# Book 7 Proposition 31

Ἅπας σύνθετος ἀριθμὸς ὑπὸ πρώτου τινὸς ἀριθμοῦ μετρεῖται. Ἔστω σύνθετος ἀριθμὸς ὁ Α: λέγω, ὅτι ὁ Α ὑπὸ πρώτου τινὸς ἀριθμοῦ μετρεῖται. ̓επεὶ γὰρ σύνθετός ἐστιν ὁ Α, μετρήσει τις αὐτὸν ἀριθμός. μετρείτω, καὶ ἔστω ὁ Β. καὶ εἰ μὲν πρῶτός ἐστιν ὁ Β, γεγονὸς ἂν εἴη τὸ ἐπιταχθέν. εἰ δὲ σύνθετος, μετρήσει τις αὐτὸν ἀριθμός. μετρείτω, καὶ ἔστω ὁ Γ. καὶ ἐπεὶ ὁ Γ τὸν Β μετρεῖ, ὁ δὲ Β τὸν Α μετρεῖ, καὶ ὁ Γ ἄρα τὸν Α μετρεῖ. καὶ εἰ μὲν πρῶτός ἐστιν ὁ Γ, γεγονὸς ἂν εἴη τὸ ἐπιταχθέν. εἰ δὲ σύνθετος, μετρήσει τις αὐτὸν ἀριθμός. τοιαύτης δὴ γινομένης ἐπισκέψεως ληφθήσεταί τις πρῶτος ἀριθμός, ὃς μετρήσει. εἰ γὰρ οὐ ληφθήσεται, μετρήσουσι τὸν Α ἀριθμὸν ἄπειροι ἀριθμοί, ὧν ἕτερος ἑτέρου ἐλάσσων ἐστίν: ὅπερ ἐστὶν ἀδύνατον ἐν ἀριθμοῖς. ληφθήσεταί τις ἄρα πρῶτος ἀριθμός, ὃς μετρήσει τὸν πρὸ ἑαυτοῦ, ὃς καὶ τὸν Α μετρήσει. Ἅπας ἄρα σύνθετος ἀριθμὸς ὑπὸ πρώτου τινὸς ἀριθμοῦ μετρεῖται: ὅπερ ἔδει δεῖξαι.

Any composite number is measured by some prime number. Let A be a composite number; I say that A is measured by some prime number. For, since A is composite, some number will measure it. Let a number measure it, and let it be B. Now, if B is prime, what was enjoined will have been done. But if it is composite, some number will measure it. Let a number measure it, and let it be C. Then, since C measures B, and B measures A, therefore C also measures A. And, if C is prime, what was enjoined will have been done. But if it is composite, some number will measure it. Thus, if the investigation be continued in this way, some prime number will be found which will measure the number before it, which will also measure A. For, if it is not found, an infinite series of numbers will measure the number A, each of which is less than the other: which is impossible in numbers. Therefore some prime number will be found which will measure the one before it, which will also measure A.