|Born: about 200 BC in India
Died: about 200 BC in India We cannot attempt to write a biography of
Katyayana since essentially nothing is known of him except that he
was the author of a Sulbasutra which is much later than the
Sulbasutras of Baudhayana and Apastamba. It would also be fair to say
that Katyayana's Sulbasutra is the least interesting from a
mathematical point of view of the three best known Sulbasutras. It
adds very little to that of Apastamba written several hundreds of
years earlier. We do not know Katyayana's dates accurately enough to
even guess at a life span for him, which is why we have given the
same approximate birth year as death year.
neither a mathematician in the sense that we would understand it
today, nor a scribe who simply copied manuscripts like Ahmes. He
would certainly have been a man of very considerable learning but
probably not interested in mathematics for its own sake, merely
interested in using it for religious purposes. Undoubtedly he wrote
the Sulbasutra to provide rules for religious rites and to improve
and expand on the rules which had been given by his predecessors.
Katyayana would have been a priest instructing the people in the ways
of conducting the religious rites he describes.
lived in a period when the religious rites that the Sulbasutras were
written to support were becoming less influential. People were
turning to other religions and perhaps this lack of vigour in the
religion at this time partly explains why several hundreds of years
after Apastamba Katyayana adds little of importance to the Sulbasutra
which he wrote.
See the article Indian Sulbasutras for more
information on the Sulbasutras in general and the mathematical
results which they contain.
Article by: J J O'Connor and E F