This handbook synthesizes what is known and debated about science in the classical world of ancient Greece and Rome, also touching briefly on Egypt, Mesopotamia, India, and China. Each of its many essays provides a synthesis and synopsis of the concepts and models of one of the ancient natural sciences.
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With a focus on science in the ancient societies of Greece and Rome, including glimpses into Egypt, Mesopotamia, India and China, The Oxford Handbook of Science and Medicine in the Classical World offers an in depth synthesis of science and medicine circa 650 BCE to 650 CE.
The Handbook comprises five sections, each with a specific focus on ancient science and medicine. The second section covers the early Greek era, up through Plato and the mid-fourth century bce. The third section covers the long Hellenistic era, from Aristotle through the end of the Roman Republic, acknowledging that the political shift does not mark a sharp intellectual break. The fourth section covers the Roman era from the late Republic through the transition to Late Antiquity. The final
section covers the era of Late Antiquity, including the early Byzantine centuries. The Handbook provides through each of its approximately four dozen essays, a synthesis and synopsis of the concepts and models of the various ancient natural sciences, covering the early Greek era through the fall of the
Roman Republic, including essays that explore topics such as music theory, ancient philosophers, astrology, and alchemy.
The Oxford Handbook of Science and Medicine in the Classical World guides the reader to further exploration of the concepts and models of the ancient sciences, how they evolved and changed over time, and how they relate to one another and to their antecedents. There are a total of four dozen or so topical essays in the five sections, each of which takes as its focus the primary texts, explaining what is now known as well as indicating what future generations of scholars may come to
know. Contributors suggest the ranges of scholarly disagreements and have been free to advocate their own positions. Readers are led into further literature (both primary and secondary) through the comprehensive and extensive bibliographies provided with each chapter.