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Article

heart  

Julius Rocca

The heart (καρδία, κῆρ) was one of the most discussed bodily parts in antiquity. This is due, not so much to any assertion that it was the centre of the vascular system, but that it was widely regarded it as the seat of cognition and governor of movement and sensation. From the Hellenistic era onwards, these supposed attributes were set against the counter claim that the brain mediated these functions. This debate remained unsettled, despite Galen’s efforts, and the heart’s association with emotional states persists to this day.Babylonian medicine possessed terms for the irregularity of the pulse, which served as labels for the heart. Egyptian medicine named the heart (ib, haty), and a vessel system (metu), which transported fluids of the body (including blood and air), as well as pathological and waste products. The connection between the heart beat and the peripheral pulse seems to have been recognised. The Iliad provides vivid examples of fatal wounds to the heart.

Article

Daniela Manetti

An anonymous work, preserved in a manuscript of the 1st century ce from Egypt, about several medical issues (definition of basic concepts, medical historiography on the causes of disease, physiology of digestion), Anonymus Londiniensis represents a rare example of an autograph from antiquity. An important source for peripatetic doxography and the reception of Hellenistic medicine.The papyrus P. Lit. Lond. 165, now held in the British Library as inv. 137 (P. Brit. Libr. inv. 137), was published first in 1893 by Hermann Diels, who learned of it through Fridericus G. Kenyon’s first notice.1 Diels set immediately to work, with the help of Kenyon, and produced the edition after a very short time. The papyrus, as reconstructed by Kenyon (with some later additions in 1901), is a roll around 3.5 metres long. Thirty-nine columns, almost complete, are preserved: one or two columns are missing at the beginning, as is at least one between columns IX and X. The text breaks off abruptly halfway down col. XXXIX. The handwriting suggests a date around the later part of the 1st century .

Article

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.

As with natural causes of landscape change (see changing landscapes, natural causes of), a useful approach is offered by the chronological framework developed by French historian Fernand Braudel, who envisaged the Mediterranean past as created through the interaction of dynamic forces operating in parallel but on different wavelengths of time: the long term (up to as much as thousands or millions of years, not at all in the awareness of past human agents); the medium term (centuries or more, not clearly cognisant to contemporaries); and the short term (observable within a human lifetime or less).

Article

The polychromy of Greek and Etrusco-Roman architecture comprises the chromatic effects and surface treatments of exterior façades and roofs, as well as interior floors, walls, and ceilings. Colour and/or contrasts of light and shadow are the basis for all architectural ornamentation. The practice is characterized by a large variety of materials and techniques, which draw from different genres of the visual arts such as stone, plaster and stucco working, toreutics, tessellation, sculpture, panel painting, terracotta, and glass making. The treatment of architectural surfaces is thus intimately connected to changes in both construction knowledge and building economies, while their visual effects depend on changing architectural forms and designs. Both texts and archaeological remains underline the importance of colour and material as an integral part of ancient architectural design; they play a key role for the sensory and atmospheric experience of architecture and could influence its symbolic meaning.Despite strong regional traditions and a general lack of standardization, a few overall developments can be pinpointed: a triple colour scheme of dark (black, blue), light (white, cream), and red hues dominated both Archaic Greek and Etrusco-Italic architectural polychromy; its chromatic polarity became fundamental for the Greek Doric order and, as a basic combination, it remained a recurring motif of architectural surfaces into the Roman Imperial periods. During the Greek Classical period, green, yellow, and increasingly, gilding joined the basic colour palette. Late Classical/Hellenistic innovations included illusionistic painting techniques, intermediality (the imitation of one material by means of another), as well as the increase of light and shadow effects. While variation (Greek poikilia) of both colours and materials was a guiding principle, it seems that there were also occasional reductions of polychrome accentuations on exteriors.

Article

brain  

Julius Rocca

Knowledge of the brain as a body part is ancient. The term encephalos is found in Homer, but cognitive function was not ascribed to its contents. Certain of the Presocratics linked cognitive capacity to the brain. Similar views existed in the Hippocratic writings. For Plato, the brain’s cognitive role is due to its housing the rational soul. Aristotle regarded heart and brain as exerting sovereign control. In the Hellenistic period, the brain was systematically investigated, its cognitive and sensory capacities experimentally verified. Galen, building on this legacy and applying a rigorous experimental methodology, provided overwhelming proof that the brain mediated sensation and voluntary motion.The epistemological justification for cognitive, motor, and sensory functions to be ascribed to the structure lying “within the head” (encephalon) makes a relatively late appearance in antiquity. Empirical observations based on head injuries are far older. Babylonian medicine of the First Dynastic period (2nd millennium .

