According to wikipedia Euler came up with Venn-like diagrams well before Venn but Lull and Leibnitz came up with pictorial representations of set relations even before that. Was Lull the first who is known to have come up with set diagrams? It seems to me that the circles of "oikiosis" are an even earlier example.

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    $\begingroup$ In my opinion, the further back in time we try to look for origins of things like this, things that we have a certain current context for understanding (i.e. the idea of a set of objects in mathematics), the more the answers depend on what constitutes an acceptable answer. For example, would circles drawn in sand containing holes pushed in by sticks to show numbers of fighters in a battle strategy diagram be acceptable? Would a cave drawing of several animals grouped together alongside several hunters with spears grouped together be acceptable? $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 10, 2020 at 17:01
  • $\begingroup$ Something that presents the entities in the pictures using words and their relations represented being based on some abstract aspect of their meaning $\endgroup$
    – GEP
    Commented Jul 10, 2020 at 17:24
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    $\begingroup$ Lull did not draw "set diagrams", and neither did Leibniz or even Euler. The modern concept of a set did not form until late 19th century, and to them circles represented categories, not sets. They were used in the context of logic, syllogisms, and some speculate based on Aristotle's text that he might have drawn those already, see A Note on the Historical Development of Logic by Baron. Not that Wikipedia cares even as it quotes Hamilton describing them as used to "sensualize... the abstractions of Logic". $\endgroup$
    – Conifold
    Commented Jul 10, 2020 at 22:56
  • $\begingroup$ Aaaannnd, we drift into Philosophy. To wit: Does an ancient drawing count as showing "set relations" if the people using them had no formal definition of "sets" and "intersections," but the intent was there? $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 14, 2020 at 12:54


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