Science in classical antiquity

Aspect of history / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Science in classical antiquity encompasses inquiries into the workings of the world or universe aimed at both practical goals (e.g., establishing a reliable calendar or determining how to cure a variety of illnesses) as well as more abstract investigations belonging to natural philosophy. Classical antiquity is traditionally defined as the period between 8th century BC and the 6th century AD, and the ideas regarding nature that were theorized during this period were not limited to science but included myths as well as religion. Those who are now considered as the first scientists may have thought of themselves as natural philosophers, as practitioners of a skilled profession (e.g., physicians), or as followers of a religious tradition (e.g., temple healers). Some of the more widely known figures active in this period include Hippocrates, Aristotle, Euclid, Archimedes, Hipparchus, Galen, and Ptolemy. Their contributions and commentaries spread throughout the Eastern, Islamic, and Latin worlds and contributed to the birth of modern science. Their works covered many different categories including mathematics, cosmology, medicine, and physics.

The Ptolemaic system of celestial motion as depicted in the Harmonia Macrocosmica (1661).