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Article

William David Ross and V. Nutton

Quintus Serenus (or Quinctius Serenius), author of a medical textbook in verse, Liber medicinalis, which may be dated between the end of the 2nd and 4th cents. It depends in the main on *Cornelius Celsus, the Medicina Plinii, and *Pliny (1)'s Natural History. The author may have been the poet Serenus Sammonicus (son of the other *Serenus Sammonicus), who was a friend of *Gordian I (b.

Article

Shelley Wachsmann

During the Bronze Age, ships and seafaring capabilities transformed the Mediterranean and Red Seas from insurmountable barriers to highways over which cultures communicated for a variety of reasons. Watercraft were essential to the development of maritime cultures in the Bronze Age. Our knowledge of these vessels derives primarily from contemporaneous iconography, but also from remains of the actual vessels and from texts. Each culture developed ships and boats that best suited their individual needs based on the availability of materials and local traditions.Ships and boats played a pivotal role in the Bronze Age Mediterranean, both on inland waterways and at sea. Virtually everything made or used by humans travelled in some way by watercraft, which allowed cultures to interact over vast distances through exploration, trade, warfare, piracy, and migration. Acquiring copper and tin was of primary importance, and in the late 2nd millennium bce the shape of some ingots, termed “oxhide ingots,” was particularly suited for ship transportation. Militarily, ships could be used as mobile fighting platforms during battles, but more commonly they served for coastal raiding and as naval transports for men and supplies. It is impossible to understand the Mediterranean Bronze Age world without taking into consideration the influence of .

Article

Deborah N. Carlson

The Lake Nemi ships were two enormous, palatial houseboats built by the Roman emperor Caligula (r. 37–41ce). Lake Nemi is a small volcanic crater lake just 1.8 km (1.1 miles) wide and 35 m (115 feet) deep, situated in the Alban Hills 30 km (18 miles) southeast of Rome. Attempts to recover the Nemi ships drew the attention of key historical figures across five centuries, until in 1928–1929 Benito Mussolini ordered the water pumped from the lake to expose the two wooden hulls, which were in a superb state of preservation following immersion in fresh water for almost two millennia. At a length of more than 70 m (230 feet), the Nemi ships remain the largest ancient ships discovered to date. The ships’ complete destruction by fire at the close of World War II constitutes one of the great tragedies of nautical archaeology.

Article

John F. Lazenby

The Greek national epics focused on the siege of a city, but it took ten years to capture *Troy, even if, in the end, the ‘wooden horse’ was some kind of sophisticated siege device. The inability to take walled towns other than by treachery or blockade persisted into the historical period, despite a growing awareness of such techniques as the Persian siege-mound (cf. Hdt. 1. 162. 2) and undermining (Hdt. 5. 115. 2). *Pericles (1) is said to have been the first to use ‘siege-engines’ (mēchanai) at *Samos in 440/39 bce—they included ‘rams’ and ‘tortoises’ (i.e. sheds to protect undermining parties: Diod. Sic. 12. 28. 2–3). But despite the Athenian reputation for siegecraft (cf. Thuc. 1. 102. 2), they took three years to capture *Potidaea (432–429), and mainly relied on blockade, though in 430 they made some use of ‘siege-engines’, perhaps towers (Thuc. 2. 58. 1). Similarly, though the Spartans and their allies used a mound, battering-rams and even fire against *Plataea (Thuc.

Article

Jonathan Coulston

Early Roman besiegers employed blockade (obsidio) with methodical circumvallation, exploited surprise, and sometimes, especially after weakening the besiegers by obsidio, clinched matters by assault (oppugnatio), using ladders (scalae) and possibly ramps (aggeres) and rams (arietes). *Veii, blockaded 405–396 bce, apparently fell to assault by mine (cuniculus).From the 3rd cent. bce, the Romans assimilated and improved the machinery and techniques of Hellenistic siegecraft, and continued to use elaborate fieldworks. Accounts of the sieges of *Syracuse by M. *Claudius Marcellus (1), of *Piraeus by *Sulla, and those of the Gallic, Jewish, Sasanid, and Gothic wars are instructive, as are the surviving technical treatises. Equipment included bolt-shooting and stone-throwing *artillery, mobile towers, mechanical ladders, movable siege-sheds and rams, protective galleries, mobile screens, wall-borers, and hooks and crowbars for dislodging masonry (cf. *Vitruvius, *Vegetius).

