A Mann of His Word--The Revised Paperback Edition of 1491

A while back I wrote about a book that I enjoyed entitled 1491, by Charles C. Mann. The subtitle provides an apt description: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus. As I wrote in my first post on the subject, my only issue with 1491 was a remark Mann made about mathematical development in Europe as compared to the Mayans:

It didn't appear in Europe until the twelfth century. Even then
European governments and the Vatican resisted zero--a something that stood for nothing--as foreign and un-Christian.

After doing some initial research, I voiced skepticism that the Catholic Church opposed the use of zero in any systemic way. Bede joined in and did some more advanced research and also voiced his skepticism. I then heard from Mr. Mann, himself, who appreciated our efforts and looked into the issue himself. He then informed Bede and me that he would correct the passage in the revised paperback edition. True to his word, the revised edition states:

It didn't appear in Europe until the twelfth century, when it came in
with the Arabic numerals we use today (fearing fraud, some European governments banned the new numbers).

In addition, Mr. Mann dropped some nice words about Bede and me in an Afterword thanking people who helped with revisions, corrections, and feedback:

A number of bloggers weighed in, for which my especial thanks to
James Hannam (Venerable Bede), Chris Price (Layman) and Laura Gjovaag (Tegan).

Page 385.

If you did not get a chance to purchase the hardback edition, take advantage of the less expense but improved paperback version. 1491 is an excellent book that keeps getting better.


James said…
This is very nice. It is great to see the blogosphere getting together and improving the level of human knowledge.

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