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Ancient and Medieval Science: Vol I. A History of Science.
Justin Lake. Download PDF. A short summary of this paper. The use of any part of this publication reproduced, transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, or stored in a retrieval system, without prior written consent of the publisher—or in the case of photocopying, a licence from Access Copyright Canadian Copyright Licensing Agency , One Yonge Street, Suite , Toronto, Ontario M5E 1E5—is an infringement of the copy- right law.
The University of Toronto Press acknowledges the financial support for its publishing activi- ties of the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund.
Finally, I would like to thank my wife, Natasha, for her unflagging love and support. Trying to assess the motives of a writer separated from us temporally by more than two millen- nia and mentally by a very different set of assumptions about how the world works is a task best undertaken with humility. The same holds true for every history from classical Antiquity or the Middle Ages. In trying to bridge the daunting mental gap that separates our era from theirs, we cling to the explicit statements of authors as our surest guide to their intentions.
Hence the importance of the historical prologue, the one part of any history where the author was called upon to address his audience directly and comment on his reasons for writing. The most basic function of the historical prologue was simply to provide the audience with the essential facts about what they were going to read or hear. In the earliest Greek histories the opening words served both as a title and a summary of contents: Hecataeus of Miletus, Herodotus, Thucydides, and Antiochus of Syracuse all begin by stat- ing their names and the subject of their work, for example.
Over time the state- ment of contents gradually shifted from the opening sentence to the middle or end of the introduction, but it remained an indispensable part of any historical prologue. No less important, historical prologues were written to engage the attention of the audience and establish a sympathetic portrait of the author.
The techniques for achieving these goals were ultimately derived from rhetoric, which began to cohere as a formal discipline in fifth-century BCE Greece and gradually came to overshadow all other aspects of classical education in importance. Although rhetoric was originally devised as an art of spoken persuasion, its dominant role in education meant that it exercised a powerful influence over all types of prose writ- ing.
Classical and, to a lesser extent, medieval historians were invariably trained in rhetoric, and this training affected both their presentation of events and the manner in which they addressed themselves to their audience. Rhetorical doctrine held that every speech and, by extension, every text designed to persuade should begin with an introduction Gk.
Sometimes the facts were such that the speaker needed to employ only a simple introduction or none at all. Bliss, A. Jansen, and D. Orton, ed. Orton and R. Anderson Leiden: Brill, , pp. Rhetorica ad Herennium 1. As a result, certain themes became commonplace, sometimes virtually formulaic.
The term conventionally applied to such ste- reotyped literary formulae is topoi, although this is an extension of the original meaning of the word. Most of the topoi of historical prologues—the role of history in preserving the past from the ravages of time, the usefulness of history as a guide for future generations, a source of wisdom for statesmen and generals, and a storehouse of examples to imitate and avoid, the obligation of the historian to tell the truth and remain free of partiality or bias, and the 5 De inventione 1.
Willard R. Trask Princeton, N. In the Middle Ages, however, when innovation and originality were rarely trumpeted and the imitation of authoritative models was seen as a preeminent literary virtue, there was a noticeable hardening of prefatory topoi.
Readers of this volume unfamiliar with the conven- tions of the genre may well be struck by the frequency of authorial references to requests or commands to write from friends or superiors. In Republican Rome literary activity was generally seen as the province of Greeks and men of middling birth, not an activity for well-born Romans; hence, some explanation or excuse for writing had to be offered, and the invocation of a real or fictional commission was the most elegant solution to this problem.
The convention was not adopted by early Greek historians, who as a rule did not dedicate their works, but it begins to appear sporadically in Latin histories in the first cen- tury BCE.
In late Antiquity, however, the combination of a more rigid class structure and the widespread adoption of Christianity led to a shift in the language used to describe the relationships between authors and their dedicatees. In the Middle Ages the topos of commis- sion became virtually ubiquitous, bolstered by the Christian virtues of humil- ity and meekness and the monastic ethic of obedience. Closely linked to the topos of commission is a whole set of commonplaces associated with modesty and hesitation.
As is the case with the topos of com- mission, the first examples are found in the first century BCE. In the prologue to his History of the Church of Rheims, Flodoard of Rheims — , the most methodologically rigorous historian of his generation, offers a series of excuses for the lateness of his work—a lack 14 Pliny the Younger, Epistles 6.
