(flourished c. 300 BC, Alexandria, Egypt) Greek mathematician of antiquity, known primarily for his highly influential treatise on geometry, the Elements. He founded a school in Alexandria during the reign of Ptolemy I. Little is known of his life, but there are many anecdotes. In the most famous, asked by Ptolemy if there is a shorter way to geometry than through his Elements, Euclid replies, There is no royal road to geometry. The Elements, based on the works of earlier mathematicians, is a brilliant synthesis of old and new. It has been a major influence on rational thought and a model for many philosophical treatises, and it has set a standard for logical thinking and methods of proof in the sciences. The starting point not just of Euclidean geometry but of an approach to reasoning, it is sometimes said to be the most translated, published, and studied work after the Bible.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
For the full entry on Euclid, visit Britannica.com.
Seen & Heard
What made you look up Euclid? Please tell us what you were reading, watching or discussing that led you here.