Wilbur R. Knorr and Serafina Cuomo
Carmen de ponderibus et mensuris (perhaps c.400
William David Ross
A Roman physician of the time of Augustus and Tiberius (31
William David Ross and V. Nutton
Doctor-sophist, the author of Ἰατρικαὶ ἀπορίαι καὶ προβλήματα φυσικά (‘medical puzzles and problems of physics’), not earlier than the 3rd cent.
Wilbur R. Knorr and Alexander Jones
Alun Hudson-Williams and V. Nutton
Marcus Cetius Faventinus, (3rd–4th cent.
The Classical world witnessed many forms of physical landscape change due to long-term and short-term geological and climatological processes. There have also been alterations to the land surface resulting from an interaction between human impact and these natural factors. Cyclical changes in land use, agricultural technology, economy, and politics have continually transformed the rural landscapes of the Mediterranean and the wider Classical world and their mapping, in turn, can shed light on fundamental aspects of ancient society that are not always documented in Classical texts.
The classical world witnessed many forms of landscape change in its physical geography, mostly due to longer-term geological and climatological processes, whilst only a minority were due purely to human action. The physical environment of Greek and Roman societies saw alterations through earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, sea-level fluctuations, erosion, and alluviation.
Already in Greek antiquity, Plato (Critias iii) observed how the Aegean physical landscape was being worn down over time as erosion from the uplands filled the lowland plains. Indeed, the Mediterranean region is amongst the most highly erodible in the world.1 However, scientific research in the field known as geoarchaeology has revealed a more complex picture than a continuous degradation of the ancient countryside.2
To uncover a more realistic picture of Mediterranean landscape change, the element of timescales proves to be central, and here the framework developed by the French historian Fernand Braudel3 provides the appropriate methodology. Braudel envisaged the Mediterranean past as created through the interaction of dynamic forces operating in parallel but on different “wavelengths” of time: the Short Term (observable within a human lifetime or less), the Medium Term (centuries or more, not clearly cognisant to contemporaries), and the Long Term (up to as much as thousands or millions of years, not at all in the awareness of past human agents).
Heinrich von Staden
G. J. Toomer
Tiberius Claudius Thrasyllus, of *Alexandria (1), astrologer (d. 36
G. J. Toomer
Cleonides (perhaps 2nd cent.
Time, or the passage of time, was told through a variety of means in antiquity—via one’s own body, through the actual or calculated movement of celestial bodies (sun, moon, and stars), and by means of artificial instruments, including sundials, water clocks, and various forms of timers. While the natural or built environments could provide large-scale, immobile backdrops to aid with telling the time, there were also miniature instruments that could be carried by hand around the known world with remarkable confidence in their accuracy. And while the simplest form of timing might be provided by one’s own body—such as through its hunger or its shadow—there were also artificial mechanisms of such extraordinary ingenuity and complexity that their like would not be seen for another millennium, and whose remains still elude complete explanation.
Michael N. Fried
The curves known as conic sections, the ellipse, hyperbola, and parabola, were investigated intensely in Greek mathematics. The most famous work on the subject was the Conics, in eight books by Apollonius of Perga, but conics were also studied earlier by Euclid and Archimedes, among others. Conic sections were important not only for purely mathematical endeavors such as the problem of doubling the cube, but also in other scientific matters such as burning mirrors and sundials. How the ancient theory of conics is to be understood also played a role in the general development of the historiography of Greek mathematics.
G. J. Toomer
Conon of *Samos (first half of 3rd cent.