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Article

A. T. Grafton

Solar and lunar eclipses rank with the most impressive celestial phenomena. They were widely considered ominous—as the story of *Nicias (1)'s final defeat in Sicily shows—and some 250 reports of them occur in ancient sources. The Babylonian records of lunar eclipses to which *Ptolemy (4) had access apparently began in the 8th cent. bce. By the 5th cent., well-informed Greeks like *Thucydides (2) understood (2.28) that solar eclipses can take place only at new, and lunar ones at full moon. *Hipparchus (3), in the 2nd cent., supposedly predicted the motions of the sun and moon, including their syzygies, for 600 years; and Ptolemy, 300 years later, provided precise methods for predicting the time not only of lunar, but also of solar eclipses (a much harder task). Recorded eclipses in Greek and Roman literature provide the only absolute dates for historical phenomena (like the *Peloponnesian War): the dated eclipses recorded by historians of the later Roman republic make it possible to trace the deviation of the months of the republican calendar from their proper positions.

Article

J. T. Vallance

στοιχεῖα (Lat. elementa) gradually became the standard Greek word for ‘elements’, and it was used with a range of senses similar to the English term used to translate it. Etymologically it means ‘one of a series’ (στοῖχος). Eudemus, quoted in the 6th cent. ce by *Simplicius in his Commentary on Aristotle's Physics (7. 13), says that the word was first used in this sense by *Plato (1) (see e.g. Ti. 56b, 61a6).The term has important connotations in logic, mathematics, and discussions of scientific method as well as natural philosophy. *Aristotle (Metaph. 1014a26) defined an element as the primary constituent in something—be it object, speech, or a geometrical proof—which is indivisible into any other kind of thing. In the case of an object the elements might be the four Empedoclean roots, in that of speech the letters which make up a word, or in that of a geometrical proof the basic axioms and indemonstrables upon which the proof depends. In general, the concept of elements is fundamental to the widely held Greek—not just Aristotelian—conceptions of science as axiomatic-deductive in character. Basic mathematical works are often called Elements; best-known examples include the Elements of *Euclid, and the Elements of Harmonics by *Aristoxenus.

Article

The ἐμβατήριον was properly a marching-tune (Polyb. 4. 20. 12). Hence it was also a marching-song, such as the Spartans sang when under arms (Ath. 630 f; schol. Dion. Thrax 450. 27), like the anapaests (see metre, greek) attributed to *Tyrtaeus (Carm. pop. 18–19; cf. Dio Chrys. 2. 59).

Article

J. T. Vallance

Several barely intelligible accounts of animal reproduction (and in particular of the origins and development of the human embryo) are preserved amongst the fragments of the Presocratic philosophers. It is debatable whether or not these accounts—amongst which one should include zoogonies and anthropogonies such as that of *Anaximander who argued that the first living creatures had their origin in a kind of earthy moisture (DK 12 A 30)—should be described as ‘embryological’ in a modern scientific sense. (Anaximander seems mainly to have been concerned with explaining the ultimate origin of man, given that he is unusual in requiring intensive nursing after birth. He ended up by positing a first generation of humans born at puberty.) It should also be remembered that the word embryon in Greek does not always correspond to the modern ‘embryo’, but can often refer even to newly born infants. Ancient ‘embryology’, then, covers a whole range of problems, from generation to the nutrition of neonates. The three Hippocratic treatises (see hippocrates (2)) concerned with generation, heredity and sex differentiation, and paediatric physiology—Diseases 4, On Generation, and On the Nature of the Child together with the later medical works spawned by them, including *Soranus' Gynaecology, and *Galen's On the Seed—could all be described as wholly or partly ‘embryological’.

