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Division of angles and circles

(923 words)

[German version] I. Ancient Orient see  Mathematics I Folkerts, Menso (Munich) II. Classical Antiquity [German version] A. Division of circles The division of circles, i.e. the division of the circumference of a circle into any number of arcs of equal length, is directly correlated to the regular polygons: if a regular n-gon is inscribed in a circle, the circumference of the circle is divided into n sections and the angle at the centre belonging to the side of the n-gon has the value 360°/ n . The Pythagoreans ( Pythagoras [2]) were already interested in the regular polygons a…

Diophantus

(1,146 words)

(Διοφαντός; Diophantós). [German version] [1] Writer of comedies Author of comedies, dates unknown; one fragment and the title of one play (Μετοικιζόμενος) have been preserved. Nesselrath, Heinz-Günther (Göttingen) Bibliography 1 PCG V, 42. [German version] [2] Commander under Mithridates VI Eupator From Sinope, son of Asclepiodotus, commander to Mithridates VI Eupator. In 110 BC he provided skilful military and diplomatic support to the inhabitants of the city of Chersonesus and thus enabled them to withstand the Scythians (Str. 7,3,1…

Land surveying

(895 words)

[English version] The writings of the Roman surveyors ( agrimensores) deal with their various areas of activity: measurement of areas; limitation, i.e. division by orthogonal boundaries; creation of land registers and general parceling maps; functioning as a judges or experts in land law, particularly in boundary disputes; collaboration in religious ceremonies; units of length and area, weights and determining area and volume. Mathematical questions are dealt with most notably by Balbus' work Expositio et ratio omnium formarum (ca . AD 100), the anonymous Liber podismi and a wo…

Polyidus

(381 words)

(Πολύιδος/ Polýidos, Latin Polyidus). [German version] [1] Mythical seer and miracle-worker from Corinth ('of wide learning'). Mythical seer and miracle-worker from Corinth (cf. Cic. Leg. 2,33), descendant of Melampus [1] (Pherecydes FGrH 3 F 115a; Paus. 1,43,5), spouse of Eurydameia, father of Euchenor (Hom. Il. 13,663-668; cf. Cic. Div. 1,89), Cleitus [2], Astycrateia and Manto (not identical with the seeress Manto). His powers are testified to by numerous accounts of his assitence: in Corinth, for example…

Attalus

(2,358 words)

(Ἄτταλος; Áttalos). [German version] [1] Friend of  Philippus, rival of Alexander the Great at the court of his father Friend of  Philippus who did not punish him for an insult inflicted on Pausanias. At the wedding of his niece Cleopatra (II) to Philippus (337 BC) he called  Alexander [4] the Great a nothos (illegitimate son) and was attacked by him, whereupon Alexander and Olympias were banned (Plut. Alex. 9 among others). With his father-in-law (Curt. 6,9,18) Parmenion, he commanded the invading army in Asia. After Philippus' death, Alexander …

Aristarchus

(2,018 words)

(Ἀρίσταρχος; Arístarchos). [German version] [1] Athenian politician (end of the 5th cent. BC) Athenian politician, in 411 BC the most embittered opponent of the demos among the 400 Oligarchs in Athens (Thuc. 8,90,1). A. participated in the fortification of  Eetioneia when he was strategos (Xen. Hell. 2,3,46). After the regime was toppled, he betrayed the border fortification Oenoe to the Boeotians (Thuc. 8,98), for which he was executed in 406 (?) (Lycurg. Leocr. 115; PA, 1663; Traill PAA, 164155). Meier, Mischa (Bielefeld) [German version] [2] of Tegea Tragedian, 5th cent. BC Tragedi…

Serenus

(635 words)

[German version] [1] Quinctius S. Sammonicus Author of a collection of recipes (also Quintus Serenius). Author of the Liber Medicinalis, a collection of therapeutic recipes which can be neither dated nor identified; Q. has at times been identified with S. [2] Sammonicus or with his son (Septimius [II 6] S. Sammonicus; both died at the beginning of the 3rd cent. AD). The collection (dating between the 2nd and 4th cents. AD) cannot be chronologically ordered with any accuracy. It is written in hexameters and contain…

