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Is it true that ancient Greek knowledge of mathematics, science, astronomy, engineering, architecture, civilization came from the ancient Minoan civilization and ancient Mycenaean civilizations and not from the ancient Mesopotamians and ancient Egyptians? If this is true, then why are the ancient Egyptians and ancient Mesopotamians credited as the cradles of mathematics, science, astronomy, engineering, architecture, civilization, etc.?

Does this mean that ancient Mesopotamians and ancient Egyptians aren't cradles of mathematics, science, astronomy, engineering, architecture, civilization, etc.?

Seriously, what contributions did ancient Mesopotamians and ancient Egyptians really had on ancient Greeks during the time of Pre-Socratic philosophers such as Thales? Or should we just conclude that ancient Egypt and ancient Mesopotamia had no contributions to ancient Greece?

Evidence suggests that ancient Minoans and ancient Mycenaeans were capable of advanced engineering, including four-story palaces with drainage and beehive tombs. Ancient Minoan hydro-engineering is also generally considered comparable with that of 18th century Europe CE.

If this is really true then it means that the ancient Greeks already possessed knowledge of mathematics, science, astronomy, engineering, and architecture that the ancient Egyptians and ancient Mesopotamians have or even better so they don't have to borrow anything from the ancient Egyptians and ancient Mesopotamians.

Seriously, what's so special about ancient Mesopotamia and ancient Egypt for them to be called as the cradles of mathematics, science, astronomy, engineering, architecture, civilization, etc. compared to other ancient civilizations such as China, India, Indus Valley, Mesoamerica, Hittites, the Minoans, the Mycenaeans, etc.? Are the ancient Egyptians and ancient Mesopotamians just overrated?

Please help me. Thank you.

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  • $\begingroup$ I think, time. They were the first. A lot of older civilizations are known, too, but they were technically much lesser developed. Note, the Lomekwi stone tools are the oldest. 3 million years... $\endgroup$ – peterh - Reinstate Monica Dec 26 '20 at 0:40
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    $\begingroup$ Greek knowledge did not "come" from somewhere else, they developed much of it themselves during the classical period. It was influenced by other places, and Egyptian and Babylonian influences are well documented, as well as Minoan and Mycenaean ones. But Mycenaeans and Hittites came much later than the rest, and the rest are listed as "cradles of civilization", along with Egypt and Mesopotamia, as it is. $\endgroup$ – Conifold Dec 26 '20 at 10:18
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All these assessments about "cradle of civilization" are based on the archeological records that reached us and on surviving texts.

The oldest surviving samples of writing come from Mesopotamia (Sumer) and Egypt. There was a long discussion whether writing was invented in these regions independently or there was some transmission. As I understand, the opinion of majority of scientists is that writing was invented in Mesopotamia first, and then the idea was transmitted to Egypt.

The earliest advanced mathematical and astronomical texts that we possess also come from Mesopotamia. We do not have Minoan or Micenaean mathematical or astronomical texts. Of course this does not prove that they did not exist. (Mesopotamian texts were written on a very durable material, and for this reason they reached us).

Ancient Greek themselves thought that their science comes from Egypt. This is not confirmed by modern science. Roughly speaking, there is nothing in the Egyptian records that we know, that they could teach Thales or Pythagoras. On the other hand the influence of Babylonian astronomy on the Greek astronomy is confirmed by modern research. However, this transmission which we know happened after Macedonian conquests, that is at the much later time than Thales and Pythagoras.

Greek writing comes from the Middle Eastern Phoenician writing, not from the earlier Minoan writing. And Phoenician writing is a remote descendent of Babylonian cuneiform.

It is true that Minoan and Micenaean civilizations existed on the territory of later Greece, but they are not as old as civilizations of Sumer and Egypt. Then, in 12 century BC, all East Mediterranean civilizations, except Egyptian, collapsed. To such extent that writing was forgotten. When it was recovered, it had to be recovered from another source.

Refs. O. Neugebauer, A history of ancient mathematical astronomy,

O. Neugebauer, Exact sciences in antiquity,

Ch. Woods, ed. Visible language. Inventions of writing in the Middle East and beyond.

E. Cline, 1177 B. C. The year Civilization collapsed.

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