Thus it would seem that among the ancients, in those departments of science which are inductive, there were not sufficient facts, well established, from which to make sound inductions; but in those departments which are deductive, like pure mathematics, and which require great reasoning powers, there were lofty attainments,—which indeed gave the foundation for the achievements of modern science.
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An exceedingly learned work (London, 1862) on the Astronomy of the Ancients, by Sir George Cornewall Lewis, though rather ostentatious in the parade of authorities, and minute on points which are not of much consequence, is worth consulting. Delambre’s History of Ancient Astronomy has long been a classic, but is richer in materials for a history than a history itself. There is a valuable essay in the Encyclopaedia Britannica, which refers to a list of special authors. Whewell’s History of the Inductive Sciences may also be consulted with profit. Dunglison’s History of Medicine is a standard, giving much detailed information, and Leclerc among the French and Speugel among the Germans are esteemed authorities. Strabo’s Geography is the most valuable of antiquity; see also Polybius: both of these have been translated and edited for English readers.
MATERIAL LIFE OF THE ANCIENTS.
MECHANICAL AND USEFUL ARTS.
While the fine arts made great progress among the cultivated nations of antiquity, and with the Greeks reached a refinement that has never since been surpassed, the ancients were far behind modern nations in everything that has utility for its object. In implements of war, in agricultural instruments, in the variety of manufactures, in machinery, in chemical compounds, in domestic utensils, in grand engineering works, in the comfort of houses, in modes of land-travel and transportation, in navigation, in the multiplication of books, in triumphs over the forces of Nature, in those discoveries and inventions which abridge the labors of mankind and bring races into closer intercourse,—especially by such wonders as are wrought by steam, gas, electricity, gunpowder, the mariner’s compass, and the art of printing,—the modern world feels its immense superiority to all the ages that have gone before. And yet, considering the infancy of science and the youth of nations, more was accomplished by the ancients for the comfort and convenience and luxury of man than we naturally might suppose.