History of the Sciences in Greco-Roman Antiquity

By Arnold Reymond; Ruth Gheury De Bray | Go to book overview

GREEK AND ROMAN SCIENCE

PART I. HISTORICAL OUTLINE
GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS

AMONGST the problems with which Greek science confronts us, there is one which is particularly complicated, that of its birth. This has doubtless been influenced by the intimate connection which existed between the inhabitants of the countries bordering on the Ægean Sea and the East, particularly Egypt, as is shown by their many commercial transactions. The Greeks themselves are unanimous in recognizing this (legend of Cadmus, traditions reported by Herodotus, and by Proclus in his Commentaries on Book I of Euclid, etc.).

The question here arises in what really consists this influence of Oriental thought on Greek science? Has the latter merely received from the former a mass of empirical knowledge, or also, in some measure, the rational direction which characterizes it? The recent discoveries of Minoan civilization have further complicated this problem. The remains of this civilization seem to have survived, outside Greece and Crete, for some time after the Dorian invasions.1 Did these remains, together with material imported from the East, form the foundation of the civilizations which

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1
R. von Lichtenberg, Die aegaische Kultur, Teubner, Leipzig, 1911. See also the complete and graphic work just published by G. Glotz: La civilisation égéenne, Renaissance du Livre, 1923, p. 445, et seq.

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