Almost every medieval historian makes some reference to stylistic deficiencies, inadequate knowledge, or inability to measure up to the grandeur of his theme. One dilemma that continues to vex readers is what we are to make of the frequent references to malicious critics and spiteful detrac- tors in the prologues to medieval histories.
We also have ample evidence of a lively give-and-take between rival historians in Antiquity: Thucydides snipes at Herodotus though he does not mention him by name in his introduction, Polybius writes a book-long diatribe against the Sicilian historian Timaeus of Tauromenium, and Herodian begins the prologue to his history by distinguishing himself from other historians who courted fame through their works rather than striving for accuracy.
In the early Middle Ages, however, the climate of literary production changed radically. The collapse of the Roman educational system in the fifth and sixth centuries and the severing of Latin from the Romance vernaculars in the ninth led to the disappearance of a literary public. Ralph Manheim Princeton, N. The Latin language united the small class of literate monks and clerics in the early Middle Ages, giving them a common tongue with which to communicate, but most histories did not circulate widely, and there was no such thing as a reading public.
It goes without saying that such a procedure is fraught with difficulty, but it is one that we should not shy away from if we wish to fully exploit the historical prologue as an interpretative tool, and it is my hope that this volume will prove to be of some assistance in this endeavor. For if the building blocks of the historical prologue remained more or less unchanged throughout Antiq- uity and the Middle Ages, it may be asked what special value an anthology of prologues dismembered from the histories they introduce possesses.
The answer, I believe, is that a diachronic survey of historical prologues can serve two functions. First, interpreting any individual prologue within the context of the genre as a whole makes us less likely to over- or underestimate the importance of any particular statement.
The importance of this absence only becomes clear when we realize of how ubiquitous such claims are in the prologues of other medieval histories. Second, a diachronic survey of historical prologues can help to bring into sharper relief changes in attitudes about the methods and goals of history xvii Prologues to Ancient Medieval History d. In Antiquity, for example, we can see a shift in the practice of history from a primarily research-based activity requiring eyewitness investigation and careful interrogation of witnesses to a more literary pursuit carried out by former politicians and rhetoricians, a shift that is reflected in the surviving prologues.
Thucydides similarly emphasizes the methodological rigor of his approach; his history was based partly on his own observations, he says, and partly on rigorous questioning of eyewitnesses. One looks in vain for similar statements in the prologues of Sallust, Livy, or Tacitus, who emphasize other concerns. In this case a comparison of historical prologues confirms a broader point.
For the early Greek historians history was first and foremost about historia— investigation or enquiry. The Roman historians of the Late Republic and early Principate, by contrast, tended to be retired members of the senatorial class drawing upon their own knowledge and the information available to them at Rome, or rhetoricians rewriting previous sources. The prologues in this volume have been chosen with an eye to the importance of the works they introduce and the authors who wrote them on the one hand, and to the particular qualities of the prologues themselves on the other.
Prologues give us the opportunity to hear the voices of ancient and medieval historians communicating to us directly across a gulf of centuries or millennia, and it is my hope that the reader will experience the same joy in reading and studying these texts that I have.
Nor in most cases can we be certain that the designations assigned to the introductory sec- tions of histories originated with the authors themselves, since they are just as likely to have been added, or changed, by copyists. It is not uncommon for different manuscripts of the same work to refer to the introduction alternately as praefatio, prologus, epistola, and so on. Thus, while I have chosen to reproduce in most cases the terminology used by the most recent editor of the text, the reader should be aware that there is no meaningful distinction between a pro- logue and a preface, and the boundary between either of these and a dedicatory epistle is not always clear.
Among the most important of these authors was Hecataeus of Mile- tus, whom Herodotus mentions as playing a leading role in the Ionian revolt of — BCE. Hecataeus wrote two works that survive in substantial fragments: the Circuit of the Earth Periegesis or Periodos Ges , a geographical survey of Europe, Asia, and Africa in two books, and the Genealogies, in which he attempted to bring order to the tangled and mutually contradictory stories of Greek myth.
