By Roger French

В этом исследовании автор показывает, что древнее естествознание было собранием и представлением историй и феноменов, достойных упоминания философами, популяризаторами или торговцами чудесами. В этой книге исследуются отношения между физическим миром, богами, греческой философией и целями тех, кто выражал весьма различные понятия о «природе». Основное внимание автора уделено «Истории животных» Аристотеля, «Естественной истории растений» Теофраста, «Географии» Страбона, а также, в некоторой степени, «Естественной истории» Плиния Старшего. Одна из основных тем книги - то, как к естествознанию относились различные общества: греки, римляне, евреи и христиане.Образцы сканов:

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Not only was it the lifeblood of Egypt, the only civilisation for the antiquity of which the Greeks had an admiration,67 but unlike all other rivers it rose and flooded in the summer rather than the winter. Whether (as Jaeger maintains68) or not Aristotle actually wrote the tract attributed to him, On the Inundation of the Nile, he gave the topic some thought. He argued that its generative mountain was the Silver Mountain (which he does not locate). For Aristotle, the Nile fitted in well with his chronological treatment of historiae.

30 This is shown no longer to be the case by Aristotle’s treating heaven and earth naturally. He extends it, second, into the very mechanisms by which the gods were thought to affect men: ‘meteorology’. Certainly there are internal philosophical reasons for doing this, for the motions to be explained are of the next higher order and the matter is now mixed rather than elementary, but ultimately Aristotle is filling a space caused and shaped by the disappearance of the gods. Even when Aristotle’s topic seems to have been outlined by his ANCIENT NATURAL HISTORY 15 ‘predecessors’ it is because they too were working to fill previously godly spaces.

24 This is fundamentally important for the present book. It requires a mental effort to remember that Aristotle does not use anything comparable to our general term ‘nature’; and one of the themes of this book is to show how such a meaning arose. Using ‘nature’ in this sense not only enabled Aristotle to reject the preSocratic accounts of natural change, but also Plato’s. Plato held that the material world had been put together by a divinity, the demiurge, whose actions were limited by the irreducible characteristics of matter.

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