A Source Book in Greek Science


Some Important Books on Greek Science

The books here cited do not constitute an exhaustive bibliography of the subject; for such an undertaking a separate volume would be necessary. There are, however, certain outstanding contributions that should be made known to the student. We also wish here to indicate the range of primary sources, for which more precise bibliographical data may be found in the body of this volume.

Much of the literature on Greek science is dispersed among philological books, periodicals, and encyclopedias. We mention first the two great encyclopedias devoted to classical antiquity:

Paulys Real-Encyclopädie der classischen Altertumswissenschaft. Ed. by G. Wissowa, W. Kroll, and K. Mittelhaus. Stuttgart, publication begun in 1893; not yet complete. Hereafter abbreviated RE.

Daremberg, C., and E. Saglio. Dictionnaire des antiquités grecques et romaines. 5 volumes, Paris, 1873–1917.

Older than these, but occasionally very helpful:

A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. Ed. by William Smith. 3 volumes, London, 1876.

A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities. Ed. by W. Smith, W. Wayte, and G. E. Marindin. 3d ed., 2 volumes, London, 1890–1891.

Note also:

A Companion to Latin Studies. Ed. by J. E. Sandys, Cambridge, 1910.

A Companion to Greek Studies. Ed. by L. Whibley, Cambridge, 1905.

In many types of investigation the student of Greek science will find it profitable to employ the bibliographical resources of the classicist, e.g.:

Marouzeau, J. Dix Années de bibliographie classique (covering the period 1914–1924). Paris, 1927–1928.

L’Année philologique (Paris).

Bibliotheca philologica classica (Leipzig).

Klassieke bibliographic (Utrecht).

Bursian’s Jahresbericht über die Fortschritte der klassischen Altertumswissenschaft. Note the classified list of articles (1873–1923) in McFayden, D., "Fifty Years of Bursian’s Jahresbericht." Washington University Studies. Humanistic Series 12 (1924) 111.

Of treatises dealing wholly or in large measure with Greek science note the following:

Sarton, George. Introduction to the History of Science. Vol. I, From Homer to Omar Khayyam. Baltimore, 1927. This book includes rich bibliographies which are supplemented in the issues of the periodical Isis.

Brunet, P., and A. Mieli. Histoire des sciences: Antiquité. Paris, 1935 (a history and an anthology, with extensive bibliographies).

Mieli, A. Manuale di storia della scienza. Storia, antologia, bibliografia. Rome, 1925.

Enriques, F., and G. De Santillana. Storia del pensiero scientifico. Vol. I, Il Mondo antico. Bologna, 1932.

Heiberg, J. L. Geschichte der Mathematik und Naturwissenschaften im Altertum. Munich, 1925.

—— Mathematics and Physical Science in Classical Antiquity. London, 1922. A translation by D. C. Macgregor of Naturwissenschaften Mathematik und Medizin im klassischen Altertum, Leipzig, 1912.

Rehm, A., and K. Vogel. Exakte Wissenschaften. Leipzig, 1933. (Einleitung in die Altertumswissenschaft II. 2, ed. by A. Gercke and E. Norden.)

Rey, Abel. La Science orientale avant les Grecs. Paris, 1930.

—— La Jeunesse de la science grecque. Paris, 1933.

—— La Maturité de la pensée scientifique en Grèce. Paris, 1939.

—— L’Apogée de la science technique grecque. Paris, 1946. The emphasis in these works is on the philosophy of science.

Milhaud, G. Leçons sur les origines de la science grecque. Paris, 1894.

—— Etudes sur la pensée scientifique chez les Grecs et chez les modernes. Paris, 1906.

—— Les Philosophes géomètres de la Grèce. Paris, 1906.

—— Nouvelles Etudes sur l’histoire de la pensée scientifique. Paris, 1912.

Reymond, A. Histoire des sciences exactes et naturelles dans l’antiquité gréco-romaine. Paris, 1924. English translation by R. G. de Bray, New York [1927].

Heidel, W. A. The Heroic Age of Science: the Conception, Ideals, and Methods of Science among the Ancient Greeks. Baltimore, 1933.

Farrington, B. Science in Antiquity. London, 1936.