Article

silver  

Frederick Norman Pryce, John Boardman, and Michael Vickers

While *gold could be easily obtained from alluvial deposits by washing, silver had to be extracted by regular mining processes. The *Phoenicians are said to have been the first to bring silver into general use; several of the silver objects mentioned in *Homer have Sidonian associations (see sidon). The main sources for classical Greece were Mt. *Pangaeus in *Thrace, *Lydia, *Colchis, *Bactria, Siphnos, and *Laurium which provided abundant supplies for *Athens. In the western Mediterranean *Spain was the most prolific source of supply, with *Sardinia, Gaul, and Britain as minor sources. The conquests of Spain and Asia made silver plentiful at Rome, where it had previously been rare.Silver was worked with a hammer into plates which were soldered or riveted together and then decorated with repoussé work (ἐμπαιστική), stamping, chasing, or engraving. Vases might be hammered or cast from a mould and were often adorned with reliefs (emblemata) let into the body of the vessel or crustae soldered upon the surface.

Article

Under *Trajan and *Hadrian (ce 98–138), studied at *Alexandria (1) and practised at Rome.

He wrote around twenty books, their subjects including a wide range of medical topics (e.g. On Hygiene, On Acute and Chronic Diseases), medical biography, commentaries and discussions of grammar and etymology. Those surviving in Greek are sections and fragments of On Signs of Fractures and On Bandages—these may both belong to the same lost work, On the Art of Surgery—and Gynaecology. The latter gives valuable information on *gynaecology and obstetrics in the Roman empire, and is divided into

(1) the midwife, female anatomy and conception;

(2)*childbirth and the care of the newborn;

(3)*pathology and diet;

(4)*surgery and drugs (see pharmacology ).

Soranus shared the theoretical standpoint of the Methodists (see medicine , § 5.3), but his version of Methodism was less schematic in its classification of diseases, giving more space for individual variation between patients.

Article

Astronomer who advised Caesar in his reform of the Roman calendar (47 bce), and possibly composed the astronomical calendar associated with it. See calendar, roman.

Article

Sosigenes (2), *Peripatetic philosopher, teacher of *Alexander (14) of Aphrodisias, is dated to 164 ce by his observation of an annular eclipse. He wrote, besides works on *logic and *optics, on astronomy, criticizing the theory of homocentric spheres (see astronomy) and constructing an enormous period for the return of the heavenly bodies, called τέλειος ἐνιαυτός (Perfect Year).

Article

Sostratus, leading surgeon and zoologist, probably practised in *Alexandria (1) after 30 bce. His medical works dealt chiefly with *gynaecology. In zoology (see animals, knowledge about) he perhaps ranks next after *Aristotle among the Greeks.Περὶ ζῴων (‘On animals’) or Περὶ φύσεως ζῴων (‘On the nature of animals’); .

Article

statics  

Wilbur R. Knorr

Statics (in the phrase of *Pappus), is the branch of *mechanics dealing with the relations of weights in static equilibrium. The classic formulation of the principles is from *Archimedes (Plane Equilibria, bk. 1) in which he proves that the centre of gravity of two weights is the point dividing the line between their respective centres of gravity into segments inversely proportional to the weights (props. 6–7). This is apparently a reformulation in statical terms of the analogous principle of the lever, conceived dynamically in the Peripatetic Mechanica. Archimedes' definition of centre of gravity is not transmitted in his extant mechanical writings, but can be inferred from accounts by *Heron, Pappus, and Eutocius. In a lost work On balances (Peri zygön) Archimedes appears to have applied a version of the equilibrium principle toward the analysis of uneven-armed balances of the bismar type. In the Plane Equilibria he determines the barycentres of the parallelogram, triangle, trapezium, and parabolic segment.

Article

Statilius Crito (Κρίτων), Titus, of Carian Heraclea-Salbace, doctor (archiatros) to Trajan, who designated him an *amicus Augusti, took him on one of his Dacian campaigns, the basis for his Getic History (FGrH 2. 3. 200), and made him an imperial procurator. Through Galen considerable fragments survive of his works Cosmetics and On the composition of drugs.

Article

surgery  

Charles Joseph Singer and V. Nutton

bc In the Homeric poems (see homer) references to surgery are found mainly in the Iliad and concerned with the treatment of wounds. The wound is cleaned; blood squeezed or sucked out; edges united by bandaging; and an analgesic of dried herbs rubbed in and applied as an air-tight pad. Treatments resemble those recorded in early Egyptian medicine, although it is disputed whether this indicates a direct borrowing from Egyptian healers, whose reputation for surgery certainly had reached Asia Minor by 1000 bce. They were also known at the Persian court, where a Greek physician and surgeon, *Democedes of Croton, made a spectacular cure of King *Darius I.Surgery occupies an ambiguous place in the Hippocratic Corpus (see hippocrates(2); medicine, § 4 (c)). Not every medical practitioner wished to perform surgery, and some expressly left it to experts in military medicine, bone-setting, or cutting for the stone. Yet few ancient cities were large enough for such specializations to flourish, and most healers will have had of necessity to practise at least basic surgery. *Galen expected his average practitioner to be able to carry out at least some basic operations, and to know how to reduce the pain and post-operative complications of surgery.

