## ABSTRACT

The awareness of the importance of puzzles to impart mathematical knowledge and to stimulate the kind of imaginative-reflective thinking that this involved in solving math problems generally was evident in Alcuin’s Propositiones ad acuendos juvenes. Recreational mathematics was also an area exploited by both Henry Dudeney and Sam Loyd to produce truly challenging puzzles. Starting with Bachet, specific puzzles have been used by mathematicians to exemplify or experiment with mathematical ideas. The ingenious puzzles of Ahmes, Alcuin, Fibonacci, Tartaglia, Euler, Lucas, Carroll, and others were instrumental in stimulating new ideas in mathematics. The lack of distinction between numerology, or the mythical connotations of numbers, and numeration, or the use of numbers to describe the world quantitatively is noticeable in a truly remarkable ancient artifact that may constitute the world’s first true mathematical puzzle—the magic square, called originally Lo-Shu in Chinese.