Roman view of Romans and Mathematics



Vergil

     Others with greater subtlety will hammer out breathing images
from bronze … and will, from marble, draw forth the faces of
living men.  They will plead cases better, describe with a staff
the course of the heavens, and predict the rising of the stars;
You, O Roman, must remember to rule with might over nations. 
Let these be your arts, to crown tradition with peace, to spare the
conquered, and to humble the proud.
From: The Aeneid.
 

 

Cicero

     With the Greeks geometry was regarded with the utmost
respect, and consequently none were held in greater honor
than mathematicians, but we Romans have delimited the
size of this art to the practical purposes of measuring and calculating.
From: Tusculan Disputations.




Vitruvius 

Geometry affords much aid to the architect: to it he owes the use
of the right line and circle, the level and the square; whereby his
delineations of buildings on plane surfaces are greatly facilitated.
The science of optics enables him to introduce with judgment
the requisite quantity of light, according to the aspect. Arithmetic
estimates the cost, and aids in the measurement of the works;
this, assisted by the laws of geometry, determines those abstruse
questions, wherein the different proportions of some parts to
others are involved.

From: de Architectura,

Up to Day 27.



Up to Ancient and Classical Mathematics


Last modified: 6 December 2003
Duncan J. Melville

Comments to dmelville@stlawu.edu