“Introducing the Ancient Greeks”

am reading edith hall’s Introducing the Ancient Greeks. good stuff! (^_^) here’re some excerpts that i posted to twitter:

read all about phalaris, the most tyrannical of (sicilian) greek tyrants, here. *gulp*

(i know! i know! the greeks didn’t wear togas, it was the romans. i know!)

(note: comments do not require an email. oh noes!)


  1. A great book that talks about The Greeks and East and West is “East And West” by C. Northcote Parkinson (1963).


  2. The difference between ancient Greek mathematics, and Western mathematics in general, in comparison to non-Western mathematics, is the focus on proofs—on establishing exactly how we know things to be true. Thales of Miletus is the first person we know of to have produced a mathematical proof.

    The ancient Greeks got their first mathematical knowledge from Egypt and Babylon neither of which cared about proofs. The Pythagorean theorem was known to many peoples and long before Pythagoras, but the oldest extant proof is from Euclid’s Elements. The Kerala school of mathematics (in India) produced some impressive results, most impressively series expansions of trigonometric functions long before Europeans, but they had no proof; they did not have the Western mathematical focus, as the ancient Greeks did, on proofs.


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