Science In Antiquity
Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks
Date: February 2006
Duration: 2 hours 56 minutes
After 3500 B.C., when cuneiform writing was developed and recorded history began, science first emerged among stargazing astronomer-priests in ancient west Asia. The gods were identified with the stars (which could influence events on earth); "foundation cosmologies" expressed a view of how the world began, usually with flood themes related to the end of the Ice Age in 8000 B.C.. After the 5th century B.C., Greek thinkers (such as Thales, Pythagoras, Euclid, Protagoras, Democritus, and Archimedes) began to challenge the myths of Homeric poetry; they developed logic and philosophy as new ways of knowing. Epicurus developed a materialistic philosophy, based on Democritus' theory of atoms. Zeno and his Stoic philosophy opposed Epicureanism, finding reality in an ever-present vital spirit that controls the physical world. Hippocrates founded medical practice on the theory that the body has four humors (blood, phlegm, yellow bile, and black bile); the 1st century Roman physician, Galen, later produced anatomical studies that would remain influential until the Renaissance. Galen's contemporary, Ptolemy, produced a cosmology that also would last almost 1500 years. Plato had used reason to envision truth and to discern the unchanging laws or principles of nature - but his ideas were often detached from observation and experience. Aristotle, in the 4th century B.C., relied much more heavily on direct observation of nature's objects and processes; he is regarded as the first empiricist. Aristotle's on cosmology, physical cause and effect, and the basic elements (fire, earth, water, and air) were to prevail for 2000 years.
"Edwin Newman dominates the narration, with his sandy, familiar voice guiding listeners through past millennia without haste. He handles the vocabulary of earlier civilizations and foreign places with ease."-AudioFile