—— Science and Politics in the Ancient World. London, 1939.

Thorndike, Lynn. A History of Magic and Experimental Science during the First Thirteen Centuries of Our Era. Vol. I (New York, 1923) begins with the Roman Empire.

Thompson, D. W. Science and the Classics. Oxford, 1940.

Tannery, Paul. Mémoires scientifiques. 14 volumes, 1912–1937. Volumes I–III are especially devoted to ancient science, but there is extensive material on antiquity in the other volumes.

The intimate relation of philosophy and science in the period covered by our volume makes it advisable to mention here, for its bibliographical richness:

Friedrich Ueberwegs Grundriss der Geschichte der Philosophie. Erster Teil. 12th ed., ed. by K. Praechter. Berlin, 1926.

Note also:

Zeller, E. Die Philosophic der Griechen in ihrer geschichtlichen Entwicklung. English translation of various parts by Alleyne, Alleyne and Goodwin, Costelloe and Muirhead, Reichel.

—— Grundriss der Geschichte der griechischen Philosophie. English translation by L. R. Palmer. New York, 1931.

Gomperz, T. Griechische Denker. 3 volumes, Leipzig, 1896–1909. English translation, 4 volumes, London, 1911–1912.

Burnet, John. Greek Philosophy. Part I, Thales to Plato. London, 1914.

—— Early Greek Philosophy. 3d ed., London, 1920.

Tannery, P. Pour l’Histoire de la science hellène. 2d ed., Paris, 1930.

Robin, Léon. La Pensée grecque et les origines de l’esprit scientifique. Paris, 1923. English translation by M. R. Dobie, New York, 1928.

Mieli, Aldo. La Scienza greca prearistotelica. Florence, 1916.

Frank, E. Platon und die sogenannten Pythagoreer. Halle, 1923.

Jaeger, W. Aristoteles. English translation by R. Robinson. Oxford, 1934.

—— Paideia. English translation by G. Highet. 3 volumes, Oxford, 1939–1944.

In addition to the extant philosophical works, such as those of Plato, Aristotle, and Lucretius, the collections of fragments furnish many of our sources. Note, e.g.:

Diels, H. Die Fragmente der Vorsokratiker. 5th ed., ed. by W. Kranz, 3 volumes, Berlin, 1934–1937.

Diels, H. Doxographi graeci. Berlin, 1879.

Usener, H. Epicurea. Leipzig, 1887.

Arnim, H. von. Stoicorum veterum fragmenta. Leipzig, 1903–1924.

Useful English translations are contained in:

Fairbanks, A. The First Philosophers of Greece. London, 1898.

Selections from Early Greek Philosophy. Ed. by Milton C. Nahm. New York, 1935.

Selections from Hellenistic Philosophy. Ed. by G. H. Clark. New York, 1940.


Among those periodicals dealing generally with the history of science, including the ancient period:

Archeion: archivio di storia della scienza. Founded in 1919 by A. Mieli.

Isis: International Review Devoted to the History of Science and Civilization. Founded in 1913 by George Sarton. Includes critical bibliographies of current literature in the history of science and thus forms a continuing supplement to Sarton’s Introduction to the History of Science.

Osiris. Founded in 1936 by George Sarton for the publication of longer papers and monographs.

Mitteilungen zur Geschichte der Medizin, der Naturwissenschaften und der Technik. Founded in 1902. Especially important for its bibliographies.

Archiv für Geschichte der Naturwissenschaften und der Technik. Issued 1908–1922, 1927–1931.

Thalès. Recueil annuel des travaux de l’institut d’histoire des sciences et des techniques de l’université de Paris. Founded in 1934.

Lychnos. Organ of the Swedish History of Science Society. Founded in 1936.

The series of translations, Klassiker der exacten Naturwissenschaften, founded by Wilhelm Ostwald, contains translations of various works of Greek mathematics, astronomy, and physics.

Many historical articles are published in periodicals dealing with special sciences (some will be noted below) and in such general scientific periodicals as Science (New York), Nature (London), and Scientia (Bologna).


An extensive bibliography of the history of mathematics (including the ancient period) is contained in George Sarton, The Study of the History of Mathematics, Cambridge, Mass., 1936, and in Gino Loria, Guida allo studio della storia delle matematiche, 2d. ed., Milan, 1946.

