Countless millennia ago, hunter-gatherer ancestors evidently experienced the compulsion to add, subtract and divide. Then, when primitive societies gradually formed themselves, the necessity to record quantities in some notational form evolved into an identifiable language. This language was essentially mathematical even if inscribed on wood, bone or clay. Mathematical concepts can thus be said to have long preceded the evolution of writing.
For educated Greeks in the age of Plato and Aristotle, the credit for evolving a recognisable and sophisticated mathematical language was readily conceded to the Babylonian cultures of Egypt and Mesopotamia. But Greek writers of the sixth century BC, such as Pythagoras and Thales, have left an indelible mark on mathematical history. And, for more than 20 centuries, Euclid of Alexandria's Elements has dominated schoolrooms worldwide. This feature provides a concise overview of some other mathematical milestones through the ages.