The problem of distinguishing prime numbers from composite numbers and of resolving the latter into their prime factors is known to be one of the most important and useful in arithmetic. It has engaged the industry and wisdom of ancient and modern **geometers** to such an extent that it would be superfluous to discuss the problem at length. ...Further, the dignity of the science itself seems to require that every possible means be explored for the solution of a problem so elegant and so celebrated. *Problema, numeros primos a compositis dignoscendi, hosque in factores suos primos resolvendi, ad gravissima ac utilissima totius arithmeticae pertinere, et geometrarum tum veterum tum recentiorum industriam ac sagacitatem occupavisse, tam notum est, ut de hac re copiose loqui superfluum foret. ... [P]raetereaque scientiae dignitas requirere videtur, ut omnia subsidia ad solutionem problematis tam elegantis ac celebris sedulo excolantur.*

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The classical theorists resemble Euclidean **geometers** in a non-Euclidean world who, discovering that in experience straight lines apparently parallel often meet, rebuke the lines for not keeping straight as the only remedy for the unfortunate collisions which are occurring. Yet, in truth, there is no remedy except to throw over the axiom of parallels and to work out a non-Euclidean geometry.

— Book 1, Chapter 2, Section 4, p. 16