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Roman scientists

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

During the development of their own statehood, the Ancient Romans adapted science and the achievements of the Greeks, which they felt were useful: in the field of military, medicine, art or theater.

This assimilation of Greek patterns began in the second century BCE, when the Greek world conquered by the Romans began to flow into Rome in its best form. Greek architects, medics and writers began to appear in the “Eternal City”, who certainly had a great impact on the development of Roman science.

The older generation of historians was convinced that the ancient Romans had no de facto achievements, because what they used was largely due to the inventions of other peoples. Currently, however, there is a trend saying that the Romans had a great impact on the development of many fields of science: geometry, physics or biology. The desire to research and increase knowledge was often sponsored by rich personalities from the world of Rome who wanted to be remembered as patrons of the arts and patrons of science.

The question is, which ancient Romans could be awarded the title of scientist because of their achievements. There are certainly the following personalities:

  • Cato the Elder – who in his work De agricultura advised how to run a farm well and described plant diseases or plant care.
  • Marcus Terentius Varro – who in his work Res Rusticae presents the best ways to manage large assets well. What’s more, despite the fact that many of his works have not survived, he created a huge number of treatises on mathematics, geography and biology. His works influenced later Roman researchers of Vitruvius or Pliny the Elder.
  • Cicero – who translated many Greek texts and distinguished himself in the fields of philosophy, cosmology and physics.
  • Julius Caesar – his Gallic Wars, apart from the propaganda aspect, carry a huge amount of geographical knowledge. What’s more, Caesar was to write a book about the stars.
  • Lucretius – author of De rerum natura, a work devoted to major Greek discussions on atomism.
  • Publius Nigidiusz Figulus – wrote works (partly preserved) on zoology, astronomy, weather or human nature.
  • Vitruvius – his work De architectura is a true encyclopedia of knowledge about city planning, proportions, building materials, geodesy, astronomy and mechanics .
  • Seneca the Younger – he studied meterology, space, comets, philosophy
  • Columella – devoted himself to agrotechnics. In his twelve books he advised how to run a large farm, grow vines, gardening, raise animals, and what layout is the best.
  • Marcus Manilius – author of a work on astronomy – Astronomica
  • Pomponius Mela – devoted himself to geographical research, including area of ​​the Mediterranean or northern Europe (work De chorographia)
  • Aulus Cornelius Celsus – creator of the De medicina encyclopedia, consisting of 8 parts devoted to medical topics: therapy, surgery, diet.
  • Scribonius Largus – creator of the work Compositones devoted to medicine, which was particularly applicable to gladiators
  • Pliny the Elder – author of the Naturalis Historia encyclopedia, consisting of 36 volumes that deal with animal subjects, plants, minerals.
  • Frontinus – devoted himself to research regarding the military or water systems of Rome – De acquis urbis Romae
  • Galen – researcher of Greek descent, focused on medicine (he drew knowledge from his own experience as a gladiator). He also practiced innovative operations.

Roman inventions and achievements

Sources
  • Mark Cartwright, Roman Science, "Ancient.eu", 6 października 2016

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