Ancient Greece was the birthplace of science, which developed in the Hellenized culture of ancient Rome. This volume locates science within ancient Greek society and culture, investigates its impact upon that society, and identifies it as a cultural phenomenon deserving no less attention than literary or artistic creativity. Chapters by seventeen international experts examine the role and achievement of science and mathematics in Greek antiquity through discussion of the linguistic, literary, political, religious, sociological, and technological factors which influenced scientific thought and practice. Greek science was both motivated and constrained by wholly 'unscientific' cultural interests, and by ideas and biases arising from the language and the paradigms of the day. For example, it is here argued that the prediction of eclipses was not a concern of ancient astronomers until after 'non-scientific' authors such as the historian Livy, elaborating on a good story with a moral, suggested that it should be. Familiar classical authors, such as Homer, Polybius, Cicero, and Pliny are here seen in a new light. Less-studied classical authors, such as Euclid, Hero, Galen, and Ptolemy, are also considered, and attention is drawn to areas where there is potential for new research and where editions and translations are still needed.
Foreword ; 1. Introduction: Greek Science in context ; 2. Words for sounds ; 3. Ptolemy's maps as an introduction to ancient science ; 4. Seismology and vulcanology in antiquity ; 5. The art of the commander and the emergence of predictive astronomy ; 6. Euctemon's parapegma ; 7. Instruments of Alexandrian astronomy: the uses of the equinoctial rings ; 8. The Dioptra of Heron of Alexandria ; 9. The machine and the city: hero of Alexandria's Belopoecia ; 10. Ancient atomism: promise and failure ; 11. Greek mathematicians: a group picture ; 12. Aristotle and mathematics ; 13. Euclid's Elements 9.14 and the Fundamental Theorem of Arithmetic ; 14. Ancient medicine: Asclepius transformed ; 15. Galen on the seat of the intellect: anatomical experiment and philosophical tradition ; 16. Practice makes perfect: processing materials in classical Athens ; 17. Distilling, sublimation, and the four elements: the aims and achievements of the earliest Greek chemists