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Article

J. T. Vallance

The English transliteration of the Greek word ὑπόθεσις can conceal something of the variety of senses this term has in ancient contexts. Etymologically it suggests ‘the basis upon which something else is grounded’. In Greek the term may be applied to the summary of the plot of a play (see hypothesis, literary), a political or legal proposal, a topic to be discussed, a proposition to be proved, an unprovable assumption which is the basis for deduction, an acceptable supposition which its author may or may not choose to prove, or a fully fledged model or system of explanation which permits further work. *Ptolemy(4) can describe his model of the wandering heavenly bodies, for example, as his ‘hypotheses’ of the planets. Strict logical senses of the term can be traced back at least to *Plato(1) and *Aristotle; Aristotle defines a hypothesis as a thesis which assumes either part of a contradiction as a basis for further deduction (An.

Article

Hypsicles, of *Alexandria (1), mathematician and astronomer (fl. c. 150 bce), wrote:

(1) ‘Book 14’ added to Euclid's Elements. This contains interesting propositions and historical information about relationships between the regular dodecahedron and eicosahedron inscribed in the same sphere.

(2) On Rising-times (Ἀναφορικός), which adapts to the latitude of Alexandria a Babylonian arithmetical scheme for computing the times taken by individual signs of the zodiac to rise.

It is the earliest Greek work to use the 360-degree division of the circle. *Diophantus (ed. Tannery 1. 470) quotes a definition of a polygonal number from a lost work of Hypsicles. Also lost is a work on the harmony of the spheres (*Achilles Tatius(2), ed. Maass, Comm. in Arat. 43).

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

lead  

Oliver Davies and David William John Gill

Is mined in part for the extraction of *silver from its ores. Some of the major sources in the Greek world were located at *Laurium in *Attica, on *Siphnos, and in *Macedonia. There were extensive workings in Anatolia (see asia minor). In the western Mediterranean, lead was mined on *Sardinia and in Etruria (see etruscans). Roman extraction took place in *Spain, *Gaul, and *Britain. Stamped lead ‘pigs’ show that lead was being extracted from the Mendips shortly after the Roman invasion of Britain (CIL 7. 1201). In the late empire lead mines were operating in the Balkans. Lead isotope analysis has allowed different sources to be identified. Thus lead from Archaic deposits in Laconia, as well as traces identified in Roman skeletal material from Britain, can be traced back to Laurium.Buildings associated with the extraction of silver from the argentiferous lead ore have been excavated at Laurium. Litharge (the by-product of this process) has been found in protogeometric and even bronze age contexts. In the Greek world lead was used to form the core of bronze handles, to fix steles to their bases, and for small offerings (such as those found in the sanctuary of *Artemis Orthia at *Sparta).

Article

Leucippus (3), originator of the atomic theory in the second half of the 5th cent. bce. His birthplace is reported to be *Elea, *Abdera, or *Miletus (Diog. Laert. 9. 30), but all of these may be inferences from affinities between his work and that of philosophers known to come from these places; Miletus is slightly more probable than the others. He wrote later than *Parmenides, and almost certainly later than *Zeno (1) and *Melissus. *Epicurus is said to have denied his existence (Diog. Laert. 10. 13), but this is not to be taken seriously, in the face of *Aristotle's frequent mentions of him.

Of the Democritean works (see democritus) collected by Thrasyllus (Diog. Laert. 9. 45–9), two are sometimes attributed to Leucippus: The Great World System and On Mind. Both attributions appear to stem from *Theophrastus and may well be right.

Article

Nicholas Purcell

Tall monuments which might function as navigational marks were an early feature of ancient harbour-architecture (Archaic examples are known on *Thasos). The idea became celebrated with the building of the 100-m. (328-ft.) tower on the Pharus island at *Alexandria (1), which gave its name to the architectural genre (c.300–280 bce, by Sostratus of *Cnidus (Strabo 17. 1. 6)), and the colossus of *Helios at *Rhodes (280 bce, by *Chares (4) of Lindus (Plin. HN 34. 41)): both so famous as to be reckoned among the *Seven Wonders of the ancient world. Beacon-fires made such monuments more visible by night as well as by day: but their function as signs of conquest and displays of prestige was as important. Claudius' lighthouse tower at *Portus, intended to rival the Pharus, became a symbol of Rome's port and its activities. The (partly preserved) lighthouse at Dover castle, and its opposite number at Boulogne (*Gesoriacum) suggested the taming of the Channel; another survives at La Coruña (*Brigantium) at the Atlantic extremity of Spain.