Hippocrates

(5,685 words)

(Ἱπποκράτης; Hippokrátēs). [German version] [1] Father of Peisistratus, from Brauron Father of  Peisistratus. H. is presumed to have come from Brauron, the later deme of Philaidai, and traced his ancestry back to Neleus (Hdt. 1,59; 5,65; Plut. Solon 10; 30). Patzek, Barbara (Wiesbaden) Bibliography Traill, PAA 538385. [German version] [2] Son of Megacles from Athens, approx. 6th cent. BC Son of the Alcmaeonid ( Alcmaeonids)  Megacles from Athens, born around 560 BC, H. was the brother of Cleisthenes, the father of  Megacles and Agariste [2] and thus th…

Nicon

(255 words)

(Νίκων; Níkōn). [German version] [1] Theban military leader, 413 BC Theban leader of 300 Boeotian hoplites who, together with some Spartan units, crossed over to Sicily in 413 BC in order to defend Syracuse (Thuc. 7,19,3). Beck, Hans (Cologne) [German version] [2] Comedy writer, 4th/3rd cent. BC Comedy writer of the 4th or 3rd cent. BC; there is a preserved fragment of a play Kitharōdós, in which apparently the direct speech of a non-Greek slave is quoted (fr. 1). Bäbler, Balbina (Göttingen) Bibliography 1 PCG 7, 1989, 38. [German version] [3] Co-founder of the anti-Roman alliance of…

Theon

(2,323 words)

(Θέων; Théōn). [German version] [1] Greek painter from Samos, 300 BC and after T. of Samos was a Greek painter of the Hellenistic Period, who was active around and after 300 BC. His skill as a creator of images and the successful way in which his paintings were composed were praised in handbooks of rhetoric (e.g. Quint. Inst. 12,10,6) as examples to be followed. The viewer's creative imagination and intuitive understanding were meant to be stimulated at the same time by means of the artistic phantasía (Lat. ingenium, 'image creation'; Phantasia), so that the viewer might imagine e…

Number

(5,221 words)

I. Mesopotamia [German version] A. Numerical systems Before systems for representing numbers in writing were (further) developed, counting stones, known as calculi or tokens, were used in arithmetic. As first-order representations they enabled operations such as increasing, decreasing, combining, separating, and distributing. Their relationship to the numerical notations recorded in the oldest ‘texts’ ( c. 3300 BC; Uruk) is still discussed [2]. The numerical signs in these texts do not represent absolute numbers but context-dependent units of count…

(1,369 words)

(ὁ τοῦ κύκλου τετραγωνισμός/ ho toû kýklou tetragōnismós, Latin quadratura circuli). [German version] I. The nature of the problem The quadrature of the circle is one of the three 'classic problems' (the other two being the trisection of an angle, cf. division of angles and circles, and the duplication of the cube) of ancient Greek mathematics. The problem is to find the side x of a square such that its area is equal to the area of a circle with radius r using a geometric procedure; that is,  to determine the value of the variable x in the equation x 2 = π r 2. Accordingly, the solution to the q…

Theudius

(210 words)

[German version] (Θεύδιος; Theúdios). Mathematician and philosopher from Magnesia, probably 4th century BC. The only information about him comes from the catalogue of mathematicians in Proclus's [2] commentary on Euclid [1. 67, Z. 12-20]. T. is mentioned there after Eudoxus [1] and before Philippus of Medma, who was a pupil of Plato [1]; Therefore, T. was probably a contemporary of Aristotle [6]. According to Proclus, T., Menaechmus [3] and Deinostratus conducted research together at the Academy ( Akadḗmeia ), improved the arrangement of the 'Elements', and put many limited pr…

Eutocius

(168 words)

