### „It may be in some measure due to the defects of notation in his time that Diophantos will have in his solutions no numbers whatever except rational numbers, in [the non-numbers of] which, in addition to surds and imaginary quantities, he includes negative quantities.... Such equations then as lead to surd, imaginary, or negative roots he regards as useless for his purpose: the solution is in these cases ὰδοπος, impossible. So we find him describing the equation 4=4x+20 as ᾰτοπος because it would give x=-4. Diophantos makes it throughout his object to obtain solutions in rational numbers, and we find him frequently giving, as a preliminary, conditions which must be satisfied, which are the conditions of a result rational in Diophantos' sense. In the great majority of cases when Diophantos arrives in the course of a solution at an equation which would give an irrational result he retraces his steps and finds out how his equation has arisen, and how he may by altering the previous work substitute for it another which shall give a rational result. This gives rise, in general, to a subsidiary problem the solution of which ensures a rational result for the problem itself. Though, however, Diophantos has no notation for a surd, and does not admit surd results, it is scarcely true to say that he makes no use of quadratic equations which lead to such results. Thus, for example, in v. 33 he solves such an equation so far as to be able to see to what integers the solution would approximate most nearly.“

— Thomas Little Heath

Ch. IV, p.82