Article

madness  

Esther Eidinow

The idea that definitions of madness are culturally dependent has taken firm hold since Foucault's Madness and Civilisation, and is even recognized by the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edn. (DSM-IV). In our own time, ‘madness’ describes imprecisely a multitude of apparent mental disorders; it may be used technically to indicate a physiological disorder, and/or, more colloquially, to describe an action that seems rash, unexpected or self-defeating. When we turn to madness in Greece and Rome, we find a similar range of meanings, with all the additional problems involved in interpreting the concepts of another, and ancient, culture. Although attempts have been made to relate ancient descriptions of mental disorder to modern diagnoses, this has largely been abandoned, except in cases of epilepsy, or, as it was known in ancient Greece, ‘the sacred disease’. In her analysis of the modern notion of ‘*hysteria', Helen King has powerfully demonstrated how ancient ‘evidence’ might be misread, distorted, even created in order to endow modern diagnoses with authority.

Article

Heinrich von Staden

Mantias (c. 165–85 bce), a physician of the ‘school’ of *Herophilus, was known to the Greeks as the influential first systematic writer on compound drugs (although such drug prescriptions predate Mantias by several millennia, being well attested in Mesopotamian and early Egyptian texts). It is uncertain whether his famous specialized pharmacological books, for example on purgatives, on draughts, on clysters, and ‘on remedies according to place’ (topical drugs), belonged to his Δυνάμεις (‘Powers’ or ‘Properties’ of drugs) and The Druggist (or?) In the Surgery (or On the Things in the Surgery). Many of his compound-drug remedies were found worthy of transmission by the pharmacologists Asclepiades the Younger (‘Pharmakion’) and Heras, by *Soranus, and in particular by *Galen. Like most Herophileans, Mantias was, however, no narrow specialist: he also wrote on pathology, regimen, and women's disorders (recommending, for example, musical therapy—flute-playing, drums—to ward off imminent *hysteria, but pharmacological agents once hysterical suffocation attacks the patient).

Article

marble  

Donald Emrys Strong and Hazel Dodge

Under μάρμαρος, marmor, the ancients included granites, porphyries, and all stones capable of taking a high polish. In the third millennium bce the white marbles of the Greek islands were used for Cycladic sculpture. The Minoans employed coloured marbles and breccias for vases and furniture and in architecture for facings and column bases. The Mycenaeans also used coloured marbles, including green porphyry and rosso antico, for furniture and architectural decoration. Neither used marble as a building stone or for sculpture.The fine white marbles of Greece and the Greek islands were widely used for architecture and sculpture from the 7th cent. bce onwards. Grey Naxian and white Parian, the best of the island marbles, were used for both sculpture and architecture; see naxos (1) and paros. The Pentelic quarries to the north-east of Athens (see Pentelicon) supplied a fine-grained marble for the *Parthenon and other 5th-cent. bce buildings in the city and its territory.

Article

Marcellinus (1), author of an extant work Περὶ σφυγμῶν, which incorporates much earlier work on the pulse.

Article

Antony Spawforth

Marcellus, physician and poet from *Side, lived under *Hadrian and *Antoninus Pius. Wrote On Medical Matters in 42 books of heroic metre; a work on werewolves (see lycanthropy); a poem About Fish (fragments preserved); and two funerary epigrams commissioned by Ti. *Claudius Atticus Herodes(2) to commemorate Regilla, his wife.

Article

William David Ross and V. Nutton

Marinus (c. 130 ce), anatomist, credited by *Galen with reviving anatomical studies (see anatomy and physiology) at *Alexandria(1).

(1) Ἀνατομικαὶ ἐγχειρήσεις (‘Practical Anatomy’); (2) an Anatomy in 20 books; (3) a book on the roots of the nerves; (4) an Anatomy of the muscles; (5) a commentary on aphorisms.

Article

Reviel Netz

Like all other people the Greeks counted, measured and taught such skills to their young. Such practices in the classical Mediterranean were mostly continuous with those of the ancient Near East. The Babylonian base 60 found its way into Greek coin values, the Near Eastern Abacus— probably a Semitic word—was widely used, and mathematical education in Hellenistic Egypt (as seen in papyri) was closely related to that of Ancient Mesopotamia. At the same time, μαθηματική, at the latest from *Plato(1)'s time onwards, came to refer to something different. Midway between the modern terms ‘mathematics’ and ‘exact sciences’, this was primarily a new genre. It was never pursued by more than a handful of experts (even educated Greeks would know very little about the contents of this genre, though many could know about its existence). This genre formed a radical departure, both externally (from the Ancient Near East) and internally (from other Greek genres). It survived throughout antiquity and essentially remained unchanged in Arabic and Latin forms in the Middle Ages, forming the basis for modern science. Its major achievement was the deductive method: reading a Greek mathematical proof, one finds its validity irresistibly compelling. It may be for this reason that Greek culture, with its emphasis on persuasion, was the one to invent the mathematical genre (Lloyd 1990).

