Hellenistic Scholarship: Scientific and Literary Inquiry
In this assignment, students will write about and/or engage in one of the areas of scholarship that flourished in Ptolemaic Alexandria. Through exploration of Hellenistic scholarship, students will explain how ancient scientists reached their conclusions and will identify and explain the strengths and weaknesses of those conclusions.
We will explore the development of the library and museum at Alexandria in class and will discuss specific areas of research, but this assignment will require students to gather outside information and engage in greater depth with one or a small set of scholars. They will choose a paper topic and a theory or mechanism to explore, learn about it in detail, compare it with modern parallels, and discuss its place in the history of science and technology.
Context for Use
To complete the assignment, students will need to have a basic understanding of the equipment available in the ancient world and either an overview of Hellenistic scholarship or some knowledge of the specific areas being explored. Students will also need time to complete research on Hellenistic and Modern models and to write up their conclusions.
Description and Teaching Materials
Paper Topic Sheet (Microsoft Word 31kB Dec14 10)