Ancient Science and Society (CLA3264)

15 credits

Was there such a thing as science in antiquity? If so, what did it look like, and who were its practitioners? Why did they do science, and what methods did they employ? For example, did they carry out what we would recognise as experiments? This module will explore a variety of different kinds of scientific research carried out in the Greek and Roman worlds. It seeks to understand why and how particular projects were formulated and developed, how exactly they were pursued, the diversity of ways in which the results were disseminated, and how all of this was influenced by specific historical and cultural conditions. It also looks at what distinctive features there might be in Greek and Roman science, and how ancient scientists grappled with the problems of convincing their audience and constructing authority.

All texts will be studied in translation, and there are no formal prerequisites for this module.