- Hardcover: 528 pages
- Publisher: Loeb (1 July 1989)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0674993381
- ISBN-13: 978-0674993389
- Product Dimensions: 11.4 x 2.5 x 17 cm
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 847,092 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Minor Works: 014 (Loeb Classical Library) Hardcover – 1 Jul 1989
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About the Author
Other works by the renowned classical scholar, translator, and literary critic Francis Fergusson include "The Idea of a Theater: A Study of Ten Plays," "Sallies of the Mind: Essays," "Trope and Allegory: Themes Common to Dante and Shakespeare," and "Dante's Drama of the Mind: A Modern Reading of the "Purgatorio.
Translator and scholar S. H. Butcher served as editor for the Dover Thift Edition of the "Poetics," as well as for the "Orationes, Volume 1" by Demosthenes. Butcher is also the author of "Aristotle's Theory of Poetry and Fine Art,"
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
In reading this book, one is soothed by the simple and thorough treatment of these investigations. One can understand the workings of a great mind which grew up in the stimulating environment of Athens.
This is especially poignant since we know the environment was rent by war for over 1000 years during which almost no men, except some in the Chinese states, had the leisure to mentally explore ideas and to questions the workings of God, or T'ao.
To the contrary, almost all men destroyed books.
The Muslims treasured the Greek books even though they could not read them. So they preserved a tiny part of the flower of Athens. Some of Aristotle's books were preserved at Alexandria Library in Egypt before it was burned down by the Roman Caesar.
So we must consume these books while they still exist knowing that war continues as ever.
The meat of "On Indivisible Lines" is what it means to say that a line is made of points and what it means to say that something is indivisible. The treatise itself could be confusedly written or corrupted, or the translation might be bad, which I suspect is the case, especially because it is translated among various minor Aristotelian works all by one translator, and one translator is unlikely to have a mastery of both Greek mathematics and Greek botany. For example, I suspect that "potentially commensurate" would be better translated like Heath as "commensurable in square", meaning that their squares (powers) are commensurable.
Because of its discussion of commensurable lines, "On Indivisible Lines" is a necessary source for any study of commensurable and incommensurable magnitudes in ancient Greek geometry, in particular of Euclid V and X. I would like to see a translation of this work done by a mathematician, like Heath. (Mathematician need not mean a member of a mathematics department; rather it is someone who is comfortable reading and writing mathematical proofs, but there are not many philosophers and even fewer classicists who are mathematicians; the best candidate I can think of for a translator Burnyeat.)
The other two important treatises in this collection are "Mechanical Problems" and "On Melissus, Xenophanes, and Gorgias". The other treatises are likely useful for studies of ancient Greek science also, but I doubt they have any importance for mechanics and mathematics.
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