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

Heinrich von Staden

Erasistratus of Iulis on *Ceos (about 315–240 bce?) is the only scientist other than *Herophilus to whom ancient sources attribute systematic scientific dissections of human cadavers. *Cornelius Celsus claims that Erasistratus, like Herophilus, also vivisected convicted criminals (see vivisection). The extant evidence leaves little doubt that he performed vivisectory experiments on animals. Often taking a functional approach to his anatomical discoveries, he combined detailed descriptions of parts with explanations of their physiological roles. Thus he not only gave the first reasonably accurate description of the heart valves but also demonstrated that their function is to ensure the irreversibility of the flow through the valves.Three consistent features of Erasistratus' approach are his use of mechanistic principles to explain bodily processes, an Aristotelian teleological perspective, and the verification of an *hypothesis by means of *experiment. His major mechanistic principle is that matter naturally moves by means of ‘following toward what is being emptied’ (πρὸς τὸ κενούμενον ἀκολουθία), i.

Article

Andrew Barker

Eratocles (probably late 5th cent. bce), musical theorist discussed by *Aristoxenus, empiricist rather than Pythagorean in approach (Aristox. Harm. 5. 9–6. 31, cf. Pl. Resp. 531a–b). He distinguished conjunct from disjunct systems, analysed scales quantitatively, probably using diagrams and measuring intervals as multiples of the quarter-tone, and developed representations of ἁρμονίαι (attunements) as octave-species, orderly transformations of one another.

Article

Erotian  

J. T. Vallance

Grammarian and author of the most famous Hippocratic lexicon of antiquity. Lived in the 1st cent. ce.

Article

Euclid  

G. J. Toomer and Reviel Netz

Mathematician (date uncertain, between 325 and 250bce). Nothing is known of Euclid's life: the biographical data linking him with *Alexandria (1) and *Ptolemy (1) I are worthless inferences by late authors ( *Pappus and *Proclus ) who seem to have had no more information about him than we do. His fame rests on the Στοιχεῖα or Elements which goes under his name. It is in thirteen books (bks. 1–4 on plane geometry, 5–6 on proportion theory, 7–9 on the theory of numbers, 10 on irrationals, 11–13 on solid geometry). The work as it stands is the classical textbook of elementary *Mathematics which remained the standard (in many languages and versions) through the Middle Ages to the 20th cent. Its reception itself is less clear and may have been less significant. It does appear that some version (perhaps an epitome) was sometimes used for elementary mathematical education. The work aims to consolidate the ‘tool-box’ available to practising geometers, undoubtedly widely shared even prior to Euclid's work. How much Euclid owed to previous works of the same kind is impossible to say. The work displays in places a remarkably tight, subtle axiomatic structure, showing an authorial control going far beyond mere compilation. The recension by *Theon (4) of Alexandria was the basis of all printed editions before Peyrard's of 1814–18.

Article

G. J. Toomer and Alexander Jones

Observed the summer solstice at Athens, together with *Meton, in 432 bce (Ptol. Alm. 3. 1). He is also associated with the Metonic nineteen-year luni-solar cycle. He composed a παράπηγμα, an astronomical calendar listing the dates of rising and setting of stars and associated weather phenomena, which is excerpted by later extant calendars.

Article

G. J. Toomer and Alexander Jones

Eudoxus of *Cnidus, (c.390–c. 340 bce) was an outstanding mathematician and did important work in *astronomy and geography; he was versatile in ‘philosophy’ in general. According to the not entirely trustworthy ancient biographical tradition (see especially Diog. Laert. 8. 86 ff.), he was a pupil of *Archytas in geometry and of *Philistion in medicine; he came to Athens to hear the Socratics when about 23, later spent time in Egypt studying astronomy with the priests, then lectured in *Cyzicus and the Propontis, visited the court of *Mausolus, and finally returned to teach at Athens, where he was acquainted with Plato; he drew up laws for Cnidus, and died aged 52.In geometry he invented the general theory of proportion, applicable to incommensurable as well as commensurable magnitudes, found in Euclid bk. 5 (scholion in Heiberg, Euclidis Opera 5. 280). This greatly helped to assure the primacy of geometry in Greek *mathematics.

Article

Eustochius, of *Alexandria (1), physician, became a pupil of *Plotinus in Plotinus' old age (Porph. Plot.7) (prob. c.270 ce), and is said to have edited his master's works.

