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Article

Meno  

J. T. Vallance

Pupil of *Aristotle. His summary of medical doctrines was known to *Plutarch (Quaest. conv. 8. 9. 3) and *Galen (15. 25 Kühn). Parts are thought to be preserved in the ‘Anonymus Londinensis’ papyrus, which is one of the most important sources for the early history of Greek *medicine.

Article

Menodotus (3) of *Nicomedi (fl. probably c. 120ce), follower of *Pyrrhon, pupil of *Antiochus (11) of Ascalon, and leader of the empirical school of medicine (see medicine, § 5. 3). He was a voluminous author, and is often referred to by *Galen.

Article

John Ellis Jones

Metallurgy covers all processes involving native metal or metallic ores after mining (concentration, smelting, refining) up to the production of artefacts. Understanding these depends less on literary references (mainly Roman: *Strabo, *Pliny (1)) than on archaeological and scientific research, analytical, comparative, and experimental. Only the richest ores could be smelted directly; generally, enrichment was needed to avoid wasting fuel. So, mined rock was sorted underground and above, poorer material rejected, and the richer crushed with stone mauls or iron hammers on anvil-stones; deeply worn boulders are recognizable as such in *Laurium. Washing aided concentration of ores, especially those (gold, argentiferous lead) heavier than gangue; it could be done in pans or cradles, with rough cloth or fleeces (as in *Colchis, giving rise to the golden fleece legend). Milling to a fine grain, in rotary mills or hopper-querns, and sieving preceded washing. Laurium best exemplifies the elaborate arrangements for ore treatment which local conditions necessitated. Stone-built cement-surfaced rectangular washing tables had stand-tanks with funnelled jet-holes (perhaps serving wooden sluices), level floors, sunken channels, and sedimentation basins, which separated the milled ore from gangue and recycled water. There are also four known round washeries with helicoidal stone sluices. Repeated washing ensured the desired enrichment. Smelting was done with wood or carbon fuel in ovens of various forms, with heat intensified by means of bellows. Laurium offers five furnace sites, three excavated with a row of banked oven-rooms, filling-platforms, and traces of stone and clay chimney-ovens. Furnace techniques depended on the melting-point of metals, the ores used, the need to use fluxes or cope with slag, whether reduction or oxidization took place, and whether the process produced a liquid metal (copper, bronze, gold, a silver–lead mix) to be tapped into moulds to form ingots, or a livid mass (iron bloom) requiring hot hammering. Remelting and refining generally followed; so, ‘work-lead’, remelted under blown air produced metallic silver (for minting coins) and lead-oxide, which again remelted produced lead (for sealing cramps in masonry etc. ). The Greeks used crucible and cupellation methods, developed an early knowledge of alloys (e.g. copper, then arsenical coppers, true copper–tin bronzes, and lead-bronzes for casting), and mastered various hot and cold treatments for metals, smithing, and soldering. Some vase-paintings usefully illustrate workshop activities, like smithing and casting of bronze statues. See mines and mining, Greek.

Article

Jonathan Edmondson

In the Roman period most metals were obtained not in a natural state directly from mining, but as a result of metallurgical processing of compound mineral deposits (ores). Ores, once mined, were crushed with stone mortars and as much sterile rock as possible was removed by hand-sorting. Manual millstones, or occasionally handle-powered, ‘hourglass’ mills (similar to the grain-mills from *Pompeii) were used to grind the ore to a powder, which was often further concentrated by washing. This was carried out using portable sievelike instruments or in a permanent installation (washery), where water was channelled over the ore, forcing the heavier metal-bearing grains to settle in basins while carrying off the lighter dross.Few complete Roman smelting-furnaces have survived, and so knowledge of metallurgical techniques depends on scattered finds of parts of furnaces and on ancient authors such as *Diodorus (3) Siculus, *Strabo, and the elder *Pliny(1), who describe the main techniques, sometimes conflating different processes.

