When we consider the science of the Greeks, and come quickly to love it and slowly to see how great it was, we likewise see that it was restricted as compared with our own, curiously partial or particular in its limitations. The practical and ‘useful’ sciences of chemistry, mechanics, and engineering, which in our modern world crowd the others to the wall, are absent altogether, or so concealed that we forget and pass them by.

Mathematics is enthroned high over all, as it is meet she should be; and of uncontested right she occupies her throne century after century, from Pythagoras to Proclus, from the scattered schools of early Hellenic civilization to the rise and fall of the great Alexandrine University. Near beside her sits, from of old, the daughter-science of Astronomy; and these twain were worshipped by the greatest scientific intellects of the Greeks.

There was a wealth of natural history before Aristotle’s time; but it belonged to the farmer, the huntsman, and the fisherman—with something over (doubtless) for the schoolboy, the idler, and the poet. But Aristotle made it a science, and won a place for it in Philosophy.

From D’Arcy W. Thompson, Aristotle’s Natural Science



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