GREEK 870 - Topics in Greek Literature
Section: 001 Science In Ancient Greece
Term: FA 2018
Subject: Greek (GREEK)
Department: LSA Classical Studies
Waitlist Capacity:
May be repeated for a maximum of 6 credit(s).
Primary Instructor:

This course will introduce students to science in ancient Greece, with a focus on Hellenistic science. We will survey the different areas of Greek science (medicine, mathematics, astronomy, mechanics) focusing on the main questions that scientists where asking and on the techniques they used to address them. The goal will be to get a broad picture of what Hellenistic science consisted of, how it was pursued, where it came from and why it is important as a field of study.

We will read widely from texts of different authors in translation, although of course comments on the original text are welcome for those students who have knowledge of Greek (which is not required for attending this seminar).

Topics that will be covered include:

  • - Scientific language: from vocabulary to scientific style
  • - Scientific ‘authority’ (how was it established? How was it defended?)
  • - Reciprocal influences and exchanges among different disciplines
  • - The role of royal patronage in the development of Hellenistic science
  • - The role of Aristotle and his school in the development of Hellenistic science
  • - The question of Greek scientific methodology and to what extent it can be compared modern scientific methodology
  • - The question of self-definition of technical disciplines (e.g. the debate between technai and empeiriai)
  • - Commentators of scientific texts (which role did they have?)

The instructor will lead the first meetings which will outline the points above and survey the different fields, while the second part of the course will consist in seminars/presentations of students’ research topics. Students will choose their topic on the basis of their interest. For each session students will have primary and secondary readings (assigned by the presenter) to discuss.

Though ancient Greek scientific texts are challenging (both in terms of language and of content), those we will be reading will be available in translation. So, knowledge of Greek is not required to attend the seminar. It will be necessary only for a few research topics (e.g. scientific language) for the students who choose them.

Course Requirements:

Regular attendance, assigned primary and secondary readings for each meeting, in-class discussion, one presentation, final research paper

Intended Audience:

Graduate students in Classics and in any other department who are interested in Greek science. Knowledge of ancient Greek is not required. Reading knowledge of some modern languages beyond English (e.g. French, German, Italian) might be useful.

Class Format:

One meeting per week

GREEK 870 - Topics in Greek Literature
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
M 3:00PM - 6:00PM
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