Article

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.The term conic sections, familiar to all students in modern mathematics classrooms, is a direct translation of the Greek, tomai tōn kōnōn. For the Greek mathematicians, conic sections were, true to their name, those curves produced by cutting the surface of cone with a plane not containing the vertex of the cone. The exact cutting procedure—indeed, the definition of the cone itself—changed in significant ways from the end of the 4th to the beginning of the 2nd century .

Article

Ravenna Cosmographer is an anonymous author of a Latin compilation commonly dated to the late 600s to early 700s. The Cosmographer describes the inhabited world, beginning with some theoretical questions and a general overview of the twelve southern and twelve northern regions (Book 1). His extensive lists of locations (Books 2–5) include over 5,000 place names, many otherwise unattested. Following earlier Christian authors such as Orosius, the Cosmographer incorporates Greco-Roman knowledge about the Earth into the framework of Christian scholarship. He cites the Bible and Christian theologians, and he mentions many secular authorities whose names only occur in this text. Although the Cosmographer never acknowledges his use of maps or itineraries, the forms of place names and the arrangement of toponyms by routes in Books 2–5 indicate that he was familiar with these sources. The similarities and differences to the Peutinger Map displayed by the text suggest that these works belong to different branches of the tradition, which ultimately goes back to a common exemplar. The Cosmography preserves the rich legacy of Roman and early medieval geographical knowledge, and its challenging material calls for a fresh examination.

Article

Courtney Ann Roby

Ancient Greek and Roman scientific and technical works, especially in the exact sciences, were much more commonly illustrated than texts in other genres. The images in those texts ranged from the relatively abstract diagrams in mathematical, astronomical, and harmonic texts to the more pictorial images of botanical, medical, and surveying texts. For the most part, the images that survive are found in medieval manuscript copies. Although there are often striking variations from one manuscript to another, and the parchment or paper codex offers very different possibilities for illustrations than the papyrus rolls on which the ancient texts would originally have been composed, the texts themselves often offer clues about the author’s intentions for the images that accompanied the text.

Illustrations ranging from schematic diagrams to veristic pictorial images are found in surviving copies of many Greek and Roman works on mechanics, harmonics, surveying, medicine, zoology, pharmacology, and other technical subjects.

Article

Marquis Berrey

Empiricists were a self-identified medical sect of the Hellenistic and Imperial periods who shared a common experiential methodology about the purpose and practice of medicine. Denigrating unobservable causes and experimental medicine, they espoused a sceptical, passive approach to accumulated observations about the body and the natural world. Since few Empiricist texts survive, historical knowledge depends largely on the medical doxographies of later ancient physicians who were not Empiricists. Doxographies report that Empiricists practiced a controlled experiential medicine based on personal observation, written reports from previous physicians, and analogical reasoning from known to unfamiliar conditions. The importance of chance and memory to their medical practice along with a willingness to compare themselves to tradesmen of lesser status distinguished their philosophical medicine from other ancient medical sects.Empiricists (Gk. empirikoi, Lat. empirici) were a self-identified sect or school (hairesis) of physicians from the Hellenistic and Imperial periods who shared a common experiential methodology about the purpose and practice of medicine. Empiricists practiced a controlled experiential medicine for individual therapeutic success based on personal observation, written reports from previous physicians, and analogical reasoning from known to unfamiliar conditions. Twenty-one named Empiricists are known to have practiced. The prosopographic record of the sect begins from Philinus of Cos, a renegade student of .

Article

Marquis Berrey

Methodists were a self-identified medical sect of the 1st century bce, Imperial period, and late antiquity who shared a common method of observation and causal inference about the practice of medicine. Methodists took their name from the “method” (Gk. methodos), an observable path or evidence-based medicine which the physician undertook to gain secure therapeutic knowledge. The path was supposed to reveal the general similarity between patients’ ostensibly differing conditions. Three similarities, or “commonalities,” as they were called, were possible: fluid, constricted, or a mixture of the two. Opponents pilloried Methodists for the loose logic of their methodological revolution and socially disruptive claims to teach medicine within six months. Primarily a Roman phenomenon, the popularity of Methodism seems to have been due to a ready supply of practitioners and its focus on certain, fast therapy. Methodists wrote chiefly on internal medicine, surgery, and medical history.Methodists (Gk. methodikoi, Lat. methodici.