antiquity

Constantine and the Battle at the Milvian Bridge

Constantine and the Battle at the Milvian Bridge

On October 28, 312 AD, the Battle of the Milvian Bridge between the Roman Emperors Constantine I and Maxentius took place. Constantine won the battle and started on the path that led him to end the Tetrarchy and become the sole ruler of the Roman Empire. According to historians, the battle marked the beginning of Constantine’s conversion to Christianity and thus fostered the rise of Christianity. Not only Just Another One of those Roman…
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Socrates – Enigmatic Founding Figure of Western Philosophy

Socrates – Enigmatic Founding Figure of Western Philosophy

Socrates was a classical Greek (Athenian) philosopher credited as one of the founders of Western philosophy. He remains an enigmatic figure in philosophy, because he did not leave us a single line of text. He is known chiefly through the accounts of later classical writers, especially the writings of his students Plato and Xenophon. Nevertheless, you might consider his importance in the fact that all Greek philosophers are categorized in philosophers before…
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Pythagoras and his Eponymous Theorem

Pythagoras and his Eponymous Theorem

One of the founders of Western mathematics was the Greek philosopher Pythagoras of Samos. He is often revered as a great mathematician, mystic, and scientist and is best known for the Pythagorean theorem which bears his name. It was said that he was the first man to call himself a philosopher, or lover of wisdom. Anyway, his eponymous theorem possibly is the best known theorem in mathematics. Pythagoras Accurate facts about the life…
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Thales of Miletus – (possibly) the Father of Greek Mathematics

Thales of Miletus – (possibly) the Father of Greek Mathematics

For today’s blog post, there is no birthday of a popular scientist. Moreover, we want to tackle famous people in the history of science, who don’t have a known birthday. This of course holds for many philosophers, mathematicians, or natural scientists of Antiquity or early Middle Ages. Today, we want to start with the father of ancient Greek mathematics, Thales of Miletus. According to Bertrand Russel, Western philosophy (as well as mathematics)…
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Ernst Curtius and the Excavation of Olympia

Ernst Curtius and the Excavation of Olympia

On September 2, 1814, German archaeologist and historian Ernst Curtius was born, who directed the excavation of Olympia from 1875–1881, the most opulent and sacred religious shrine of ancient Greece and site of the original Olympic Games. “It is the relationship to the Eternal that gives us strength and endurance and self-denial; it teaches us in science to distinguish the essential from the unessential; it makes knowledge a virtue and research a…
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Marius and the Battle of the Raudine Plain

Marius and the Battle of the Raudine Plain

On July 30, 101 BC, the Battle of the Raudine Plain took place, which resulted in the Roman victory of Consul Gaius Marius over the invading Germanic tribe of the Cimbri near the settlement of Vercellae in Cisalpine Gaul. The entire tribe of the Cimbri was virtually wiped out and the plans of the Germanic tribes of an invasion of Rome was put to an end. “[Now a danger occurred] that threatened Italy from…
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Mary the Jewess and the Origins of Chemistry

Mary the Jewess and the Origins of Chemistry

Mary the Jewess (also known as Maria Prophetissima or Miriam the Prophetess) is a figure who first appeared in the works of the Gnostic Christian writer Zosimos of Panopolis, whose sources for this are not clear. On the basis of Zosimos’s comments, she lived between the first and third centuries A.D. She is credited with the invention of several kinds of chemical apparatus and is considered to be the first true alchemist of the…
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The Encyclopaedia of Saint Isidore of Seville

The Encyclopaedia of Saint Isidore of Seville

On April 4, 636, Saint Isidore of Seville, Archbishop of Seville, passed away. He is referred to as “the last scholar of the ancient world. In his encyclopaedia Etymologiarum sive originum libri XX he compiled the knowledge of antiquity still existing in the west of the Mediterranean around 600, combined it with patristics and made it available to his time. Isidor was one of the most widely read authors of the Middle…
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Aristarchus of Samos – Putting the Sun at the Right Place

Aristarchus of Samos – Putting the Sun at the Right Place

About 310 BC, ancient Greek astronomer and mathematician Aristarchus of Samos was born. He presented the first known model that placed the Sun at the center of the known universe with the Earth revolving around it. As Anaxagoras before him, he also suspected that the stars were just other bodies like the Sun. His astronomical ideas were often rejected in favor of the geocentric theories of Aristotle and Ptolemy. “The earth is…
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Euclid of Alexandria – the Father of Geometry

Euclid of Alexandria – the Father of Geometry

At about 330 BC, Euclid of Alexandria was born, who often is referred to as the Father of Geometry. His Elements is one of the most influential works in the history of mathematics, serving as the main textbook for teaching mathematics (especially geometry) from the time of its publication until the late 19th or early 20th century. In the Elements, Euclid deduced the principles of what is now called Euclidean geometry from…
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