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However, the exponential growth of mathematics means that, for the period from the 19th century on, historians are able to treat only the major figures in any detail.
In addition, there is, as the period gets nearer the present, the problem of perspective.
Owing to the durability of the Mesopotamian scribes’ clay tablets, the surviving evidence of this culture is substantial.
India’s contributions to the development of contemporary mathematics were made through the considerable influence of Indian achievements on Islamic mathematics during its formative years.
A separate article, South Asian mathematics, focuses on the early history of mathematics in the Indian subcontinent and the development there of the modern decimal place-value numeral system.
This growth has been greatest in societies complex enough to sustain these activities and to provide leisure for contemplation and the opportunity to build on the achievements of earlier mathematicians.
All mathematical systems (for example, Euclidean geometry) are combinations of sets of axioms and of theorems that can be logically deduced from the axioms.
In addition, the amount of surviving material from later centuries is so large in comparison with that which has been studied that it is not yet possible to offer any sure judgment of what later Islamic mathematics did not contain, and therefore it is not yet possible to evaluate with any assurance what was original in European mathematics from the 11th to the 15th century.