## Indian ancient symbols are at the basis of today’s decimal numbering system. However, they were not transmitted directly from India to Europe but rather came first to the Arabic/Islamic peoples who refined them and then transmitted them to Europe and the Western world.

Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/

Arabic numerals comprise the following ten digits: 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9. The term often implies a decimal number written using these digits, which is the most common current system for representation of numbers, and is also called Hindu–Arabic numbers.

### Origins of the Arabic numbers

Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/

The decimal Hindu–Arabic numeral system with zero was developed in India by around AD 700. The development was gradual, spanning several centuries, but the decisive step was probably provided by Brahmagupta’s formulation of zero as a number in AD 628. Before Brahmagupta, zero was used in various forms but was regarded as a ‘blank spot’ in a positional number. It was only used by mathematicians  while the general populace used the traditional Brahmi numerals. After 700 AD, the decimal numbers with zero replaced the Brahmi numerals. The system was revolutionary by limiting the number of individual digits to ten. It is considered an important milestone in the development of mathematics.

### How Symbols Became Numbers

According to Al-Beruni, there were multiple forms of numerals in use in India, and “Arabs chose among them what appeared to them most useful”.  Al-Nasawi wrote in the early eleventh century that the mathematicians had not agreed on the form of numerals, but most of them had agreed to train themselves with the forms now known as Eastern Arabic numerals. The oldest specimens of the written numerals available from Egypt in 260 A.H. (873–874 CE) show three forms of the numeral “2” and two forms of the numeral “3”, and these variations indicate the divergence between what later became known as the Eastern Arabic numerals and the (Western) Arabic numerals.

Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arabic_numerals