Questions tagged [antiquity]

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28 votes
2 answers
4k views

Roman engineers

It is a common opinion that Romans did not contribute anything to exact sciences, but did contribute much to engineering. (How can it be otherwise, anyone who has been on the territory of the former ...
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7 votes
2 answers
4k views

Did Aristotle note that ships disappear over the horizon hull-first?

I have run across several references to Aristotle's arguments for a spherical earth which claim that he noted that ships sink over horizon hull-first. For instance, Isaac Asimov writes in his essay ...
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7 votes
1 answer
626 views

Were ancient Romans so bad at computations before Arab numerals?

It is often said that Romans (see below) had a terrible number system, which made computations a mess. I do believe this, but I'm suspicious of the claim that nobody had better ways to do computations ...
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  • 165
5 votes
1 answer
1k views

What are Archimedes's contributions to the principle of the screw pump?

I read that the famous screw pumps were used before Archimedes (in the hanging gardens of Babylon for example), and that the Archimedean screw is named after him because he "developed a rigorous ...
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2 votes
2 answers
2k views

How did Ptolemy calculate the distance to the Moon?

I've read somewhere that Hipparchus measured the distance to the Moon using the lunar and solar eclipse and obtained a value of around 67.3 Earth radii. It also says that soon after Ptolemy gave a ...
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