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Scientific Culture in Late Antiquity


The purpose of this project is to explore the phenomenon of scientific culture in Late Antiquity. The focus is on literary, archaeological or other evidence which throws light on the scientific developments of the period, especially in view of the relationships between theoreticians, practitioners, scientists, engineers, industrialists, traders, politicians, religious and military personnel.

One major focus of the project is on the role of the commentary as a medium for transmitting (besides other forms of knowledge) technical and scientific knowledge.

Aims of Project

The project involves the study of a wide range of late-antique literary sources and archaeological evidence including images.

One of the main aims of the project is to develop a better understanding of the link between theoretical knowledge and the conditions under which such knowledge was (or was not) converted into technological and scientific progress.

The project is interdisciplinary and involves collaborators from History, Archaeology, Classical Studies, and Theology and Religious Studies.


Areas of Development

The following list contains examples of areas in which the project has developed in recent years:

Baths and Bathing in Late Antiquity

Earthquakes in Late Antiquity - explaining them, predicting them and coping with them in theory and practice

'God's Gadget' - thinking and speaking the mechanical universe in Late Antiquity