Article

J. T. Vallance

Strictly means ‘the study of things aloft’, but the term was widely used in antiquity to cover the study both of what might now be called meteorological phenomena and the investigation of (supposedly) related phenomena on and within the earth itself, such as tides, earthquakes, volcanoes, and the formation of minerals and metals. Presocratic interest in meteorology is well attested, but the difficulty of providing explanations of such intractable phenomena sometimes made students of the subject figures of fun. *Aristophanes (1) in the Clouds parodies ‘meteorosophists’ for their arcane and silly speculations about atmospheric and subterranean marvels. The author of the Hippocratic treatise On Ancient Medicine (see Hippocrates(2)) attacks those who are forced by the very nature of the subject to base their speculations on indemonstrable premisses (see hypothesis, scientific). Even *Socrates (in Plato's Phaedrus 270a) offers *Anaxagoras a backhanded compliment, claiming that he filled people with ‘lofty’ (i.e. meteorological) thoughts.

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.

Article

G. J. Toomer and Alexander Jones

Meton, Athenian astronomer, is dated by his observation of the summer solstice, together with *Euctemon, in 432 bce (Ptol. Alm. 3. 1). He is famous for his introduction of the luni-solar calendaric cycle named after him, with 19 solar years and 235 months, of which 110 were ‘hollow’ (containing 29 days) and 125 full (containing 30 days), making a total of 6,940 days. The basis of the cycle (though not the year-length of 365 5/19 days) was undoubtedly derived from Babylonian practice. We may presume that Meton intercalated a thirteenth month in the same years as the Babylonians, and prescribed a fixed sequence of full and hollow months, but this is conjectural. He used the month-names of the Athenian calendar, but his cycle was intended not as a reform of that, but to provide a fixed basis for dating astronomical observations (in which it was later superseded by the cycle of *Callippus), and for Meton's own astronomical calendar (parapēgma).

Article

milk  

Robert Sallares

Fresh milk (γάλα, lac) was not very important in the Greek and Roman diet, for climatic reasons, and many people in southern Italy and Greece cannot digest lactose in milk. However, northern *barbarians, especially nomads like the *Scythians, were known to drink milk. The milk that was consumed, normally in the form of cheese or curds (ὀξύγαλα), was usually that of goats or sheep. Cows' milk found little favour. Butter (βούτυρον) was used only by barbarians, since the Greeks and Romans preferred *olive oil. Horses' milk was also known. Receptacles identified as feeding-bottles for infants have been found on archaeological sites, but breast-milk was much more important (see breast-feeding). Milk was highly valued in medicine. The physicians recommended the internal or external use of milk (both human and animal) or whey for numerous ailments. It was also used for *cosmetic purposes, and in religious ceremonies as a first-fruit offering (see aparchē), although its early use in this domain was often superseded by that of *wine.

Article

mills  

Kevin Greene

Mills ‘Saddle-querns’, in which grain (see cereals) was rubbed between a fixed flat lower stone and a smaller hand-held upper stone, had been in general use for thousands of years before the ‘hopper-rubber’ mill appeared in Greece by the 5th cent. bce. Mechanized versions consisted of a rectangular upper stone, with a cavity that acted as a hopper for grain, pivoted at one end to allow a side-to-side action; grooves cut into the grinding surfaces improved the flow of grain and the removal of flour from the lower stone. Perhaps as early as the 3rd cent. bce, the introduction of a pair of round stones made a dramatic improvement, for a central (adjustable) pivot took the weight of the upper stone, which could be moved in a continuous rotary motion, assisted by its own momentum, and propelled by a crank-like vertical handle set into the upper surface. This development did not take place in Greece, for rotary mills did not appear there before the Roman period. Rotary mills were also scaled up into the hourglass-shaped ‘Pompeian’ form, powered by animals or slaves, in contexts such as commercial bakeries.

