# I've read that the ancients counted using the 12 knuckles of their hands. Does that exclude the thu

I’ve read that the ancients counted using the 12 knuckles of their hands. Does that exclude the thumb knuckles. Including the thumb knuckles there are 14 knuckles I believe.

I look forward to your feedback.
davidmich

The idea is that there is a traditional counting systemthat allows you to count to 12 using only one hand. The method was to place the thumb at the base of the index finger for one, and then move up to the first knuckle for two, and the second knuckle for three. Repeat for the other three fingers, and you get 12. The Wiki article says that this method is still in use in many regions of Asia.

davidmich

Still done today in some yoga schools, rather than using prayer beads you can use finger counting in multiples of twelve.

“The Ancients”? Everybody in India does it.

Or you use the thumb against the phalanges. Reach a dozen and put up one finger on the other hand for dozen-one, dozen-two … til another dozen and then two fingers other hand and two-dozen-one, etc. Get all five fingers of the other hand filled up? 60. On your fingers. Or go with the same knuckle/phalange bit on the hand and you can count up to a gross. Funny how this ends up in the common bases used historically, aint it?

Are you guys calling them knuckles on the palm side? Because, otherwise, I can’t see how this is possible.

I was confused too. Look at your palm and count the parts of each finger separated by a crease (a phalanx in each - 12 phalanges total).

5 fingers x 12 phalanges = 60
12 phalanges x 12 phalanges = 144

Is it really the base of the index finger?

Seems hard to do for me on the first two fingers - while using in the first two knuckles and the tip of the finger does not seem as hard.

eta: must have missed what jasg wrote - yeah that seems to be comfortable enough.

There are " fourteen phalanges on each hand and foot." according to wikipedia.

There are 56 phalanges in the human body, with fourteen phalanges on each hand and foot. Three phalanges are present on each finger and toe, with the exception of the thumb and large toe, which possess only two. The phalanges of the hand (Latin: Ossa digitorum manus, phalanges digitorum manus ) are commonly known as the finger bones.[citation needed] The phalanges of the foot (Latin: ossa digitorum pedis, phalanges digitorum pedis) differ from the hand in that they are often shorter and more compressed, especially in the proximal phalanges, those closest to the body.
The phalanges are named according to whether they are proximal or distal, and according to the finger or toe they are in. The proximal phalanges are those that are closest to the hand or foot. In the hand, the prominent, knobby ends of the proximal phalanx is often called the knuckle.[citation needed] The proximal phalanges join with the metacarpals of the hand or metatarsals of the foot at the metacarpophalangeal joint or metatarsophalangeal joint. The intermediate phalanx is not only intermediate in location, but usually also in size. The thumb and large toe do not possess a middle phalanx. The distal phalanges are the bones at the tips of the fingers or toes. The proximal, intermediate, and distal phalanges articulate with one another through interphalangeal articulations.[1] :708–711 :708–711

Uh huh. The two of the thumb are doing the counting. The 12 are on the 4 digits being counted.

Yeah, using the phalanges would work a lot better. But you guys said knuckles, and I think of the knuckles as being on the back side of the hand. And I at least can’t manipulate my thumb in such a way as to touch all of them.