Restoring Archimedes...and others.


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Redlands, California
I don't post very often in this Graego Roman forum but I found this article really fascinating about how modern science can restore ancient scrolls of Greek scientists and philosophers:

"To create a book Myronas also used recycled pages from works by the 4th Century Orator Hyperides and other philosophical texts."

One wonders what else is out there that has been given up for lost?

- Art
That's great to read about. :)

Especially as I've been doing a little reading on Archimedes recently, the guy was totally on his own in terms of intellectual accomplishments of the ancient Greek world.

I mean, really - the Sand Rerckoners - a book all about trying to calculate how many grains of sand there are in the universe?!

What's additionally impressive is that for this he decided to use an otherwise heretical system that suggested the earth moved around the sun...
It really gives one pause to wonder what may have been destroyed in events such as the torching and destruction of the ancient library at Alexandria ?

This thread reminded me of some vague learning from school, so I decided to confirm my memories by looking it up.

Around 250 BC, the Greek astronomer and mathematician named Eratosthenes calculated the circumference of the Earth to be about 46,000 kilometers, which is remarkably close to our current measurement. He did this by comparing shadows cast from the Sun at predetermined times in various different places.

It's funny to think that Eratosthenes calculated this over 2000 years ago. Yet, only 500 years ago, many people had come to believe the world was flat!
I've always thought that some of the ancient civilizations had a lot of knowledge and capability and that even with our modern sophistication if we were some how transported back there, we would still be in awe of them. This was brought "home" to me when I once visited the ruins of Chechen Itza ...Engineering feats that would be really be thought impossible with the tools they had.

- Art
I guess it's not 'ancient,' nor Greek, but I was really impressed by the Emperor's Dragon tomb we visited while in China. There were silk garments 2000 years old, made so fine, yet by a method that has been lost and can not be reproduced today.