If, when the less of two unequal magnitudes is continually subtracted in turn from the greater, that which is left never measures the one before it, the magnitudes will be incommensurable.

Ἐὰν δύο μεγεθῶν [ ἐκκειμένων ] ἀνίσων ἀνθυφαιρουμένου ἀεὶ τοῦ ἐλάσσονος ἀπὸ τοῦ μείζονος τὸ καταλειπόμενον μηδέποτε καταμετρῇ τὸ πρὸ ἑαυτοῦ, ἀσύμμετρα ἔσται τὰ μεγέθη. Δύο γὰρ μεγεθῶν ὄντων ἀνίσων τῶν ΑΒ, ΓΔ καὶ ἐλάσσονος τοῦ ΑΒ ἀνθυφαιρουμένου ἀεὶ τοῦ ἐλάσσονος ἀπὸ τοῦ μείζονος τὸ περιλειπόμενον μηδέποτε καταμετρείτω τὸ πρὸ ἑαυτοῦ: λέγω, ὅτι ἀσύμμετρά ἐστι τὰ ΑΒ, ΓΔ μεγέθη. Εἰ γάρ ἐστι σύμμετρα, μετρήσει τι αὐτὰ μέγεθος. μετρείτω, εἰ δυνατόν, καὶ ἔστω τὸ Ε: καὶ τὸ μὲν ΑΒ τὸ ΖΔ καταμετροῦν λειπέτω ἑαυτοῦ ἔλασσον τὸ ΓΖ, τὸ δὲ ΓΖ τὸ ΒΗ καταμετροῦν λειπέτω ἑαυτοῦ ἔλασσον τὸ ΑΗ, καὶ τοῦτο ἀεὶ γινέσθω, ἕως οὗ λειφθῇ τι μέγεθος, ὅ ἐστιν ἔλασσον τοῦ Ε. γεγονέτω, καὶ λελείφθω τὸ ΑΗ ἔλασσον τοῦ Ε. ἐπεὶ οὖν τὸ Ε τὸ ΑΒ μετρεῖ, ἀλλὰ τὸ ΑΒ τὸ ΔΖ μετρεῖ, καὶ τὸ Ε ἄρα τὸ ΖΔ μετρήσει. μετρεῖ δὲ καὶ ὅλον τὸ ΓΔ: καὶ λοιπὸν ἄρα τὸ ΓΖ μετρήσει. ἀλλὰ τὸ ΓΖ τὸ ΒΗ μετρεῖ: καὶ τὸ Ε ἄρα τὸ ΒΗ μετρεῖ. μετρεῖ δὲ καὶ ὅλον τὸ ΑΒ: καὶ λοιπὸν ἄρα τὸ ΑΗ μετρήσει, τὸ μεῖζον τὸ ἔλασσον. ὅπερ ἐστὶν ἀδύνατον. οὐκ ἄρα τὰ ΑΒ, ΓΔ μεγέθη μετρήσει τι μέγεθος: ἀσύμμετρα ἄρα ἐστὶ τὰ ΑΒ, ΓΔ μεγέθη. Ἐὰν ἄρα δύο μεγεθῶν ἀνίσων, καὶ τὰ ἑξῆς. | If, when the less of two unequal magnitudes is continually subtracted in turn from the greater, that which is left never measures the one before it, the magnitudes will be incommensurable. For, there being two unequal magnitudes AB, CD, and AB being the less, when the less is continually subtracted in turn from the greater, let that which is left over never measure the one before it; I say that the magnitudes AB, CD are incommensurable. For, if they are commensurable, some magnitude will measure them. Let a magnitude measure them, if possible, and let it be E; let AB, measuring FD, leave CF less than itself, let CF measuring BG, leave AG less than itself, and let this process be repeated continually, until there is left some magnitude which is less than E. Suppose this done, and let there be left AG less than E. Then, since E measures AB, while AB measures DF, therefore E will also measure FD. But it measures the whole CD also; therefore it will also measure the remainder CF. But CF measures BG; therefore E also measures BG. But it measures the whole AB also; therefore it will also measure the remainder AG, the greater the less: which is impossible. Therefore no magnitude will measure the magnitudes AB, CD; therefore the magnitudes AB, CD are incommensurable. |