The Forgotten Revolution: How Science Was Born in 300 Bc and Why It Had to Be Reborn
The third and second centuries BC witnessed, in the Greek world, a scientific and technological explosion. Greek culture had reached great heights in art, literature and philosophy already in the earlier classical era, but it was in the age of Archimedes and Euclid that science as we know it was born, and gave rise to sophisticated technology that would not be seen again until the 18th century. This scientific revolution was also accompanied by great changes and a new kind of awareness in many other fields, including art and medicine.
What were the landmarks in the meteoric rise of science 2300 years ago? Why are they so little known today, even among scientists, classicists and historians? How do they relate to the post-1500 science that we are familiar with from school? What led to the end of ancient science? These are the questions that this book discusses, in the belief that the answers bear on choices we face today.
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From Gibbon to Tainter and more recently to Jarred Diamond the collapses of ancient societies like Roman or Maya empires were deeply studied. Nobody ever mentioned a similar collapse in Hellenistic times. An author, Lucio Russo, discovered it as scientific fall down. Russo considers that a real scientific revolution took place in Hellenistic times. Then it was forgotten as the science as a method has been abandoned in Antiquity to be only recovered 16 centuries later. In his development Russo describe the details of birth, decline and fall of Hellenistic science and technology in fields as mathematics, mechanics, geodesy, optics, astronomy, anatomy and even psychology. The Hellenistic researchers have obtained some incredible results such as the inverse square law of gravitation. This kind of affirmations may be challenged (and were largely challenged). It is not the point here. We must focus our inquiry on Russo's ground hypothesis and his researching methodology. We think that his approach may offer an interesting matter to future researches.
Timing for the first scientific revolution of the Hellenism
It is now generally accepted that the Hellenistic age started by 323 B.C. (with the death of Alexander the Great) and was finished by 30 BC (with the death of Cleopatra and the annexation of Egypt by Rome). Russo agrees with the starting point of Hellenistic times. But contrary to other historians for him the end of this age was linked to the end of a scientific revolution. according to Russo that happened in the second century B.C. when the scientific studies declined rapidly. The most serious collapse of scientific activity lay in the long wars between Rome and the Hellenistic states, from the plunder of Syracuse and the killing of Archimedes in 212 B.C. to 146 B.C. when Carthage and Corinth were razed to ground. Russo considers that Roman world of the third and second centuries B.C. was much more brutal then that of Virgil and Horace. As a matter of fact the refined culture acquired later by Roman intellectuals was the result of a continuing contact with the Hellenistic civilization, mainly through Greeks taken as slaves and by plundering the Greek works of art.
For Russo Alexandria's scientific activity, in particular, stopped in 145-144 B.C., when the king Ptolemy VIII initiated a policy of brutal persecution against the Greek ruling class.
Arguments in favor of a scientific discontinuity followed by a general decay
The feeling of decay was generally shared in Antiquity. As an example Seneca thought that "... far from advance being made toward the discovery of what the older generations left insufficiently investigated, many of their discoveries are being lost". A certain interruption of the oral transmission made ancient works incomprehensible.
As an example, among others, Russo mentions that Epictetus, regarded at the beginning of the second century A.D. as the "greatest luminary of Stoicism", confessed being unable to understand Chrysippus, his Hellenistic predecessor.
Russo challenges also the common opinion that the Almagest of Ptolemy rendered earlier astronomical treaties obsolete. This vision is inconsistent with an overlooked reality: "whereas astronomy enjoyed an uninterrupted tradition down to Hipparchus (and especially in the period since Eudoxus), the subsequent period lasting almost until Ptolemy's generation witnessed no scientific activity". There was here a deep cultural discontinuity. This break, attested in different other ways, is clearly illustrated by the astronomical observations mentioned in Almagest "... spread over a period of a few centuries, from 720 B.C. to 150 A.D., but leaving a major gap of 218 years: from 126 B.C., the date of the last observation attributed to Hipparchus, to 92 A.D., corresponding to a lunar observation by Agrippa". The author mentions also the relationship between the star catalog of Almagest and the star coordinates of Hipparchus citing the works of Grasshoff which has concluded that, although