Article

Sylvia Berryman

The ancient Greek mechanical art addressed itself to the manufacture of assorted working artifacts, which were loosely organized into categories that reflected different understandings of the techniques by which they worked. Theories positing mathematical relationships were one reason for regarding groups of devices as part of a technical field; common physical principles governing their operation were another reason. The view that ancient Greek mechanics was regarded as working by magic has been discredited: although mechanics as a field produced “wonders” or show-pieces, this does not seem to have informed the understanding of the technê—a term often translated as art, but bearing implications of systematicity and method—by its practitioners. Aristotle classified mechanics, along with harmonics, astronomy, and optics, as one of the fields intermediate between mathematics and physics (Posterior Analytics 1.13, 78b37; 1.9, 76a24), based on mathematical principles.Balance and weight-lifting technologies, like levers and pulleys, were understood to exhibit mathematical proportions. A weight twice as far from the fulcrum could counterbalance another object twice its weight, or a lever twice as long could be used to raise twice the weight with the same power.

Article

William David Ross and V. Nutton

Medicina Plinii, an extant compilation made (probably 300–50 ce) from *Pliny(1)'s account, in books 20–32 of the Naturalis historia, of the plants and animals used for medicinal purposes. Marcellus Empiricus describes it as being the work of a second Pliny. This work has to be distinguished from a work commonly but falsely ascribed to Plinius Valerianus, of which the first three books are a garbled version (6th or 7th cent.) of the earlier work, while the last two books come from a different source.

Article

J. T. Vallance

Western literature begins with a *disease; in the first book of Homer'sIliad the god *Apollo (associated with the medical arts directly or through his Asclepiad progeny; see Asclepius) sends a plague on the Greeks camped before Troy to avenge Chryses' treatment at the hands of *Agamemnon. No attempt is made to treat the plague; the activity of doctors in the Homeric epics is generally limited to the treatment of wounds and injuries sustained in combat. Many later authorities (e.g. A. *Cornelius Celsus) argued that this was a sign of the high moral standards which then prevailed. If disease had its own moral force in literature—note, for example, Hesiod's account of diseases escaping from *Pandora's jar (Op.69–105), the role of illness and *deformity in the *Oedipus legends, in *Sophocles' Philoctetes, in Attic comedy, and down to the Roman Stoic (see Stoicism) disapproval of over-reliance on medical help—the status and social function of those who treated diseases was similarly a matter for moral ambivalence.

Article

Melampus (2) (3rd cent. bce), author of two extant works on *divination, Περὶ παλμῶν μαντικῆς (‘On Divination by Palpitation’: ed. H. Diels, Abh. Berl. Akad.1907) and Περὶ ἐλαιῶν τοῦ σώματος (‘On Birthmarks’: ed. J. G. F. Franz, Scriptores Physiognomoniae Veteres, 1780).

Article

Menaechmus (2) (fl. mid-4th cent. bce), geometer, disciple of *Eudoxus(1) of Cnidus, offered a solution of the problem of two mean proportionals. A text of the solution is reported in the Archimedes commentary by Eutocius of Ascalon. As the solution employs conic sections (a hyperbola and two parabolas), Menaechmus must have anticipated in some manner the theory of conic sections, first compiled about a half-century later by *Euclid and by the mathematician Aristaeus of Croton.

Article

Menelaus (3), of *Alexandria (1 (fl. 95–8 ce), mathematician and astronomer, made astronomical observations at Rome in 98 (Ptol. Alm. 7. 3), and was known to *Plutarch (De fac. 17). The following works by him are extant (only in Arabic translation). (1) Sphaerica, in three books, is a textbook of spherical geometry, which contains the earliest theorems on spherical trigonometry. Book 1 gives the definition of a spherical triangle (τρίπλευρον), and develops theorems modelled on Euclid's for the plane triangle. Book 2 is concerned with the solution of problems important for spherical astronomy, in a more elegant way than such predecessors as *Theodosius(4). Book 3 treats the basis of spherical trigonometry. Proposition 1 is ‘Menelaus' Theorem’, which was used by subsequent astronomers (e.g. *Ptolemy(4)) to solve spherical triangles. It is probable that much of this treatise was original: it superseded earlier methods of solving spherical problems (see trigonometry).

Article

A south-Italian Greekbotanist, traditionally a Pythagorean (see Pythagoras(1)) from *Sybaris (Iamb.VP 267). *Theophrastus occasionally quotes from Menestor's lost books on botany, which considered particular plants and their growth according to warmth or frigidity. Mulberries sprout late, but ripen quickly, growing in cold weather (Theophr.Caus. pl. 1. 17. 3), an application of the Pythagorean theory of opposition of the warmth and cold to plants: mulberry requires cold for growth, from its warm nature. Plants needing warmth due to their cold nature included rush, reed, galingale, silver fir, pine, prickly cedar, Phoenician cedar, and ivy (ibid. 1. 21. 6). *Empedocles had posited a theory of why the warm evergreens withstood cold weather by means of their pores, so Menestor is dated sometime between Empedocles and Theophrastus (c.400 bce), and is the author of the first known Greek works on inductive botany. Theophrastus (Causis pl.