Book X, Proposition 39

If two straight lines incommensurable in square which make the sum of the squares on them rational, but the rectangle contained by them medial, be added together, the whole straight line is irrational : and let it be called major.

 Ἐὰν δύο εὐθεῖαι δυνάμει ἀσύμμετροι συντεθῶσι ποιοῦσαι τὸ μὲν συγκείμενον ἐκ τῶν ἀπ' αὐτῶν τετραγώνων ῥητόν, τὸ δ' ὑπ' αὐτῶν μέσον, ἡ ὅλη εὐθεῖα ἄλογός ἐστιν, καλείσθω δὲ μείζων. Συγκείσθωσαν γὰρ δύο εὐθεῖαι δυνάμει ἀσύμμετροι αἱ ΑΒ, ΒΓ ποιοῦσαι τὰ προκείμενα: λέγω, ὅτι ἄλογός ἐστιν ἡ ΑΓ. Ἐπεὶ γὰρ τὸ ὑπὸ τῶν ΑΒ, ΒΓ μέσον ἐστίν, καὶ τὸ δὶς [ ἄρα ] ὑπὸ τῶν ΑΒ, ΒΓ μέσον ἐστίν. τὸ δὲ συγκείμενον ἐκ τῶν ἀπὸ τῶν ΑΒ, ΒΓ ῥητόν: ἀσύμμετρον ἄρα ἐστὶ τὸ δὶς ὑπὸ τῶν ΑΒ, ΒΓ τῷ συγκειμένῳ ἐκ τῶν ἀπὸ τῶν ΑΒ, ΒΓ: ὥστε καὶ τὰ ἀπὸ τῶν ΑΒ, ΒΓ μετὰ τοῦ δὶς ὑπὸ τῶν ΑΒ, ΒΓ, ὅπερ ἐστὶ τὸ ἀπὸ τῆς ΑΓ, ἀσύμμετρόν ἐστι τῷ συγκειμένῳ ἐκ τῶν ἀπὸ τῶν ΑΒ, ΒΓ [ ῥητὸν δὲ τὸ συγκείμενον ἐκ τῶν ἀπὸ τῶν ΑΒ, ΒΓ ]: ἄλογον ἄρα ἐστὶ τὸ ἀπὸ τῆς ΑΓ. ὥστε καὶ ἡ ΑΓ ἄλογός ἐστιν, καλείσθω δὲ μείζων. ὅπερ ἔδει δεῖξαι. If two straight lines incommensurable in square which make the sum of the squares on them rational, but the rectangle contained by them medial, be added together, the whole straight line is irrational : and let it be called major. For let two straight lines AB, BC incommensurable in square, and fulfilling the given conditions [X. 33 ], be added together; I say that AC is irrational. For, since the rectangle AB, BC is medial, twice the rectangle AB, BC is also medial. [X. 6 and 23, Por.] But the sum of the squares on AB, BC is rational; therefore twice the rectangle AB, BC is incommensurable with the sum of the squares on AB, BC, so that the squares on AB, BC together with twice the rectangle AB, BC that is, the square on AC, is also incommensurable with the sum of the squares on AB, BC; [X. 16 ] therefore the square on AC is irrational, so that AC is also irrational. [X. Def. 4 ]