The book wishes to postulate the old myth of a Greek golden age - distinct in some way (he isn't really clear how, one suspects the old spiel about mythos and logos) from the highly scientific Western Asian cultures (which indeed significantly influenced Greece) and somehow directly touching our own. Its cute and very old school, I suspect its fine enough for the general market where it has won some supporters but I don't know I'm very wary.
Scribo wrote:Overall its more myth than history, but the fact is there aren't enough general books on the subject. Still, the author is transparent about his aims at least and occasionally seems to admit the paucity of his evidence and tenuousness of his readings and I seriously applaud that.
Scribo wrote:EDIT: Just realised, quick review aside I didn't add anything of my own points. I work very closely with Greek technical literature on poetry, philology, music and metrics etc and I definitely don't think you can get anything like a modern scientific world-view from them and this is a really anachronistic attitude. Again, this is the Victorian mythic view of the Greek process shining through. I do agree that the ideas that the ancients had no practical sense for Science is silly - just look at their city planning. The Romans are a great example. I know its oddly fashionable to think of Greeks as cultured nice guys and the Romans as barbarians but really for Science, Engineering and so on we must really turn to them. In general though I'm very much in line with the mainstream position on this: modern Science comes from the Arabs (with requisite Greek, Indic, Persian and Mesopotamian influence, ofc!) but otherwise in the ancient world we tend to look towards Mesopotamia and India.
Scribo wrote:Worse, several seriously important studies on Greek science are missing (Fowler, Betz, Von Stez et all, not to mention ALL the work on Harmonics and Linguistics...so...). Actually the bibliography seems deliberately skewed towards older out of date works, and volume beats out quality here.
Scribo wrote:Betz indeed talks about religion but also of enquiry and philosophy, a good example of how the Greek mind works. Michael Fowler is a physicist and his readings of the Greek stuff is a bit sort of non contextual but close enough and accessible. G.E.R Lloyd is basically the biggest name around in this area, enormously influential, the producer of several studies. <snip>.
Markos wrote:The Scientific Revolution could not have taken place without a rejection, or a virtual rejection, of the view that events takes place through supernatural intervention. Science, I think, rejects this and posits that events occur through natural laws and random chance.
So the war proceeds. History turns not on random chance and natural laws but on the will of the gods.
Homer either believes this, or he is making fun of a view that is already being becoming passe. If the latter, we have to push the beginnings of the Scientific Revolution all the way back to our very earliest European source.
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