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Number theory: Book 9 Proposition 16


Ἐὰν δύο ἀριθμοὶ πρῶτοι πρὸς ἀλλήλους ὦσιν, οὐκ ἔσται ὡς ὁ πρῶτος πρὸς τὸν δεύτερον, οὕτως ὁ δεύτερος πρὸς ἄλλον τινά. Δύο γὰρ ἀριθμοὶ οἱ Α, Β πρῶτοι πρὸς ἀλλήλους ἔστωσαν: λέγω, ὅτι οὐκ ἔστιν ὡς ὁ Α πρὸς τὸν Β, οὕτως ὁ Β πρὸς ἄλλον τινά. Εἰ γὰρ δυνατόν, ἔστω ὡς ὁ Α πρὸς τὸν Β, ὁ Β πρὸς τὸν Γ. οἱ δὲ Α, Β πρῶτοι, οἱ δὲ πρῶτοι καὶ ἐλάχιστοι, οἱ δὲ ἐλάχιστοι ἀριθμοὶ μετροῦσι τοὺς τὸν αὐτὸν λόγον ἔχοντας ἰσάκις ὅ τε ἡγούμενος τὸν ἡγούμενον καὶ ὁ ἑπόμενος τὸν ἑπόμενον: μετρεῖ ἄρα ὁ Α τὸν Β ὡς ἡγούμενος ἡγούμενον. μετρεῖ δὲ καὶ ἑαυτόν: ὁ Α ἄρα τοὺς Α, Β μετρεῖ πρώτους ὄντας πρὸς ἀλλήλους: ὅπερ ἄτοπον. οὐκ ἄρα ἔσται ὡς ὁ Α πρὸς τὸν Β, οὕτως ὁ Β πρὸς τὸν Γ: ὅπερ ἔδει δεῖξαι.

If two numbers be prime to one another, the second will not be to any other number as the first is to the second. For let the two numbers A, B be prime to one another; I say that B is not to any other number as A is to B. For, if possible, as A is to B, so let B be to C. Now A, B are prime, primes are also least, [VII. 21] and the least numbers measure those which have the same ratio the same number of times, the antecedent the antecedent and the consequent the consequent; [VII. 20] therefore A measures B as antecedent antecedent. But it also measures itself; therefore A measures A, B which are prime to one another: which is absurd.