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Knowledge, Text and Practice in Ancient Technical Writing

$105.00 (C)

Philip van der Eijk, Marco Formisano, Markus Asper, Elisa Romano, Ronny Kaiser, Pilar Pérez Cañizares, Alison Sharrock, Laurence Totelin, Gerard Boter, Klaus Geus, Gerd Grasshoff, Christiane Reitz, Brooke Holmes, Pietro Li Causi
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  • Date Published: April 2017
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107169432

$ 105.00 (C)

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About the Authors
  • The relationship between theory and practice, between norms indicated in a text and their extra-textual application, is one of the most fascinating issues in the history and theory of science. Yet this aspect has often been taken for granted and never explored in depth. The essays contained in this volume provide a multi-layered and nuanced discussion of this relationship as it emerges in ancient Greek and Roman culture in a number of fields, such as agriculture, architecture, the art of love, astronomy, ethics, mechanics, medicine and pharmacology. The main focus is on the textuality of processes of transmission of knowledge and its application in various fields. Given that a text always contains complex and destabilizing aspects that cannot be reduced to the specific subject matter it discusses, to what extent can and do ancient texts support extra-textual applicability?

    • Introduces a much more nuanced way to approach the relationship between theory and practice in ancient science and technology
    • Discusses various fields of knowledge, from the art of love to architecture, medicine and agriculture, from the perspective of the relationship between theory and practice
    • Emphasizes the centrality of the text and of writing to the transmission of knowledge
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    Product details

    • Date Published: April 2017
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107169432
    • length: 294 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 157 x 21 mm
    • weight: 0.56kg
    • contains: 12 b/w illus.
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    1. From words to acts? Philip van der Eijk and Marco Formisano
    2. The poetics of knowledge Marco Formisano
    3. Machines on paper: from words to acts in ancient mechanics Markus Asper
    4. Si quis voluerit: Vitruvius on architecture as 'the art of the possible' Elisa Romano
    5. Caesar's Rhine bridge and its feasibility in Giovanni Giocondo's Expositio pontis Ronny Kaiser
    6. From words to acts: on the applicability of Hippocratic therapy Pilar Pérez Cañizares
    7. Naso magister erat – sed cui bono? On not taking the poet's teaching seriously Alison Sharrock
    8. From technē to kakotechnia: use and abuse of ancient cosmetic texts Laurence Totelin
    9. From discourses to handbook: the Encheiridion of Epictetus as a practical guide to life Gerard Boter
    10. The problem of practical applicability in Ptolemy's Geography Klaus Geus
    11. Living according to the seasons – the power of parapēgmata Gerd Grasshoff
    12. Auctoritas in the garden: Columella's poetic strategy in De re rustica 10 Christiane Reitz
    13. The generous text: animal intuition, human knowledge, and written transmission in Pliny's books on medicine Brooke Holmes
    14. From descriptions to acts: the paradoxical animals of the ancients from a cognitive perspective Pietro Li Causi.

  • Editors

    Marco Formisano, Universiteit Gent, Belgium
    Marco Formisano is Professor of Latin Literature at Universiteit Gent, Belgium. He has published extensively on ancient technical and scientific writing. His first monograph, Tecnica e scrittura (2001), was dedicated to late Latin scientific texts. He has studied the ancient art of war as a literary genre and its tradition (Vegezio: Arte della guerra romana, 2003 and War in Words: Transformations of War from Antiquity to Clausewitz, coedited with H. Böhme, 2012) as well as Vitruvius (Vitruvius in the Round, co-edited with S. Cuomo, special issue of Arethusa, 2016). He is the editor of The Library of the Other Antiquity, a series devoted to late antique literature.

    Philip van der Eijk, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
    Philip van der Eijk is Alexander von Humboldt Professor of Classics and History of Science at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. He has published on ancient medicine, philosophy and science, comparative literature and patristics. He is the author of Aristoteles: De insomniis, De divinatione per somnum (1994), Diocles of Carystus (2000–1), Philoponus on Aristotle on the Soul 1 (2005–6), Medicine and Philosophy in Classical Antiquity (2005); and Nemesius: On the Nature of Man (with R. W. Sharples, 2008). He has edited Ancient Histories of Medicine (1999) and Hippocrates in Context (2005), and co-edited Ancient Medicine in its Socio-Cultural Context (with H. F. J. Horstmanshoff and P. H. Schrijvers, 1995).


    Philip van der Eijk, Marco Formisano, Markus Asper, Elisa Romano, Ronny Kaiser, Pilar Pérez Cañizares, Alison Sharrock, Laurence Totelin, Gerard Boter, Klaus Geus, Gerd Grasshoff, Christiane Reitz, Brooke Holmes, Pietro Li Causi

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