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ARITHMETIC AND GEOMETRY IN ANCIENT ROME: SURVEYORS, INTELLECTUALS, AND POETS

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<title> ABSTRACT </title>Cicero's rediscovery of Archimedes' tomb shows the interest for science in Rome when the ruling class used to be educated in Greece. Geometry, practised mainly by the Gromatici, had a more technical character in Italy. Augustine showed a good knowledge of mathematics but, as the Greek language went declining in the West, the cultural and economic exchanges became very rare across the Mediterranean. The perception of this danger induced the best scholars to translate scientific texts into Latin: e.g. Boethius translated Aristotle's logic, Nichomachus' Arithmetica, and Euclid's Elements (a few complex fragments of the latter, with authorial corrections, are found in a palimpsest in Verona). Many poets were also interested in mathematics: Catullus' 5 and 7 re-echoed the numbers of Archimedes, killed by a Roman soldier during the conquest of Syracuse; Virgil, too, found delight in arithmetic; in Constantine's times such attention is testified by Optatianus, and Ausonius offers an interesting example of combinatory geometry.

10.1163/221058709X00024
/content/journals/10.1163/221058709x00024
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2016-12-03

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