What is Euclid’s Elements?

Euclid’s Elements is a series of 13 geometry and mathematics books written by the Greek mathematician Euclid in Alexandria about 300 B.C.E. It is a collection of definitions, postulates (axioms), theorems, and mathematical proofs of the propositions. The 13 books cover Euclidean geometry and the ancient Greek version of elementary number theory. Along with the Greek mathematician Autolycus’s On the Moving Sphere, the Elements is one of the oldest Greek mathematical treatises to have survived, and is the world’s oldest continuously used math textbook.

Historians do not know a lot about Euclid’s life, but his work has proven important to the development of logic and modern science. Most of the theorems in the Elements were not discovered by Euclid himself, but were the work of earlier Greek mathematicians such as Pythagoras, Hippocrates of Chios, Theaetetus of Athens, and Eudoxus of Cnidos. However, Euclid is credited with arranging these theorems in a logical manner.