A medieval competition

This woodcut from the Margarita Philosophica of Gregorius Reisch, published in Freiburg1503, shows "Arithmetica" watching a competition between an "abacist" and an "algorist". Judging from the clothes of the two competitors, the abacist is a monk and the algorist a worldly scholar.

Arithmetica appears to favour the algorist; her own clothes are covered in Indian numerals, and she looks approvingly at the algorist's progress.

Museum of the History of Science, Oxford