The story of the number one is the story of Western civilization. Terry Jones goes on a humor-filled journey to recount the amazing tale behind the world’s simplest number. Using computer graphics, “One” is brought to life, in all his various guises. One’s story reveals how celebrated civilizations in history were achieved, where our modern numbers came from and how the invention of zero changed the world forever – and saved us from having to use Roman numerals today.
How old is One? A precise answer is impossible, but a notched bone (called the Ishango bone) found in the Congo proves that he’s been around for at least 20,000 years. His life really took off 6,000 years ago, when the Sumerians turned him into a cone-shaped token and then into the first-ever numeric character, invention that made arithmetic – and therefore city life – possible, providing the means to assess wealth, calculate profits and loss, and, perhaps most important, collect taxes.