tit_ enigma greek diagrams

The enigma of the Greek manuscript diagrams

resources_science_video_the enigma of the diagrams

resources_science_presentation_the enigma of diagrams

txt enigma diagrams

The enigma of the diagrams of the Greek manuscripts
seminar room from group Science, Reason and Faith.
Christián Carlos Carman. Pamplona, 11 March 2020


Christián Carlos Carman is researcher attachment of CONICET (committee ) and researcher-professor attachment ordinary of the Universidad Nacional de Quilmes. Member of the Commission for the History of Ancient and Medieval Astronomy of the International Union of History and Philosophy of Science and of the Philosophy of Science Association and founding member of the association de Philosophy e Historia de la Ciencia del Cono Sur (AFHIC). He directs a project graduate "Scientific Realism and Ancient Astronomy", based in Argentina but with researchers from the United States, Canada, Brazil and England. He has also developed an extensive work of knowledge dissemination of which the TED: Archimedes' iPadis an example.


The first time one is confronted with the oldest manuscripts of the mathematical or astronomical works of the Greeks, some shortcomings of the mathematical diagrams jump out: equal triangles appear when they should be different, arcs instead of lines, straight lines where there should be parabolas, among many other extravagances. Since these features appear very early and practically universally in all traditions of copies and translations of Greek works, there is agreement among scholars that the Greeks themselves made diagrams in this particular way. Why did the ancient Greeks make their diagrams badly? This talk tries to unravel the mystery.