Article

Geoffrey Lloyd

Greek and Roman scientists did not refer directly to the experimental method. However, in a variety of contexts they described testing procedures that were clearly deliberate investigations designed to throw light on problems or to support theories. Examples can be found in the Presocratic philosophers, the Hippocratic writers (see hippocrates (2)), *Aristotle, *Erasistratus, *Heron, *Philon (2), Ptolemy (4), and *Galen.We should distinguish first the areas where experimental investigation is possible from those where it is not. Direct experiments in astronomy are out of the question. This was also true, in antiquity, in relation to most problems in meteorology (thunder and lightning) and in geology (*earthquakes). In such cases ancient scientists often conjectured analogies with other more accessible phenomena that were directly investigable. Thus *Anaximenes (1) may have tried to support *Anaximander's theory of lightning as caused by wind splitting the clouds by suggesting that it is like the flash of an oar in water. Similarly some of the experimental interventions described in the Hippocratic writers incorporate an element of analogy. The writer of Diseases4, for instance, describes a system of intercommunicating vessels which can be filled or emptied by filling or emptying one of them.

Article

fire  

J. T. Vallance

Fire (πῦρ, ignis) has special status in ancient myth, religion, cosmology, physics, and physiology. According to Greek myth, *Prometheus stole it from the gods for mortals with dire consequences, and the name of the god *Hephaestus is often synonymous with it. Fire figures prominently in the cosmologies of *Heraclitus (1), *Parmenides, the Pythagoreans (see pythagoras (1)), and *Empedocles, to name only a few.The status of fire as an element presented problems throughout antiquity. *Theophrastus noted at the beginning of his treatise De igne (‘On Fire’) that ‘of the simple substances fire has the most special powers’; much of the rest of the work is concerned with describing its various manifestations, and coming to terms with the problem of how such an element can only exist in the company of a material substrate, and how it can generate itself and be generated in such a variety of ways. Heat, flame, and light are different species of fire in many theories including that of *Aristotle.

Article

Ludwig Edelstein and V. Nutton

In a spectacular career rose from gladiator physician in Asia Minor to court physician in the Rome of Marcus *Aurelius . The son of a wealthy architect, he enjoyed an excellent education in rhetoric and philosophy in his native town before turning to medicine. After studying medicine further in *Smyrna and *Alexandria (1) , he began practising in Pergamum in 157, and went to Rome in 162. Driven out by hostile competitors, or fear of the *Plague , in 166, he returned in 169, and remained in imperial service until his death. A prodigious polymath, he wrote on subjects as varied as grammar and gout, ethics and eczema, and was highly regarded in his lifetime as a philosopher as well as a doctor.

Although *Plato (1) and *Hippocrates (2) were his gods, and *Aristotle ranked only slightly below them, he was anxious to form his own independent judgements, and his assertive personality pervades all his actions and writings. His knowledge was equally great in theory and practice, and based in part on his own considerable library. Much of our information on earlier medicine derives from his reports alone, and his scholarly delineation of the historical Hippocrates and the writings associated with him formed the basis for subsequent interpretation down to the 20th cent. Large numbers of new texts, some book length, continue to be recovered, mainly in translation, but some in the original Greek.

Article

Quintus Gargilius Martialis was famed for his work on *gardens (Serv. on G. 4. 147; Cassiod.Inst. 1. 28. 5). Part of the De hortis is extant, while two other fragments, on the medical properties of fruits and on remedies for oxen (Curae boum), are usually attributed to him. Both *Palladius (1) and the Arab writer Ibʼn-al-Awam cite him extensively. Whether the extant writings belonged to a comprehensive manual or to separate monographs is unknown. That the fragment on gardens concerns *arboriculture is due not to manuscript confusion but to the importance (proven by recent archaeological investigation) of fruit-trees in gardens. Although Gargilius merely lists the views of his sources on controversial points, his occasional criticism of earlier writers (at 4. 1 he accuses *Columella of negligence), his autopsy, and his practical experience help to explain the esteem of antiquity. His discussion of the peach, a tree barely mentioned by Columella, shows that arboriculture had continued to develop. A citation (4. 1) from *Virgil's Eclogues and the attention to prose rhythm throughout place Gargilius among those technical writers who, like *Columella, aimed to delight as well as to instruct their literary readers.