The standard histories of mathematics take up the Greek period quite fully, e.g.:

Cantor, Moritz. Vorlesungen über Geschichte der Mathematik. 4 volumes. Volume I (4th ed., Leipzig, 1922) includes the ancient period.

Smith, D. E. History of Mathematics. 2 volumes, Boston, 1923–1925.

Loria, Gino. Storia delle matematiche. 3 volumes, Turin, 1929–1933.

The following are devoted to Greek mathematics in particular.

Heath, T. L. A History of Greek Mathematics. 2 volumes, Oxford, 1921.

—— A Manual of Greek Mathematics. Oxford, 1931.

Thomas, Ivor. Selections Illustrating the History of Greek Mathematics. With English translation. Loeb Classical Library, 2 volumes, Cambridge, Mass., and London, 1939, 1941. An excellent anthology, which closely follows Heath’s treatment of the subject.

Loria, Gino. Le Scienze esatte nell’ antica Grecia. 5 volumes, Modena, 1893–1902.

—— Histoire des sciences mathématiques dans l’antiquité hellénique. Paris, 1929.

Among the older books note:

Gow, James. A Short History of Greek Mathematics. Cambridge, 1884.

Tannery, P. La Géométrie grecque. Paris, 1887.

Zeuthen, H. G. Die Lehre yon den Kegelschnitten im Altertum. Copenhagen, 1886.

On pre-Greek mathematics see:

Neugebauer, O. Vorgriechische Mathematik. Berlin, 1934.

Chase, A. B., H. P. Manning, and R. C. Archibald. The Rhind Mathematical Papyrus. 2 volumes, Oberlin, 1927–1929.

Vogel, Kurt. Die Grundlagen der ägyptischen Arithmetik. Munich, 1929.

The knowledge of pre-Greek mathematics has developed rapidly in recent years and may best be followed in the books and papers of O. Neugebauer, F. Thureau-Dangin, K. Vogel, S. Gandz, and others. See Isis 31 (1940) 399ff.


Many recent papers of great importance on Greek and pre-Greek mathematics are to be found in Quellen und Studien zur Geschichte der Mathematik, Astronomie, und Physik. Begun in 1930.

Scripta Mathematica. Ed. by J. Ginsburg. Begun in 1932.

Of the earlier periodicals and series containing important material for the student of Greek mathematics note especially:

Bibliotheca Mathematica. Zeitschrift für Geschichte der mathematischen Wissenschaften. Ed. by Gustaf Eneström. 1884–1886; 1887–1899; 1900–1914.

Abhandlungen zur Geschichte der mathematischen Wissenschaften. Founded by Moritz Cantor. 1877–1913.

Bullettino di bibliografia e storia delle scienze matematiche e fisiche. Ed. by B. Boncompagni. 1868–1887.

Bollettino di bibliografia e storia delle scienze matematiche. Ed. by G. Loria, 1898–1917. (Later an appendix to Bollettino di matematica.)


See p. 1. Among the more important Greek writers on mathematics (and their modern editors) we may mention:

Euclid (Heiberg and Menge); Archimedes (Heiberg); Apollonius (Heiberg: this edition does not contain Conics V–VII, extant only in Arabic); Diophantus (Tannery); Pappus (Hultsch); Autolycus (Hultsch); Hero of Alexandria (Schöne and Heiberg); Theodosius, Sphaerica (Heiberg); Menelaus, Sphaerica (Arabic text ed. by Krause); Theon of Smyrna (Hiller); Nicomachus (Hoche); Serenus (Heiberg); Iamblichus, Introduction to Arithmetic (Pistelli); and Proclus, Commentary on Euclid’s Elements I (Friedlein). Many of these editions are accompanied by Latin translations.

The English reader is fortunate in having T. L. Heath’s series of translations, paraphrases, and commentaries:

The Thirteen Books of Euclid’s Elements. 3 volumes, Cambridge, 1908.

The Works of Archimedes. Cambridge, 1897.

The "Method" of Archimedes. Cambridge, 1912.

Apollonius of Perga. Treatise on Conic Sections. Cambridge, 1896.

