A great part of the progress of formal thought... has been due to the invention of what we may call stenophrenic, or short-mind, symbols. These... disengage the mind from the consideration of ponderous and circuitous mechanical operations and economise its energies for the performance of new and unaccomplished tasks of thought. And the advancement of those sciences has been most notable which have made the most extensive use of these... Here mathematics and chemistry stand pre-eminent. The ancient Greeks... even admitting that their powers were more visualistic than analytic, were yet so impeded by their lack of short-mind symbols as to have made scarcely any progress whatever in analysis. Their arithmetic was a species of geometry. They did not possess the sign for zero, and also did not make use of position as an indicator of value. ...The historical calculations of Archimedes, his approximation to the value of π, etc., owing to this lack of appropriate... symbols, entailed enormous and incredible labors, which, if they had been avoided, would... have led to [even] great[er] discoveries.
Thomas J. McCormack, "Joseph Louis Lagrange. Biographical Sketch" (1898) in his translation of Joseph Louis Lagrange, Lectures on Elementary Mathematics (1898); 2nd edition (1901) p. vii.