Oct. 19, 2016: Studying the arithmetical content of the Palatine Anthology: epigrammatic literature in perspective

The next session of the reading workshop associated to the « series of problems » project (lien) is organised by Athanasia Megremi (Univ. of Athens) as main speaker and Iolanda Ventura (Univ. of Orléans, CNRS-IRHT) as respondens. Athanasia is a member of the project who has already contributed with Jean Christianidis a study on series of problems in G. Pachymeres’s quadrivium (article). She has just completed her PhD at the Department of History and Philosophy of Science of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, on the commentary of Ioannes (John) Philoponus on the Arithmetical introduction by Nicomachus of Gerasa and the late antique history of Arithmetic (https://uoa.academia.edu/AthanasiaMegremi). Iolanda is assistant professor in University of Orleans and in IRHT and is specialized among others in the study encyclopedic collections; she has contributed the first synthesis of the project with an article on this subject (article).

The workshop focuses on the 14th book of the Palatine Anthology, a collection of epigrams composed probably c. 10th century, some of which with mathematical content (ΧIV book).  [edition with French translation: Félix Buffière, Anthologie Grecque , Anthologie Palatine, (Livres XIII-XV), Les Belles Lettres, 2003; edition with English translation: W.R. Paton, The Greek Anthology, Books 13-16, Loeb Classical Library, 1989].

Moving from three particular epigrams taken from this book, our discussion will deal with various ways in which a compiler summarized and conveyed mathematical knowledge in versified form. More specifically, we will analyze how the compiler achieved the goal (a) of connecting different problems (including the two under discussion) into series characterized by a principle of similarity (b) of applying an adequate strategy of communication and (c) of making the reader able to acquire a sufficient knowledge of the mathematical matter he discussed. Furthermore, we will attempt at placing the questions discussed by the compiler as well as the strategies he employs into the long textual tradition of collections of mathematical problems, in order to see whether his modus operandi represents a consuetude or an exception.

The session will include a responsio given by Iolanda Ventura, a philologist specialized in encyclopedic collections (article); the discussion will hopefully highlight the meaning of the strategies used by the compiler within the framework of the development of working tools devoted to pedagogy and acquisition of knowledge.

The workshop is held at Centre Koyré, conference room on the 5th floor, on the 19th of October at 14h. If you are interested to participate please contact in advance Iolanda Ventura [iolanda.ventura[at]cnrs-orleans.fr] and/or Alain Bernard [alain.bernard[at]u.pec.fr]

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