Article

Lynne Lancaster

The term “technology” comes from the ancient Greek τέχνη, techne, meaning “art, skill, craft.” In modern practice, definitions of technology often vary according to the discipline and era under examination. Concepts used to study modern technology can be of use in framing questions about technology in antiquity, but along with the methodology one risks adopting modern assumptions that are not necessarily valid for pre-industrial societies. For example, the concept of “progress” has underlain much modern evaluation of ancient technology. It can be found in some ancient writings on science and philosophy, but nowadays it also comes with the post-Enlightenment baggage of having been used in theoretical debates justifying imperialist goals.1 Moreover, modern notions of “progress” are linked with the idea of technological determinism, a theory that assumes that technical progress was a natural path of development towards the Industrial Revolution. Those societies not reaching this goal have often been considered economically and technologically stunted by some fundamental internal flaw.

Article

William David Ross

Teucer (4) of Babylon (probably the Babylon in Egypt), astrologer, is conjectured to belong to the 1st cent. ce. He expounded the traditional astrology of Egypt and united with it oriental and Greek elements. He had a great influence on Arabian and medieval *astrology, through his description of the *constellations.

Article

Wilbur R. Knorr and Reviel Netz

Theaetetus (c. 415–369 bce) of Athens, geometer, initiated the special definitions and theory of irrational lines fundamental for book 10 of Euclid's Elements (cf. Eudemus, cited by Pappus, ed. Junge and Thomson, 63–4); one infers that he formulated a proportion theory based on the Euclidean division (anthyphairesis) and perhaps also set out the associated number theory of Elements, book 7.

Article

J. T. Vallance

Themison of *Laodicea (probably Lycus), a pupil of *Asclepiades(3) of Bithynia, probably lived towards the end of the 1st cent. bce and spent at least part of his working life in Rome. None of his writings survives, and attempts to associate certain anonymous collections of medical texts with his name have been largely unsuccessful. Some sources insist he was the founder of Methodism (see medicine, § 5.3), but *Thessalus (2) of Tralles may have a stronger claim. Galen frequently underlines similarities between Themison's and Thessalus' medical theory and practice, but later Methodist doctors, especially Caelius Aurelianus, are at pains to distance Themison from the early history of their sect, claiming that his ideas about theory and practice were much closer to those of Asclepiades. It seems unlikely that he went as far as Thessalus in claiming that the diseased body presented to the doctor two phenomenally evident common states from which the indication for treatment followed directly. No surviving Methodist source has much praise for Themison, generally on account of his attitude to the role of theory, but he is credited with the authorship of the first work on chronic diseases, a form particularly favoured by some Methodist physicians.

Article

Theodorus (2) (fl. late 5th cent. bce) of *Cyrene, geometer, portrayed in *Plato(1)'s Theaetetus as a former disciple of *Protagoras, an associate of *Socrates, and a teacher of *Theaetetus. Plato describes him as showing the irrationality of √3, √5, etc. up to √17 (Tht.

Article

Theodosius (4) of Bithynia, astronomer and mathematician (fl. c.100 bce), wrote three treatises on elementary ‘spherics’: Σφαιρικά, in three books, dealing with great and small circles on the sphere; Περὶ οἰκήσεων (‘On Habitations’), on the variations in celestial phenomena at different terrestrial latitudes; and Περὶ ἡμερῶν καὶ νυκτῶν (‘On Days and Nights’), in two books, on the variations in the length of day and night resulting from the sun's travel through the zodiac.

Article

Theon of *Alexandria (1) (fl. 364 ce), mathematical commentator. Extant works are (1) a commentary on *Ptolemy (4)'s Almagest (the sections on bk. 11 and parts of other books are lost); (2) a large commentary on the Handy Tables of Ptolemy; (3) a small introduction to the Handy Tables. He also produced ‘editions’ (i.e. trivial reworkings) of (a) *Euclid (Elements, Data, and Optics); (b) Ptolemy's Handy Tables, which exist only in Theon's version. Theon was competent in mathematics, but completely unoriginal; his importance lies in his role in the preservation and transmission of older works. It was in his version that Ptolemy's astronomical tables were known to Islamic science, whence they passed to medieval Europe.