[German version] (Eυτόκιος; Eutókios) The mathematician E. of Ascalon was presumably born around AD 480; the widespread assumption that he was a pupil of the architect  Isidorus of Miletus is hardly plausible [1. 488]. He wrote commentaries on three works of  Archimedes [1] ( Perì sphaíras kaì kylíndrou, Περὶ σφαίρας καὶ κυλίνδρου, kýklou métrēsis, κύκλου μέτρησις, Perì epipédōn isorrhopiôn, Περὶ ἐπιπέδων ἰσορροπιῶν, text editions [3. 1-319]) as well as on the first four books of Apollonius' Kōniká (Κωνικά) [13] (dedicated to  Anthemius [3], text edition [4. 168-361]…

Gnomon

(272 words)

[German version] [1] see Groma see  Groma (surveying) Folkerts, Menso (Munich) [German version] [2] see Clocks see  Clocks (time measurement) Folkerts, Menso (Munich) [German version] [3] Arithmetic technical term Arithmetic technical term from Greek numerical theory. The term was adopted from geometry, where the gnomon describes the shape of an angle bar that remains when a smaller square is removed from a larger square. The Pythagoreans represented arithmetic series with geometrically arranged dots (pebbles) in the form of figures, so t…

Philo

(5,673 words)

[German version] I Greek (Φίλων/ Phíl ōn). [German version] [I 1] Athenian politician Athenian from Acharnae who was exiled by the Oligarchic regime in 404 BC (Triakonta). During the civil war, he lived as a metoikos (resident without Attic citizenship) in Oropos awaiting the outcome of events. Following his return, when he applied to join the boulḗ he was accused of cowardice and other misdemeanours at a dokimasia investigation (Dokimasia) (Lys. 31; possibly 398 BC). Walter, Uwe (Cologne) Bibliography Blass, vol.1, 480f.  Th.Lenschau, A. Raubitschek, s.v. P. (2), RE 19, 2526f. …

Mechanical method

(255 words)

[German version] The ‘Method (Ἔφοδος; Éphodos) of Archimedes [1] is our source for his mechanical method from which he derived geometric formulas. To compare the surfaces of two figures, he disassembled each into an infinite number of parallel lines and balanced them on a scale. On one side of the scale, one surface is hung up at one point, i.e., as a whole. On the other side, the surface is hung up along the entire arm, i.e., each layer remains where it is and acts with a different leverage. When ea…

Axi­om

(143 words)

[German version] In the same way as postulates, axioms were presumably introduced in conflict with Eleatic philosophy in order to enable the acceptance of the existence of the manifold [1. 322-325; 2; 3]. According to Aristotle, axioms are central to every branch of knowledge, particularly the law of contradiction and the principle of the excluded middle (Metaph. Γ 3,1005a19-b27); for the organization of the fundamental principles of a branch of knowledge wherein proof is sought see Aristot. An. p…

Mathematics

(3,425 words)

Folkerts, Menso (Munich) [German version] A. Introduction (CT) Taking their point of departure from the mathematical accomplishments of the Egyptians and Babylonians, the Greeks remodelled mathematics into a deductive system based on a theory of proof. For the Greeks, unlike for their predecessors, mathematics was a science practiced for its own sake, which also investigated its own foundations; thus, practical considerations and directly numerical problems faded into the background. The main accomplish…

Hermotimus

(132 words)

[German version] [1] Prisoner of war from Pedasa Prisoner of war from Pedasa, who, according to Hdt. 8,104f., as a eunuch, had become one of the closest confidants of  Xerxes I and is said to have taken his revenge on the slave trader Panionius (Ath. 6,266e attests that the story was well known).  Eunuchs Wiesehöfer, Josef (Kiel) Bibliography 1 P. Briant, Histoire de l'empire perse de Cyrus à Alexandre, 1996, 283-288 2 P. Guyot, Eunuchen als Sklaven und Freigelassene, 1980, Register s.v. [German version] [2] Mathematician from Colophon of Colophon, mathematician. He continued …