Article

J. T. Vallance

The modern term for the systematic study of the character and diversity of chemical elements and compounds which occur naturally within the earth. How far the Greeks could be said to have engaged in this kind of study is highly questionable, yet there is evidence that the diversity of mineral substances was recognized, and names given to a few minerals. There is no doubt that the ancients had experience of the use of ores, precious and semi-precious stones, and *building materials. Archaeological evidence for ancient mining and *metallurgy, however, suggests degrees of technical sophistication and understanding which are not equally evident in the surviving literary sources.Epistemologically-based hierarchies of nature like those of *Plato (1) and, to a lesser extent, *Aristotle seem effectively to have discouraged the systematic investigation of anything but the most unusual, valuable, or beautiful of mineral substances. Yet speculation about the origins of earth-materials in general is a feature of certain Presocratic cosmologies (notably those of *Anaximenes (1), *Heraclitus (1), *Anaxagoras, and *Empedocles).

Article

Andrew Brown

Morsimus, son of *Philocles and great-nephew of *Aeschylus, was an eye-doctor (see ophthalmology) and also a tragic poet, but regarded by *Aristophanes(1) as a particularly bad one (Eq.401; Pax802; Ran.151).

Article

music  

Andrew Barker

‘Let me not live without music’, sings a chorus of greybeards in *Euripides (HF676). Expressions such as ‘without music’, ‘chorusless’, ‘lyreless’ evoked the dreary bitterness of war, the *Erinyes' curse, or death, ‘without wedding song, lyreless, chorusless, death at the end’ (Soph.OC1221–3). Poetic pictures of unblemished happiness are correspondingly resonant with music; and in every sort of revel and celebration, Greeks of all social classes sang, danced (see dancing), and played instruments, besides listening to professional performances. Music was credited with divine origins and mysterious powers, and was the pivot of relations between mortals and gods. It was central to public religious observance, and to such semi-religious occasions as weddings, funerals, and harvests. At the great panhellenic *festivals (see panhellenism) and their many local counterparts, choruses and vocal and instrumental soloists competed no less than athletes for prizes and glory (cf. Pind.

Article

Philip de Souza

Navigation can be defined as the art of taking a ship successfully from one chosen point to another. From a very early stage the relatively calm, tideless waters of the Mediterranean encouraged travel by sea. Seagoing *ships were not normally used in the winter months, because storms and poor visibility made navigation hazardous, but Hesiod's suggestion that sailing be limited to July and August is overcautious (Hes.Op. 663–5), the period between the vernal and autumnal equinoxes being the best season, with some leeway at either end. Ancient vessels were either paddled, rowed, or sailed. Their speed depended upon size, type of propulsion, and the weather. Sailing speeds of between four and six knots seem to have been the norm with favourable winds. Light or unfavourable winds might reduce speed to less than one knot, making it preferable to lie up and wait for a change in the weather.

Article

G. J. Toomer

Nechepso, pseudonymous author, with Petosiris, of an astrological treatise in at least fourteen books, written, perhaps in Egypt, by a late Hellenistic Greek who used the Egyptian names to convey a spurious antiquity. Its great influence is shown by the frequent citations in later astrological works. See astrology.

Article

John Scarborough

Nicander, of Colophon. Nicander says he was ‘nurtured by the snow-white city of Claros’ (Theriaca 958), and that he lives among ‘the tripods of Apollo in Claros’ (Alexipharmaca 11), indicating that he was probably a priest of *Apollo at *Claros. Nicander of Colophon is not the Nicander, son of Anaxagoras, cited as an epic poet in a Delphian inscription (Syll.3 452), dated 258 bce; internal evidence suggests a floruit for Nicander of Colophon of c.130bce.Surviving intact are two didactic poems in Greek hexameters, the Theriaca and Alexipharmaca. Forming the subject-matter of the Theriaca are snakes, spiders, scorpions, presumably poisonous insects, and related creatures (centipedes, millipedes, solifuges), accompanied by remedies for their bites and stings; the Alexipharmaca retails botanical, animal, and mineral poisons and antidotes. Nicander is a gifted Homeric glossator, but he is neither zoologist nor toxicologist: the lost tracts Poisonous Animals.

