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22 votes
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Why are there no known Roman mathematicans from the Roman Empire?

The Roman Empire did not consist of Latin-speaking "Romans" only. It included Greece, North Africa and parts of what we now call the Middle East. Probably, a majority of the inhabitants of ...
Alexandre Eremenko's user avatar
9 votes
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What did ancient near eastern protoscience believe about germination?

The Encyclopedia of Seeds: Science, Technology and Uses, edited by J. Derek Bewley, Michael Black, Peter Halmer, CABI International 2006 (Entry: History of seed research) cites some ancient ...
Margaret Friedland's user avatar
9 votes

How did Romans do multiplications?

They used abacus. The techniques used for operations with abacus were understood and were basically the same used also until quite recent time also in China and Japan, as far as I know. This does not ...
Nicola Ciccoli's user avatar
9 votes
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Beware the Ides of March!

No, I assure you, this nonsense was not taught at schools, at least in Soviet Union (I am not sure what is possible in Russia now). This is just a typical Russian "pop historian" interpretation, a ...
Alexandre Eremenko's user avatar
8 votes

How did Romans do multiplications?

You should be more specific when you say "Romans". If you mean ancient Romans, almost no mathematical text survived in Latin from the times before 2nd century AD. From the Roman empire we mostly have ...
Alexandre Eremenko's user avatar
8 votes

Where did Ptolemy compare the Earth to the distance of fixed stars?

Ptolemy's argument can be simply explained in plain English. If the distance to stars was comparable to the size of the Earth, the stars would experience a diurnal parallax, that is the visible ...
Alexandre Eremenko's user avatar
7 votes
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How was gravity explained in Ancient Greek and Roman times?

See Aristotle's Natural Philosophy. According to Aristotle, change in the natural world can be : [either] in accordance with the nature of the object — in which case the change is natural (phusei) or ...
Mauro ALLEGRANZA's user avatar
7 votes
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Did the ancient Romans know and use the catenary test when building arches and bridges?

Not in any explicit way. The observation that compression forces in an arch invert tension forces in a cable, which led to the "catenary test" for arch shapes, was only made by Hooke c. 1670....
Conifold's user avatar
  • 77.9k
6 votes

Gate 44 at the Colosseum in Rome: XLIIII or XLIV? When and why the change?

Literature on the subject seems to agree about the fact that purely additive forms, as IIII, are the most ancient forms and the preferred forms in early Roman times, and the subtractive forms as IV ...
BakerStreet's user avatar
  • 1,183
6 votes
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Why did the romans use IV and why doesn't it overcomplicate things?

I'd like to add my comment as an answer to have memory of a side comment. As I was saying the subtractive notation was a way of sparing characters in carving and this is the reason behind it becoming ...
Nicola Ciccoli's user avatar
6 votes
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How could the Roman Empire manage their accounting without a proper number system?

Romans used tricks for arithmetic that worked well enough, see Roman Numerals and Arithmetic on ScienceBlogs. Addition and subtraction was quite simple, as for multiplication: "Multiplication using ...
Conifold's user avatar
  • 77.9k
5 votes
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Were ancient Romans so bad at computations before Arab numerals?

No, Romans were not at all bad at computations before Arab numerals were introduced to them. In fact, Romans had a perfectly fine way of doing computations that was every bit as good as Arabic ...
Big Brother's user avatar
  • 2,187
5 votes

Why are there no known Roman mathematicans from the Roman Empire?

In ancient Rome doing calculations with Roman numerals was a very cumbersome procedure which impeded the development of mathematics. Interestingly, ancient Rome also had no prominent scientists or ...
freecharly's user avatar
4 votes

How was gravity explained in Ancient Greek and Roman times?

The aristotelian theory affirmed that there was a natural 'affinity' between substances that were alike. Thus, a stone fell towards the ground because of a natural, telluric affinity, and fire/smoke ...
xxavier's user avatar
  • 704
3 votes

Was it understood in the first century AD that some diseases are sexually transmitted?

This is outside my area of expertise. From a cursory reading of the literature I get the impression that at present there is no clarity on what sexually transmitted diseases known today were actually ...
njuffa's user avatar
  • 6,939
3 votes

Roman engineers

One of the most important contributions of Latins to engineering was road-building. This certainly pre-dates contacts with the Greek civilization: so called "strade consolari" departing from Rome (...
Nicola Ciccoli's user avatar
2 votes
Accepted

Where did Ptolemy compare the Earth to the distance of fixed stars?

Almagest, Book 1, chap. 5 contains what you are looking for.
sand1's user avatar
  • 2,422
2 votes

Did the ancients know about the law of universal gravitation?

I agree with the answer from @Alexander Eremenko, as well as with @Mauro Allegranza's useful remark about ancient ideas related to (but not the same as) gravity. Also the following observations may be ...
terry-s's user avatar
  • 4,630
2 votes

Did the ancients know about the law of universal gravitation?

This is controversial. This passage from Plutarch (and some other evidence) has been thoroughly analyzed by Lucio Russo in several papers, and in his book: Forgotten revolution: how science was born ...
Alexandre Eremenko's user avatar
1 vote

Gate 44 at the Colosseum in Rome: XLIIII or XLIV? When and why the change?

When, was during the "Renaissance period, long after the fall of the Roman empire". Why is more difficult to ascertain. There are a number of speculative reasons. As you state, IIII was the ...
Fred's user avatar
  • 348

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