Encyclopedia of Ancient Natural Scientists

Encyclopedia of Ancient Natural Scientists

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The Greek Tradition and Its Many Heirs

Edited by Paul T. Keyser and Georgia L. Irby-Massie

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Book Details
 1073 p
 File Size 
 12,885 KB
 File Type
 PDF format

 978–0–415–34020–5 (hbk)
 978–0–203–46273–7 (ebk)
 2008 Paul T. Keyser and Georgia L.
 Irby-Massie for selection and editorial matter;
 individual chapters, their contributors

The Encyclopedia of Ancient Natural Scientists is the first comprehensive English-language work
to provide a survey of ancient natural science, from its beginnings through to the end of
late antiquity. A team of over 100 of the world’s experts in the field have compiled this
Encyclopedia, including entries which are not mentioned in any other reference work –
resulting in a unique and hugely ambitious resource which will prove indispensable for
anyone seeking the details of the history of ancient science.
Additional features include a Glossary, Gazetteer, and Time-Line. The Glossary explains many
Greek (or Latin) terms difficult to translate, whilst the Gazetteer describes the many locales
from which scientists came. The Time-Line shows the rapid rise in the practice of science in
the 5th century  and rapid decline after Hadrian, due to the centralization of Roman
power, with consequent loss of a context within which science could flourish.
Paul T. Keyser’s publications include work on gravitational physics, computer science,
stylometry, Greek tragedy, and ancient science. Formerly a teacher of Classics, he is currently
crafting Java for IBM’s Watson Research Center.
Georgia L. Irby-Massie is Assistant Professor at the College of William and Mary. Her
research investigates reflections of science in literature and society, and includes publications
on astrology, geography, natural philosophy in tragedy, and women scientists.

This work provides a synoptic survey of all “ancient,” i.e., Greek and Greek-based, natural
science, broadly defined, from its beginnings through the end of late antiquity, for the
benefit of anyone interested in the history of science. Greek science is a central field for the
understanding of antiquity – more of Greek science survives than does any other category
of ancient Greek literature, and yet much of that is obscure even to classicists.
It is proper to describe the work of the people included herein as “science,” with no more
risk of anachronism than in using any modern term to refer to a corresponding ancient
practice, because the ancient models of nature, whether correct or not, were indeed
attempts at models. That is, they were created and debated as abstracted descriptions of
phenomena, intended to give a naturalistic and self-consistent causal account, of a world
viewed as regular or constant in its behavior. Their methods and aims were scientific, even
when their theoretical entities or intellectual achievements are ones we now perceive as
inadequate. Histories of science must be comprehensive, including all abandoned paths,
since roads not taken seem evitable only in hindsight.

Table of Contents
List of Illustrations ix
Introduction 1
Note to Users 27
A 29
B 185
C (also see K) 201
D 222
E 280
F 327
G 334
H 354
I (and J) 429
K 460
L 500
M 517
N 567
O 586
P 602
Q 716
R 718
S 722
T 772
U 821
V 822
W 834
X 835
Y 842
Z 843
Gazetteer 855
Glossary 911
Time-Line 937
Topics 991
Indices 1021
(by ethnicity, women scientists,
monotheists, poets, rulers,
emendations, new in EANS,
ancient people not in EANS )
Index of Plants 1039


“. . . the person who is used to inquiry tries every possible pathway as he
conducts his search and turns in every direction, and, so far from giving up
the inquiry in the space of a day, does not cease his search throughout his
life: directing his attention to one thing after another that is relevant to
what is being investigated, he presses on until he attains his goal.”
Erasistratos of Ioulis, Paralysis book 2

(in Gale¯n, Habits §1, CMG S.3 [1941] 12; trans. by G.E.R. Lloyd, 
Greek Science After Aristotle [1973] 86, altered)