Re: Information & Power /Alexandria library

Anders Sandberg (
06 May 1999 11:34:22 +0200

Spike Jones <> writes:

> > Spikus wrote: > ...Evidently the Greeks knew how to do these stone arches..
> >
> > Billy Brown wrote: So do modern archaeologists. They have even
> > reconstructed...
> >
> > ...and they had no idea why
> > things had to be done the way they were. You can easily duplicate > this process just by studying an existing arch and copying it.
> Billy, do you then suppose the Greeks did not figure out the formula
> for the arches in closed form? They had mathematics. I would be
> disappointed if they did them by eyeball, but now that I think it over
> I suspect you are right. Think Ill go check out that national park in
> Maine. {8-] spikus

I wouldn't be surprised if they didn't develop a closed form. First, the idea of closed form solutions was much later, the Greeks mainly relied on geometrical construction. Second, the artisan class was fairly divorced from the philosophers even if they did use some of the practical results of geometry. My impression, admittedly not an expert opinion, is that Greek architecture was very much a craft with plenty of internal knowledge but not that much overarching theory (sorry for the pun).

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y