By Mary Jaeger
The good mathematician Archimedes, a Sicilian Greek whose machines defended Syracuse opposed to the Romans through the moment Punic conflict, used to be killed via a Roman after town fell, but it truly is principally Roman assets, and Greek texts geared toward Roman audiences, that look after the tales approximately him. Archimedes' tale, Mary Jaeger argues, therefore turns into a locus the place writers discover the intersection of Greek and Roman tradition, and as such it performs a big position in Roman self-definition. Jaeger makes use of the biography of Archimedes as a hermeneutic instrument, delivering perception into the development of the conventional old narrative in regards to the Roman conquest of the Greek international and the Greek cultural invasion of Rome.By breaking down the narrative of Archimedes' lifestyles and interpreting how a few of the anecdotes that include it are embedded of their contexts, the e-book deals clean readings of passages from either recognized and less-studied authors, together with Polybius, Cicero, Livy, Vitruvius, Plutarch, Silius Italicus, Valerius Maximus, Johannes Tzetzes, and Petrarch."Jaeger, in her meticulous and chic research of alternative historical money owed of his existence and inventions...reveal extra approximately how the Romans considered their conquest of the Greek global than approximately 'science'."---Helen King, occasions Literary Supplement"An completely impressive booklet on a really unique and significant subject. As Jaeger explores missed texts that jointly inform an enormous tale concerning the Romans' perspectives of empire and their courting to Greek cultural accomplishments, so she has written a massive new bankruptcy within the heritage of technology. a real excitement to learn, from first web page to last."---Andrew Feldherr, affiliate Professor of Classics, Princeton University"This elegantly written and convincingly argued venture analyzes Archimedes as a motor vehicle for reception of the Classics, as a determine for loss and restoration of cultural reminiscence, and as a metaphorical illustration of the advance of Roman id. Jaeger's fastening at the nonetheless really vague determine of the best historic mathematician as a fashion of knowing cultural liminality within the historical global is little short of a stroke of genius."---Christina S. Kraus, Professor and Chair of Classics, Yale University"Archimedes and the Roman mind's eye kinds an invaluable addition to our figuring out of Roman tradition in addition to of the reception of technology in antiquity. it'll make a real contribution to the self-discipline, not just by way of its unique interpretative claims but in addition as a desirable instance of ways we could stick with the cultural reception of historic figures."---Reviel Netz, Professor of Classics, Stanford UniversityCover paintings: Benjamin West. Cicero learning the Tomb of Archimedes. Yale college artwork Gallery. John Hill Morgan, B.A. 1893, LL.B. 1898, M.A. (Hon.) 1929, Fund.
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Additional info for Archimedes and the Roman Imagination
3 Finally, I want t o examine the anecdote in the larger c ontext of Hellenistic Greek and Roman cultural interaction. ”4 Here, at least, Cicero’s originality stems from the features of his w riting that mig ht be called the most R oman: the personal, the concrete, and the exemplary. 6 He begins with the Romans Laelius and Cinna: Laelius’s moral standards were impeccable, although he lost a bid for the c onsulship; Cinna won four consulships but murdered noble men and was killed b y his own soldiers.
We can see that Pl utarch presents the “Eureka” story so as to support doubly his diatribe against Epicureanism. Likewise, we can see that Vitruvius has presented his version so as to make it pertinent particularly to his argument about the r ewards due w riters and generally to the greater social context of the preface, that of citizen-writer addressing the princeps. As I tur n in this book t o other par ts of the anec dotal tradition, I will return to some of the ideas raised by this story. The element of r idicule associat ed w ith Archimedes, his abilit y t o call for th laug hter, resurfaces and c ontributes in differ ent ways to the r epresentation of his genius as un-Roman.
13 The dig ression depar ts fr om the or iginal t opic—the happy versus the w retched life, or vita (A)—and moves on to Archimedes’ tomb, with an implied c ontrast between Cicero’s curiosity and kno wledge and the Syracusans’ ignorance and lack of curiosity: when quaestor in Sicily (ego quaestor), Cicero searched out ( indagavi) Archimedes’ tomb, which he says was unknown until then (ignoratum) by the Syracusans (B). The digression then mo ves on t o the verses retained in C icero’s memory (C), the discovery of the mon ument itself (D), Cicero’s proclamation of his discovery (E), and the approach to the monument (d).
Archimedes and the Roman Imagination by Mary Jaeger