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date: 21 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The chapter argues that the 2nd and 3rd centuries ce can be characterized as aporetic—questions were held open, which the science of the era was incapable of resolving. Three trends characterize works of the period, both scientific and not. First among these trends is that Roman culture valorized founders and authoritative leaders, even in scientific works. That promoted archaism in literature, so early authors became canonical. Roman construction of wisdom, foreign and native, valorized “usefulness,” and works produced to that end were “encyclopedias” and compendia. Mathematics was explored in service to meaning. Works of geography regularly reported marvels from remote regions of the earth, and such reports now played a greater role in geographical writing. The formerly dominant schools of philosophy gradually faded or became indistinct from one another.

Keywords: Alexander of Aphrodisias, Ampelius, Anatolius, Apuleius, archaism, canonicity, Censorinus, Diophantus, encyclopedias, Iulius Africanus, Iulius Solinus

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