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Zero and the positional decimal notation

It is [in India] that the ingenious manner of expressing all numbers in ten characters originated, by assigning to them at once an absolute and a local [positional] value. a subtle and important conception, of which the simplicity is such that we can [only] with difficulty, appreciate its merit. But this very simplicity and the great facility with which we are enabled to perform our arithmetical computations place it in the very first rank of useful inventions; the difficulty of inventing it will be better appreciated if we consider that it escaped the genius of Archimedes and Apollonius, two of the greatest men of antiquity.