Article

Andrew Barker

His Introduction to Harmonics contains an intriguing preface, a series of Aristoxenian propositions (1–9, 17–19; see aristoxenus) arranged around and qualified by Pythagorean doctrine about ratios (10–16; see pythagoras (1)), and three chapters (20–3) on notation: 23, giving tables, is incomplete. Certain details are unparalleled elsewhere, but intellectual originality is not the work's main objective. It is a sane and practical guide for beginners.

Article

Geminus  

G. J. Toomer and Alexander Jones

Writer of elementary textbooks on mathematical subjects (probably c.50 bce); see mathematics. His only extant work is Εἰσαγωγὴ εἰς τὰ φαινόμενα (‘Introduction to Astronomy’), which gives a factual account of basic concepts in *astronomy, mathematical geography, and the calendar. Although the mathematics in this hardly goes beyond listing numerical parameters, it is important as a source for Greek knowledge of Babylonian astronomy, which appears particularly in the sections on the moon, and for the account of Greek luni-solar calendaric schemes (see astronomy). The parapēgma (astronomical calendar) appended to this treatise is not by Geminus, but considerably older. Geminus also wrote a treatise on the scope of the mathematical sciences entitled Περὶ τῆς τῶν μαθημάτων τάξεως or θεωρίας, in at least six books, which is cited by various writers, especially *Proclus and the scholiasts on *Euclid book 1. This included a classification of the mathematical sciences, arithmetic, geometry, *mechanics, *astronomy, *optics, geodesy, *music, and logistic (practical calculation), an examination of the first principles, definitions, postulates, axioms, and the structure based on them.

Article

G. J. Toomer

The theory that the earth lies at the centre of the universe belongs to Greek scientific astronomy and should not be attributed to earlier thinkers such as Anaximander or Pythagoras in the 6th cent. bce. The first to whom the notion that the earth is spherical and lies at the centre of a spherical universe is credibly attributed is *Parmenides (early 5th cent.). By the time of *Eudoxus (1) (c. 360) the standard view was that the stationary spherical earth lies at the centre, around which rotates the outermost sphere of the fixed stars, once daily about the poles of the equator, carrying with it the intermediate spheres of the other heavenly bodies (also centred on the earth, but rotating in the opposite sense about different poles). That is the basis of *Aristotle's picture of the world, which dominated the cosmology of antiquity and the Middle Ages. According to this the sublunar region is composed of the four mutable *elements, earth, air, fire, and water, whose natural motion is in a straight line, i.

Article

D. Lateiner

Gestures convey attitude, intention, and status. Greeks and Romans moved trunk and limbs to precede, accompany, intensify, undercut, and replace words. Posture, orientation (Soph.OT728), separating social-distance (proximity in supplication), facial expression (frowns, arched brows), and paralinguistic cues (pauses, pitch-changes, silences, hissing) also express emotion and modulate speech. Social meaning is divulged through ritualized acts (saluting, drink-pledges) and informal behaviour (pursed lips, nodding, nail-biting: Ar.Lys. 126, Vesp. 1315; Prop. 2. 4. 3). Behaviour may be intended (handclasp, embrace, kiss) or unintended (shriek, hiccough, horripilation, odour), sometimes even unconscious (sweat, lip-biting, eye-tics). The latter two categories of psychophysical reactions ‘leak’ hidden feelings. Apparel, tokens, and unalterable ‘badges’ of identity (guest-gifts (see gift, greece), dowry, winding-sheet, shields, scars, limps) assert gender, age, and status. Some behaviours exhibit ethological constants (tears, grins, cowering, shrinking); others are culture-specific (Hellenic ethnogests: thigh-slapping, negative upward head-nod: Il. 15. 113, 16. 125 (*Achilles), 6.