Article

Nicomachus of *Gerasa (fl. c. 100 ce), a *Neopythagorean author of mostly scientific works of an introductory character. Two of his works are extant: (1) Introduction to Arithmetic (Ἀϱιθμητικὴ εἰσαγωγή), in two books, (2) Manual of Harmonics (Ἐγχειϱίδιον ἁϱμονικῆς). He also wrote, all now lost: a Θεολογούμενα ἀϱιθμητικῆς (extracts preserved in the work of the same name attributed to *Iamblichus(2)), a Life of Pythagoras (Porph, VP 20, 59) and an Introduction to Geometry (Introd. Arith. 2.6.1). To modern readers, he often appears to be disturbingly philosophizing, to the detriment of the scientific content, and to be elementary to the point of becoming trivial. He did however have great influence in antiquity (Iamblichus, Asclepius and *Philoponus have all written commentaries on the Arithmetic, which was even translated into Latin by *Apuleius, forming the basis of *Boethius’ own work in Arithmetic; other works were heavily used by Iamblichus). He may be the best representative of the absorption of scientific themes into ancient philosophical education in the Pythagoreanizing tradition.

Article

Thomas Little Heath and G. J. Toomer

Nicomedes (5), mathematician (? c. 200 bce), was the discoverer of the cochloidal or conchoidal curves, by means of which he solved the problem of trisecting the angle and that of doubling the cube. See especially Eutocius, Comm. in Arch. de Sph. et Cyl. (Heiberg2), 98 ff.

Article

Thomas Little Heath and G. J. Toomer

There were two main systems:(1) The ‘alphabetic’ or ‘Milesian’, probably originating in Ionia and the older of the two. It consisted of the ordinary letters of the Ionian alphabet plus ς = 6, ϙ = 90, and or = 900. Thus α to θ represent 1 to 9, ι to ϙ 10 to 90, and ρ to 100 to 900. Thousands from one to nine are represented by to , and 10,000 by Μ. Multiples of 10,000 are written by putting the multiplier above; thus 126,763 is written , ςψξγ.(2) The ‘acrophonic’. Apart from |, the unit, the signs were the initial letters of the numeral words: = πέντε, = δέκα, = ἑκατόν, = χίλιοι, = μύριοι. Quintuples of the latter four were represented by a combination with ; thus , or = 50, = 500, = 5,000, = 50,000. Other multiples were expressed by repetition of the sign; thus 126,763 is written .

Article

Joyce Reynolds and Antony Spawforth

The numbers are based on seven signs: I = 1, V = 5, X = 10, L = 50 (formerly, before the 1st cent. bce, ↓), C = 100, = 500, ∞ (or a recognizable variant) = 1,000 (M was not used as a figure, only as an abbreviation of the words mille, milia). The system's origins are debated. Modern scholarship rejects the late and complex theory of *Priscian (mixing alphabetic and acrophonic principles); Mommsen's influential dual explanation argues for both pre-alphabetic (i.e. pictographic) origins (I, V, and X) and a putative Roman adaptation of ‘unused’ Greek (Chalcidic; see chalcis) letters (↓, C, ∞); most recently an origin in the *Etruscan system of tally-marks has been proposed (Keyser).A notation could be constructed on this basis both by the additive method (IIII = 4; XXXX = 40) and by the subtractive (IV = 4; XL = 40) and both methods were employed, sometimes even in the same document. Inscriptions seem to show a preference for the additive method, especially in official contexts, and this preference is occasionally carried to the extent of ignoring the signs V and L (so IIIIIIviri often for VIviri and such forms as XXXXXX for LX).

Article

Oenopides of Chios was said by *Eudemus to have ‘discovered’ the obliquity of the ecliptic and some constructions in elementary geometry. A luni-solar period (‘Great Year’) of 59 years and 730 months is credibly attributed to him.