Mathematics and art are more similar than is commonly thought. Each is concerned with the process of being highly creative with abstract objects and of producing everlasting work of great aesthetic beauty.
The Malian city of Timbuktu is one of the world's oldest seats of learning and has an intellectual legacy of hundreds of thousands of manuscripts, coming from three great West African desert empires. These manuscripts offer a unique window into their history. This lecture will look at how their study can be used to advance our knowledge of the intellectual history of the premodern world.