By Mary Jaeger
The good mathematician Archimedes, a Sicilian Greek whose machines defended Syracuse opposed to the Romans in the course of the moment Punic conflict, was once killed by means of a Roman after the town fell, but it's principally Roman assets, and Greek texts geared toward Roman audiences, that look after the tales approximately him. Archimedes' tale, Mary Jaeger argues, hence turns into a locus the place writers discover the intersection of Greek and Roman tradition, and as such it performs an immense function in Roman self-definition. Jaeger makes use of the biography of Archimedes as a hermeneutic device, delivering perception into the development of the normal ancient narrative concerning the Roman conquest of the Greek global and the Greek cultural invasion of Rome.By breaking down the narrative of Archimedes' lifestyles and analyzing how a few of the anecdotes that include it are embedded of their contexts, the publication deals clean readings of passages from either famous and less-studied authors, together with Polybius, Cicero, Livy, Vitruvius, Plutarch, Silius Italicus, Valerius Maximus, Johannes Tzetzes, and Petrarch."Jaeger, in her meticulous and chic learn of other historical debts of his existence and inventions...reveal extra approximately how the Romans thought of their conquest of the Greek global than approximately 'science'."---Helen King, occasions Literary Supplement"An completely marvelous ebook on a really unique and critical subject. As Jaeger explores overlooked texts that jointly inform an incredible tale concerning the Romans' perspectives of empire and their dating to Greek cultural accomplishments, so she has written a big new bankruptcy within the background of technological know-how. a real excitement to learn, from first web page to last."---Andrew Feldherr, affiliate Professor of Classics, Princeton University"This elegantly written and convincingly argued venture analyzes Archimedes as a automobile for reception of the Classics, as a determine for loss and restoration of cultural reminiscence, and as a metaphorical illustration of the advance of Roman id. Jaeger's fastening at the nonetheless really vague determine of the best historical mathematician as a fashion of realizing cultural liminality within the historical international is little short of a stroke of genius."---Christina S. Kraus, Professor and Chair of Classics, Yale University"Archimedes and the Roman mind's eye kinds an invaluable addition to our figuring out of Roman tradition in addition to of the reception of technological know-how in antiquity. it'll make a real contribution to the self-discipline, not just by way of its unique interpretative claims but in addition as a desirable instance of the way we may well stick to the cultural reception of old figures."---Reviel Netz, Professor of Classics, Stanford UniversityCover artwork: Benjamin West. Cicero getting to know the Tomb of Archimedes. Yale collage artwork Gallery. John Hill Morgan, B.A. 1893, LL.B. 1898, M.A. (Hon.) 1929, Fund.
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Additional resources for Archimedes and the Roman Imagination
The internal logic of the Tusculan Disputations presents compelling reasons why the speaker in the dialogue should plac e Archimedes and his death in the bac kground and bring his own image into the fore. The Rhetoric of the Anecdote Even the most casual r eader of the Tusculan Disputations will observe that Archimedes is not the central figu e in this story. After Cicero says that he will compare Dionysius’s life to that of Archimedes, he refers to Archimedes only by pronouns in the genitive, as the unnamed possessor of a tomb (Cuius .
Ego autem . . animum adverti columellam. . ego statim Syracusanis . . dixi). In fact, Cicero alone is the subject of verbs denoting inquiry; after he announces his findin s (Syracusanis . . dixi), the Syracusans join him as the subject of 38 A R C H I M E D E S A N D T H E R O M A N I M A G I N AT I O N the verb accessimus. Other details reinforce the sense of Cicero’s lively and aggressive curiosity: the title quaestor offers a weak pun, since it is derived from the verb quaerere, “to search,” which describes both Archimedes’ life of inquiry (alterius mens rationibus ag itandis exquirendisque alebatur .
12 It begins with a reference to the victors at the Olympian, Isthmian, and Nemian games. 14 Writers, says Vitruvius, “offer advantages that ar e unlimited, forever, to all peoples” (infinitas u ilitates aevo perpetuo omnibus ge ntibus praestant). The preface’s opening sentences, then, set up a ser ies of antitheses: athletes versus writers; bodies versus minds; the limited, temporary, and individual versus the unlimited, permanent, and universal. 15 Moreover, by elaborately paraphrasing the opening of Isocrates’ Panegyricus, Vitruvius conveys implicitly another set of antitheses: Greek original versus Roman rewrite (possibly as a c ounterpart to Isocrates’ antithesis of Greek versus barbarian) and thinker versus writer.
Archimedes and the Roman Imagination by Mary Jaeger