexandria Theon of Smyrna Thymaridas Xenocrates Zeno of Elea Zeno of Sidon Zenodorus
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In Elements
Angle bisector theorem Exterior angle theorem Euclidean algorithm Euclid's theorem Geometric mean theorem Greek geometric algebra Hinge theorem Inscribed angle theorem Intercept theorem Pons asinorum Pythagorean theorem Thales's theorem Theorem of the gnomon
Apollonius's theorem
Aristarchus's inequality Crossbar theorem Heron's formula Irrational numbers Menelaus's theorem Pappus's area theorem Problem II.8 of Arithmetica Ptolemy's inequality Ptolemy's table of chords Ptolemy's theorem Spiral of Theodorus
Cyrene Library of Alexandria Platonic Academy
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