Die vergessene Revolution oder die Wiedergeburt des antiken Wissens
No preview available - 2005
The Birth of Science
12 On the Word Hellenistic
14 Was There Science in Classical Greece?
15 Origins of Hellenistic Science
22 Euclids HypotheticoDeductive Method
23 Geometry and Computational Aids
Some Other Aspects of the Scientific Revolution
72 Conscious and Unconscious Cultural Evolution
73 The Theory of Dreams
74 Propositional Logic
75 Philological and Linguistic Studies
76 The Figurative Arts Literature and Music
The Decadence and End of Science
82 Rome Science and Scientific Technology
24 Discrete Mathematics and the Notion of Infinity
25 Continuous Mathematics
26 Euclid and His Predecessors
27 An Application of the Method of Exhaustion
28 Trigonometry and Spherical Geometry
Other Hellenistic Scientific Theories
32 Geodesy and Mathematical Geography
36 Aristarchus Heliocentrism and Relative Motion
37 From the Closed World to the Infinite Universe
38 Ptolemaic Astronomy
41 Mechanical Engineering
43 Military Technology
44 Sailing and Navigation
45 Naval Architecture The Pharos
46 Hydraulic and Pneumatic Engineering
47 Use of Natural Power
48 The Antikythera Mechanism
49 Herons Role
410 The Lost Technology
Medicine and Other Empirical Sciences
52 Relationship Between Medicine and Exact Sciences
53 Anatomical Terminology and the Screw Press
54 The Scientific Method in Medicine
55 Development and End of Scientific Medicine
56 Botany and Zoology
The Hellenistic Scientific Method
62 Postulates or Hypotheses
63 Saving the Phainomena
64 Definitions Scientific Terms and Theoretical Entities
65 Episteme and Techne
66 Postulates and the Meaning of Mathematics and Physics
67 Hellenistic Science and Experimental Method
68 Science and Orality
69 Where Do Cliches about Ancient Science Come From?
83 The End of Ancient Science
Science Technology and Economy
92 Scientific and Technological Policy
93 Economic Growth and Innovation in Agriculture
94 Nonagricultural Technology and Production
95 The Role of the City in the Ancient World
96 The Nature of the Ancient Economy
97 Ancient Science and Production
102 Eratosthenes Measurement of the Meridian
103 Determinism Chance and Atoms
104 Combinatorics and Logic
105 Ptolemy and Hellenistic Astronomy
106 The Moon the Sling and Hipparchus
107 A Passage of Seneca
108 Rays of Darkness and Triangular Rays
109 The Idea of Gravity after Aristotle
Sling or Ellipsoid?
1012 Seleucus and the Proof of Heliocentrism
1013 Precession Comets etc
1014 Ptolemy and Theon of Smyrna
1015 The First Few Definitions in the Elements
The AgeLong Recovery
112 The Renaissance
113 The Rediscovery of Optics in Europe
114 A Late Disciple of Archimedes
Kepler and Descartes
116 Terrestrial Motion Tides and Gravitation
117 Newtons Natural Philosophy
118 The Rift Between Mathematics and Physics
119 Ancient Science and Modern Science
1110 The Erasure of Ancient Science
1111 Recovery and Crisis of Scientific Methodology
List of Passages
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The Forgotten Revolution: How Science Was Born in 300 BC and Why ...
The Forgotten Revolution: How Science Was Born in 300 BC and Why It Had to Be Reborn, by Lucio Russo. (Springer, Berlin, 2004), pp. x + 487. ...
Lucio Russo - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
In The Forgotten Revolution: How Science Was Born in 300 BC and Why It Had To Be Reborn (Italian: La Rivoluzione Dimenticata), Russo stresses the ...
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The birth of modern science? : Article : Nature
BOOK REVIEWED-The Forgotten Revolution: How Science Was Born in 300BC and Why It Had To Be Reborn. by Lucio Russo(transl. Silvio Levy). Springer: 2004. ...
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Praising Alexandrians to excess - physicsworld.com
The Forgotten Revolution: How Science Was Born in 300 BC and Why It Had to Be Reborn Lucio Russo 2003 Springer 487pp £69.00/789.95hb ...
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Lucio Russo - Wikipedia
Da Wikipedia, l'enciclopedia libera. Vai a: Navigazione, cerca. Lucio Russo (Venezia, 22 novembre 1944) è un matematico, filologo e storico della scienza ...
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The forgotten revolution : - / 2004 - Livros
The forgotten revolution : how science was born in 300 BC and why it had to be reborn. Berlin; New York: Springer, c2004. 487 p. ISBN 3540203966 (pbk.
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Indian astronomy: Information and Much More from Answers.com
Lucio Russo (2004), The Forgotten Revolution: How Science Was Born in 300 BC and Why It Had To Be Reborn, [[Springer Science+Business Media|Springer]], ...
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CEJSH Publication information
... ancient Greek mathematics which contradict many theses of 'The Forgotten Revolution: How Science Was Born in 300 BC and Why It Had To Be Reborn'. ...
cejsh.icm.edu.pl/ cejsh/ cgi-bin/ getdoc.cgi?07PLAAAA03196600
The Historical Society, Boston University
... subject of Hellenistic science in works like Lucio Russo’s The Forgotten Revolution: How Science Was Born in 300 bc and Why It Had to Be Reborn (1996). ...
www.bu.edu/ historic/ hs/ mayjune06.html
"The forgotten revolution. How Science Was Born in 300 BC and Why it Had to Be Reborn." de Lucio Russo, Springer Verlag 2004. ...
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