What is the Origin of ‘Zero?’

기사승인 2022.08.25  01:53:54


- The last invention of the Arabic number from India

The numeral system is something that cannot be removed from our lives. A Hindu-Arabic letter which we usually use was invented in ancient India. Since Arabic numbers originally include from 1 to 9, however, ancient people made space between numbers when they wanted to state zero. For example, when they state the number 502, they write it as 5 2. However, this expression frequently causes confusion. (박진아, 2018)

If you look at the Babylonian script of the ancient Mayan civilization, there's a symbol corresponding to zero. Some scholars saw it and claimed that zero was invented around AD350 when the dial was carved. In the book "The Crest of the Peacock; Non-European Roots of Mathematics" by Dr. George Gheberghesse Joseph, he claims that the concept of zero first appeared in India in 458 AD. He states the Sanskrit word se-nya for zero. It means void, empty, or deficient. Dr. Joseph also asserts, "Zero and its operation were first defined in 628 by the Hindu astronomer and mathematician Brahmagupta." He developed a symbol that represents zero, the point below the number. But it can't be said to be the invention of zero either. (, 2017)

According to Oxford University, inscriptions on temple walls in Gwalior, India, were presumed that it was carved in the 9th century and are considered the oldest records of 'zero.' Scholars thought that zero was invented in the 9th century, but recent carbon dating revealed that it was probably written in the 3rd or 4th century, which moved the time of zero invention to 500 years ago. (, 2017)

Marcus du Sautoy, a professor of mathematics at the University of Oxford, evaluated, "Today we take it for granted that the concept of zero is used across the globe and is a key building block of the digital world. But the creation of zero as a number in its own right, which evolved from the placeholder dot symbol found in the Bakhshali manuscript, was one of the greatest breakthroughs in the history of mathematics." (Szalay, 2017)


References: (2017, September 15). The first zero.


20for,at%20the%20University%20of%20Oxford. Accessed 19 August 2022 

Szalay, J. (2017, September 18). Who invented zero? LiveScience. Purch. Accessed 19 August 2022 

박 진아. (2018, February 4). [카드뉴스] 숫자 0은 언제 발명 되었을까? 시선뉴스.



0%EC%A1%8C%EB%8B%A4%EA%B3%A0%20%ED%95%A9%EB%8B%88%EB%8B%A4. Accessed 19

August 2022 




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