Greek Science and Scholarship on Technical Texts

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P.Mich. 924, Astronomical table for the calculation of the longitudes of the planet Mars (3rd cent. CE). Image digitally reproduced with the permission of the Papyrology Collection, University of Michigan Library.

My interest in technical terminology and technical disciplines in the Hellenistic period has recently developed into a specific interest in Greek scientific language and Hellenistic science.

My current major research project will be a monograph on Hipparchus’ commentary on Aratus’ Phaenomena (introduction, edition, translation, commentary). This work will combine an in-depth analysis of Hipparchus’ work both as a scientist as well as a commentator (his commentary is the most ancient Hellenistic commentary preserved intact by direct tradition, dating back to the middle of the 2nd century BCE).

This project is part of a larger NSF-funded effort, “The Aratus Project: Astronomy and scientific writing between Aratus, Hipparchus and Aratus’ commentators” (2019-2021) of which I am the PI. The project aims at exploring the reception of Aratus’ Phenomena among his commentators. This project will produce the first full English translation of the commentaries and scholia to Phenomena, making them freely accessible to the general public through an online platform, which will include visualizations (with the help of Geographic Information System staff), and illustrations from the manuscript tradition from antiquity to the Renaissance. This project tis in collaboration with Prof. John Steele, from Brown University, and Prof. Enrico Landi, an astrophysicist, in the Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering Department of the College of  at UM (http://aoss.engin.umich.edu/people/elandi) .

I am also working on a book-project tentatively entitled ‘Doing Science with (Greek) Language’ on the lexicon, syntax, rhetorical styles of the Greek scientific texts.

Hellenistic science 1

Publications:

  1. Technical Languages: Science and Medicine’, in E. J. Bakker (ed.), Blackwell’s Companion to the Ancient Greek Language, Oxford 2010: 338-353.
  2. Scientific Vocabulary’ in G. K. Giannakis (ed.), Brill’s Encyclopedia of Ancient Greek Language and Linguistics, Leiden-Boston 2014, Volume 3: 262-265.
  3. Enlightened King or Pragmatic Rulers? Ptolemaic Patronage of Scholarship and Sciences in Context’, in Ph. Bosman (ed.), Intellectual and Empire in Greco-Roman Antiquity, New York-London 2019: 1-29.
  4. Naming the Phenomena: Technical Lexicon in Descriptive and Deductive Sciences’, in A. Willi (ed.), Formes et fonctions des langues littéraires en Grèce ancienne –Forms and Functions of Literary Languages in Ancient Greece, Fondation Hardt – Entretiens sur l’antiquité classique LXV, Vandoeuvres-Genève 2019: 227-278.