CHAPTER IX. SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE AMONG THE ROMANS.
REFERENCES. - An exceedingly learned work has recently been issued in London, by Parker and Son, on the Astronomy of the Ancients, by Sir George Cornwall Lewis, though rather ostentatious in his parade of authorities, and minute on points which are not of much consequence. Delambre's History of Ancient Astronomy has long been a classic, but richer in materials for a history than a history itself. There is a valuable essay in the Encyclopedia Britannica, which refers to a list of authors, among which are Biccoli, Weilder, Bailly, Playfair, La Lande. Lewis makes much reference to Macrobius, Vitruvius, Diogenes Laertius, Plutarch, and Suidas, among the ancients, and to Ideler, Unters. uber die Art. Beob. der Alten.
Whewell's History of the Inductive Sciences may also be consulted with profit. Leclerc, Hist, de Med.; Spengel, Gesch. der Arzneykunde. Strabo's Geography is the most valuable of Antiquity. See also Polybius.
[Relocated Footnote: The style of modern historical criticism may thus be exemplified, like the discussions of the Germans, whether the Arx on the Capitoline Hill occupied the northeastern or southwestern corner, which take up nearly one half of the learned article in Smith's Dictionary, on the Capitoline. "Thales supposed the earth to float on the water, like a plank of wood": [Greek: oi d hudatos keisthai touton gar archaiotaton pareilaephamen ton logon hon phasin eipein thalae ton Milaesion]. Aristot., De Coel., ii. 13: "Quoe sequitur Thaletis ineptq sententia est. Ait enim terrarum orbem aqua sustineri. " Seneca, Nat. Quoest., iii. 13. This notion is mentioned in Schol. Iliad, xiii. 125. This doctrine Thales brought from Egypt. See Plut., Pac., in. 10; Galen, c. 21. But this maybe doubted. Callimach., Frag., 94; Hygin, Poet. Astr., ii. 2; Martin, Timee de Platon., tom. ii. p. 109, thinks it questionable whether Thales saw Egypt. Diog. Laert., viii. 60. Compare, however, Sturz, Thales, p. 80; Proclus, in Tim., i. p. 40;Schol. Aristophanes, Nub., ii. 31; Varro, ii. vi. 10. See also, Ideler Chron., vol. i. p. 300. But Brandis sheds light upon the point, though his suggestions conflict with Origen, Phil., p. 11; also with Aristotle,De Coel., ii. 13.
This style of expending learning on nothing, meets with great favor with the pedants, who attach no value to history unless one half of the page is filled with erudite foot-notes which few can verify, and which prove nothing, or nothing of any consequence.]