Although tantalizingly brief, the open- ing sentence of the Genealogies attests to the rationalizing impulse of the logographers. Hecataeus of Miletus speaks thusly: I write these things as they appear to me to be true. For it seems to me that the accounts [logoi] of the Greeks are many and absurd. Of Herodotus himself we know little. He was born at Halicarnassus in western Asia Minor, but was driven from his native city as a result of his opposition to its Persian-supported tyrant, and he spent time at Athens before settling at Thurii, an Athenian colony in southern Italy.
The Histories suggest that he traveled extensively in the Greek-speaking world and beyond, including to Egypt, southern Italy, the Black Sea, and Babylon, though the validity of these claims is debated.
Herodotus exercised an incalculable influence on subsequent historians, although his wide-ranging, inclusive, and nonjudgmental approach to history writing was rarely imitated.
Source: trans. Justin Lake from Herodoti Historiae, ed. Haiim B. Leipzig: Teubner, —97 , vol. This is the exposition of the inquiries of Herodotus of Halicarnassus, intended so that the deeds of men may not be effaced by time, and the great and won- drous achievements made manifest by both Greeks and non-Greeks may not be without fame, in particular the reason for which they waged war upon one another.
Thucydides himself was an Athenian of Thracian descent. He survived the plague that struck Athens between and and served as general in BCE, when he failed to defend the northern Greek city of Amphipolis from an attack by the Spartan general Brasidas.
For this he was exiled from Athens for twenty years, which gave him the opportunity to witness the rest of the war from the vantage point of Sparta and its allies.
He died sometime after , leaving his history incomplete it breaks off in BCE. He begins by stating his theme and his reasons for choosing it. He concludes with a section on methodology in which he declares that factual accuracy is the governing principle of his work and explains his techniques of speechwriting. The final part of the introduction should be read at least in part as a polemic against Herodotus.
Herodotus is presumably also the target of his famous concluding sentence, a strikingly ambitious claim whose validity has nonetheless been borne out by time. Thucydides, an Athenian, wrote the history of the war between the Pelopon- nesians and the Athenians, beginning at the moment that it broke out, and believing that it would be a great war and more worthy of relation than any that had preceded it.
This belief was not without its grounds. The preparations of both the combatants were in every department in the last state of perfec- tion, and he could see the rest of the Greeks taking sides in the quarrel—those who delayed doing so at once having it in contemplation. Indeed this was the greatest movement yet known in history, not only of the Greeks, but of a large part of the barbarian world—I had almost said of mankind. For though the events of remote antiquity, and even those that more immediately preceded the war, could not from lapse of time be clearly ascertained, yet the evidences that an inquiry carried as far back as was practicable leads me to trust, all point to the conclusion that there was nothing on a great scale, either in war or in other matters.
For instance, it is evident that the country now called Greece [Hellas] had in ancient times no settled population; on the contrary, migrations were of frequent occurrence, the various tribes readily abandoning their homes under the pressure of superior numbers. Without commerce, without freedom of communication either by land or sea, cultivating no more of their territory than the exigencies of life required, without reserves of wealth, never planting the ground for they could not tell when an invader would come and take it all away, and if he did come they had no walls to stop him , thinking that the necessities of daily sustenance could be supplied at one place as well as another, they readily changed their place of habitation, and consequently had neither large cities nor any other significant means available to them.
The richest soils were always most subject to this change of masters, such as the district now called Thessaly, Boeotia, most of the Peloponnese Arcadia excepted , and the most fertile parts of the rest of Greece.
Ancient, Medieval, and Early Modern Online Resources (AMEMOR)
This post is a compilation of our most viewed notes on Indian History, which we think our readers should not miss. Check Indian History notes category, if you want to read the complete archives. For Mains topics like Ancient India and Medieval India are not explicitly mentioned in the syllabus, but culture is included which covers many aspects of ancient and medieval periods. Take a Free Test. History and Culture are very related topics, particularly with respect to ancient and medieval India. Asoka and Buddhism are deeply bonded, the same way we cannot study Shah Jahan without commenting on Taj Mahal.
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History of Sciences in Ancient and Medieval India
Our knowledge of the ancient world has been radically altered by impressive archaeological discoveries over the last two centuries. Yet, even during the nineteenth century British explorers and officials were curious about brick mounds dotting the landscape of northwest India, where Pakistan is today. A large one was located in a village named Harappa see Figure 3.