Archytas and Optics

  title={Archytas and Optics},
  author={Myles Burnyeat},
  journal={Science in Context},
  pages={35 - 53}
  • M. Burnyeat
  • Published 1 March 2005
  • Physics
  • Science in Context
Argument This paper is detective work. I aim to show that the brilliant Pythagorean mathematician Archytas of Tarentum was the founder of ancient Greek mathematical optics. The evidence is indirect. (1) A fragment of Aristotle preserved in Iamblichus is one of two doxographical notices to mention Pythagorean work in optics. (2) Apuleius credits Archytas with a theory of visual rays which saves the principle that the angle of reflection is equal to the angle of incidence. I argue that the source… 
Astronomical and Optical Principles in the Architecture of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople
Argument Textual and material evidence suggests that early Byzantine architects, known as mechanikoi, were comprehensively educated in the mathematical sciences according to contemporary standards.
The Astronomical Interpretation of Catoptrica
  • B. Mota
  • Physics
    Science in Context
  • 2012
Argument A Catoptrica attributed to Euclid appears in manuscripts amongst treatises dealing with elementary astronomy. Despite this textual background, the treatise has always been read literally as
‘It Makes No Difference’: Optics and Natural Philosophy in Late Antiquity
Whatever the strengths of Aristotle’s account of vision, it would be difficult to reconcile it with later work on geometrical optics. Nonetheless, some Aristotelian commentators in late antiquity –
Lessons from the History of the Concept of the Ray for Teaching Geometrical Optics
There are two indisputable findings in science education research. First, students go to school with some intuitive beliefs about the natural world and physical phenomena that pose an obstacle to the
Geometrical Objects as Properties of Sensibles: Aristotle’s Philosophy of Geometry
There is little agreement about Aristotle’s philosophy of geometry, partly due to the textual evidence and partly part to disagreement over what constitutes a plausible view. I keep separate the
Entre la mentira y la verdad pitagórica: el caso de Arquitas de Tarento.
Since the mid 20th century a new generation of historians started to revise the sources related to the Greek school of thought, in particular Pythagoreanism, singling out the thought and work of a
  • V. Pambuccian
  • Philosophy, Mathematics
    The Review of Symbolic Logic
  • 2016
It is proved that the irrationality of $\sqrt 2$ can be proved in one of the formal theories of the even and the odd, that the proof must involve contradiction, and that therationality of $sqrt {17}$ cannot be proved inside any formal theory.
Aristotle on the metaphysical status of mathematical entities
Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) Cambridge Trust (George and Marie Vergottis Foundation) Pembroke College


The effect of a simile: Empedocles' theories of seeing and breathing.
A curious irony hangs over the two similes of the lantern and the clepsydra which Empedocles used to describe his theories of seeing and breathing, because certain features in the twoSimiles took on a spurious significance as a result of Plato's remodelling of EmpedOCles' theories.
The Authenticity of Archytas fr. 1
In a long note in his epoch-making book on ancient Pythagoreanism Walter Burkert raised some grave doubts about the authenticity of Archytas Fr. 1 which have recently been challenged in an article by
The Evolution of the Euclidean Elements: A Study of the Theory of Incommensurable Magnitudes and Its Significance for Early Greek Geometry
I / Introduction.- I. The Pre-Euclidean Theory of Incommensurable Magnitudes.- II. General Methodological Observations.- III. Indispensable Definitions.- II / The Side and the Diameter of the
“ Archimedes and the Pseudo - Euclidean Catoptrics : Early Stages in the Geometric Theory of Mirrors . ”
  • Archives Internationales d ’ Histoire des Sciences
  • 1985
De Léodamas de Thasosà Philippe d'Oponte. Témoignages et fragments.Édition, traduction et commentaire
  • 1987
Plato on Why Mathematics is Good for the Soul
Le regard, l'être et l'apparence dans l'optique de l'Antiquité
Notes on Apuleius