Monty Python’s Terry Jones has hosted some interesting and entertaining shows about history in recent years. He’s explored ancient inventions, the history of Rome and even the history of sex. He always tries to make history fun. And since he’s such a great comedian, he certainly makes what could be a boring topic, where the number 1 came from, very enjoyable.
We definitely take the number 1 for granted. And I’m sure most of us have never even thought about where it originated and how it came to be the most important number.
Jones travels all around the world — Egypt, Greece, Rome, India, Africa — tracing the birth of numbers, counting, mathematics and measurement.
Here are a few things I learned from watching the show:
*There is an aboriginal tribe in Australia called the Walpri that don’t have any words for numbers in their language. I wonder if that makes life easier for them or harder. How many members of the tribe exist today? We’ll never know.
*Pythagoras believed that when you farted you lost part of your soul. He must have been either soulless or very bloated. Maybe he didn’t eat much fiber.
*Gottfried Leibniz came up with the idea of the binary system way back in the 17th century. He even had the idea for the computer way back then. He was the first guy to say that the only numbers we really need are 1 and 0. Sorry 2-9.
With the help of some silly 3-D animated numbers, Terry Jones takes us back in time to see how lines scratched into a bone and marks on a clay tablet evolved into the numbers we know today.
Total Seasons: 1 episode
Seasons Available on US Formatted DVD: 1
In Production: 2005
Viewer Discretion: Suitable for the entire family