### „Let us imagine that from any given point the system of shortest lines going out from it is constructed; the position of an arbitrary point may then be determined by the initial direction of the geodesic in which it lies, and by its distance measured along that line from the origin. It can therefore be expressed in terms of the ratios dx0 of the quantities dx in this geodesic, and of the length s of this line. …the square of the line-element is \sum (dx)^2 for infinitesimal values of the x, but the term of next order in it is equal to a homogeneous function of the second order… an infinitesimal, therefore, of the fourth order; so that we obtain a finite quantity on dividing this by the square of the infinitesimal triangle, whose vertices are (0,0,0,…), (x1, x2, x3,…), (dx1, dx2, dx3,…). This quantity retains the same value so long as… the two geodesics from 0 to x and from 0 to dx remain in the same surface-element; it depends therefore only on place and direction. It is obviously zero when the manifold represented is flat, i. e., when the squared line-element is reducible to \sum (dx)^2, and may therefore be regarded as the measure of the deviation of the manifoldness from flatness at the given point in the given surface-direction. Multiplied by -¾ it becomes equal to the quantity which Privy Councillor Gauss has called the total curvature of a surface. …The measure-relations of a manifoldness in which the line-element is the square root of a quadric differential may be expressed in a manner wholly independent of the choice of independent variables. A method entirely similar may for this purpose be applied also to the manifoldness in which the line-element has a less simple expression, e. g., the fourth root of a quartic differential. In this case the line-element, generally speaking, is no longer reducible to the form of the square root of a sum of squares, and therefore the deviation from flatness in the squared line-element is an infinitesimal of the second order, while in those manifoldnesses it was of the fourth order. This property of the last-named continua may thus be called flatness of the smallest parts. The most important property of these continua for our present purpose, for whose sake alone they are here investigated, is that the relations of the twofold ones may be geometrically represented by surfaces, and of the morefold ones may be reduced to those of the surfaces included in them…“

— Bernhard Riemann German mathematician 1826 - 1866

On the Hypotheses which lie at the Bases of Geometry (1873)