Ancient Meteorology

Ancient Meteorology

Ancient Meteorology

Ancient Meteorology

Synopsis

The first book of its kind in English, Ancient Meteorology discusses Greek and Roman approaches and attitudes to this broad discipline, which in classical antiquity included not only 'weather', but occurrences such as earthquakes and comets that today would be regarded as geological, astronomical or seismological.The range and diversity of this literature highlights the question of scholarly authority in antiquity and illustrates how writers responded to the meteorological information presented by their literary predecessors. Ancient Meteorology will be a valuable reference tool for classicists and those with an interest in the history of science.

Excerpt

Today, for many of us, the word 'meteorology' conjures up images of the evening news and the weather forecasts offered by television 'meteorologists'. Given the current debates regarding global warming and climate change, the term 'meteorology' points to a science concerned with controversial and difficult-to-prove hypotheses. For many people, meteorology appears to be a speculative subject, in which predictions are very often not borne out. Indeed, current chaos theorists emphasize the difficulty (if not impossibility) of making accurate weather predictions. Nevertheless, or perhaps because of a shared sense of frustration, the weather is always a 'safe' subject for conversation, for we assume that everyone is interested in it. Indeed, a certain preoccupation with it is regarded in some regions and occupations as completely normal.

We often have the impression that meteorology is primarily concerned with weather prediction, yet it is not only concerned with forecasting, but also with the explanation of weather phenomena. (Indeed, some would argue that it is difficult or impossible to predict without understanding the causes of weather.) Today, understanding the causes of weather and climate is regarded as necessary, in order to cope with phenomena like El Niño and to prevent global warming. and while the relationship between the ability to explain and to predict natural phenomena is not always straightforward, we tend to regard the ability to predict as a hallmark of modern science.

This book focuses on ancient Greek and Roman approaches to the prediction of weather and the explanation of the causes of meteorological phenomena. in ancient Greece and Rome, the study of meteorology covered a broader range of phenomena than is usual today, and was of interest to many, including farmers, poets, philosophers and physicians. the modern term 'meteorology' comes from the ancient Greek word meteōrologia, which refers to the study of

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