Dido’s Problem

  • October 2015

Escaping her brother, king Pygmalion of Tyre, Dido (also known as Elissa) set sail with her followers and arrived on the coast of Tunisia (around 825BC). She asked the Berber king Iarbas for a piece of land – only as much as could be encompassed by an oxhide. Her request was satisfied and Dido cut the oxhide into fine strips so that she had enough to encircle an entire nearby hill. This land became Carthage and Dido became the Queen.

In mathematics, the “isoperimetric problem” of enclosing the maximum area within a fixed boundary is often called the “Dido Problem”.

Here are selected pages from the first draft of the book.


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