The Summit of Ancient Latin Mathematical Competence: Apuleius and Augustine

Publikation: Bidrag til bog/antologi/rapportKonferencebidrag i proceedingsForskningpeer review

Abstract

According to all we know, Latin Antiquity was utterly unfamiliar with the theoretical aspects of mathematics; Quintilian did not know finger reckoning from geometry, while Cicero explains that the Romans were not interested. Authors of handbooks in the liberal arts may know some definitions from the Elements and perhaps some enunciations, but hardly understood what a proof is. Symptomatic is what Latin authors have to tell about Archimedes: the story about his death and his defense of Syracuse; the anecdote about Hieron's crown and Archimedes's exposure of the fraud; his mechanical model of the heavenly system; at most they know that he drew figures. There is never a hint that such figures were connected to geometrical or mechanical proofs, theorems or theory. But there are two exceptions to this rule, both Berbers (Africani), and both conscious of being so: Apuleius of Madaura, and Augustine of Hippo (both obviously much better known for other things). Even though the Western part of Northern Africa acquired the Latin tongue while the Eastern part spoke Greek, some of its intellectuals were drawn to advanced Greek thought in a way those of the remaining Latin world were not, spellbound as the latter were in the charms of rhetoric.
OriginalsprogEngelsk
TitelActes du XIIIe Colloque Maghrébin sur l'Histoire des Mathématiques Arabes (COMHISMA13)
RedaktørerMahdi Abdeljaouad, Hmida Hedfi
Antal sider14
Udgivelses stedTunis
ForlagCOMHISHA
Publikationsdatodec. 2018
Sider157-170
ISBN (Trykt)978-9938-40-399-2
StatusUdgivet - dec. 2018
Begivenhed13ième colloque maghrébin sur l'histoire des mathématiques arabes - Tunis, Tunesien
Varighed: 30 mar. 20181 apr. 2018
Konferencens nummer: 13

Konference

Konference13ième colloque maghrébin sur l'histoire des mathématiques arabes
Nummer13
LandTunesien
ByTunis
Periode30/03/201801/04/2018

Bibliografisk note

Officielt udgivet i 2018, men jeg har først modtaget publikationen den 22. februar

Citer dette

Høyrup, J. (2018). The Summit of Ancient Latin Mathematical Competence: Apuleius and Augustine. I M. Abdeljaouad, & H. Hedfi (red.), Actes du XIIIe Colloque Maghrébin sur l'Histoire des Mathématiques Arabes (COMHISMA13) (s. 157-170). COMHISHA.