A Glimpse over Lucio Russo’s Scientific Collapse from First Century BC
9 Pages Posted: 8 Apr 2011 Last revised: 22 Jun 2015
Date Written: April 6, 2011
The collapse of a whole society is nowadays a much prized topic. The environmental questions, the resource scarcity, the nuclear proliferation, the demographic explosion or some other 'apocalyptic’ dangers tell us that our civilization is mortal.
From Gibbon to Tainter, and more recently to Jarred Diamond, the collapse of ancient societies like Roman or Mayan empires was well observed. Nobody ever mentioned a similar collapse of Hellenistic society. Nevertheless, an author, Lucio Russo, discovered an invisible fall down linked to a cultural phenomenon: the science.
Russo consider that a scientific revolution took place in Hellenistic times and was forgotten when the science as a method has been abandoned in Antiquity. A final recovery has been realized only 16 centuries later.
Russo’s contributions uncovers the birth, the decline and the final fall of Hellenistic science and technology in domains like mathematics, mechanics of solids and fluids, topography and geodesy, optics, astronomy, anatomy. The author found some challenging results such as the discovery of the inverse square law of gravitation by some Hellenistic authors.
The paper examine Russo’s supporting hypothesis and researching methodology and may offer subjects for reflection and futures research.
Keywords: scientific collapse, hellenism, scientific method in Antiquity, fossilisation of knowledge, Lucio Russo
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