Diophantus of Alexandria. 2d ed., Cambridge, 1910.

Note also Nicomachus of Gerasa, Introduction to Arithmetic. English translation by M. L. D’Ooge with studies in Greek arithmetic by F. E. Robbins and L. C. Karpinski. New York, 1926.

Paul Ver Eecke has in recent years published French translations of a series of Greek mathematical authors, including works of Archimedes, Apollonius, Pappus, Diophantus, Theodosius (Sphaerica), Euclid (Optics and Catoptrics), and Serenus.

Important mathematical passages sometimes occur in non-mathematical works, e.g., passages from Eudemus preserved in Simplicius’ commentaries on Aristotle’s Physics and De Caelo, passages in Plato, etc.


Many of the books noted under Mathematics contain material on Greek astronomy and mathematical geography. Apart from general histories of astronomy, the following contain important treatments of Greek astronomy.

Heath, T. L. Aristarchus of Samos. Oxford, 1913. The text and translation of Aristarchus’s treatise On the Sizes and Distances of the Sun and Moon are preceded by a study of early Greek astronomy.

—— Greek Astronomy. London, 1932. A historical survey followed by an anthology.

Dreyer, J. L. E. History of the Planetary Systems from Thales to Kepler. Cambridge, 1906.

Delambre, J. B. J. Histoire de l’astronomie ancienne. 2 volumes, Paris, 1817.

Duhem, P. Le Systéme du monde. Histoire des doctrines cosmologiques de Platon à Copernic. 5 volumes, Paris, 1913–1917.

Tannery, P. Recherches sur l’histoire de l’astronomie ancienne. Paris, 1893.

Schiaparelli, G. Scritti sulla storia dell’ astronomia antica. 3 volumes, Bologna, 1925–1927.

The papers of J. K. Fotheringham and O. Neugebauer (some of them in Quellen und Studien zur Geschichte der Mathematik, Astronomie, und Physik) include important recent contributions to Babylonian and Greek astronomy. For a general summary see O. Neugebauer, "The History of Ancient Astronomy: Problems and Methods." Journal of Near Eastern Studies 4 (1945) 1–38: reprinted, with some amplification, in Publication of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific 58 (1946) 17–43, 104–142.

The books dealing with mathematical geography are substantially the same as those on astronomy. In addition to the latter, note Wilhelm Kubitschek, articles "Karten" (RE, vol. X) and "Erdmessung" (RE Supplement VI), and F. Gisinger, article "Geographie" (RE, vol. IV).

Bunbury, E. H. A History of Ancient Geography among the Greeks and Romans from the Earliest Ages till the Fall of the Roman Empire. 2d ed., 2 volumes, London, 1883.

Wright, J. K. The Geographical Lore of the Time of the Crusades. New York, 1925. Has extensive bibliographies and numerous references to antiquity.

Berger, Hugo. Geschichte der wissenschaftlichen Erdkunde der Griechen. 2d ed., Leipzig, 1903.

Heidel, W. A. The Frame of the Ancient Greek Maps. New York, 1937.

Warmington, E. H. Greek Geography. London and New York, 1934. An anthology with a considerable section on mathematical geography.


See p. 89. The basic texts include Euclid, Phaenomena (Menge); Autolycus (Hultsch: German translation by Czwalina); Aristarchus (Heath, with English translation); Geminus,

Elements of Astronomy (Manitius); Hipparchus, Commentaries on the "Phaenomena" of Aratus and Eudoxus (Manitius, with German translation); Ptolemy, Syntaxis Mathematica (= Almagest) and Opera Astronomica Minora (Heiberg: German translation of Syntaxis by Manitius, French translation by Halma), Catalogue of Stars [from Syntaxis VII and VIII] (Peters and Knobel), commentaries on Syntaxis by Theon of Alexandria and Pappus (A. Rome); Cleomedes (Ziegler: German translation by Czwalina); Theodosius, De Diebus et Noctibus (Heiberg), De Habitationibus (Fecht); Proclus, Hypotyposis (Manitius, with German translation); Ptolemy, Geography (Müller, incomplete, Nobbe: German translation and commentary on Book I—the part relating to mathematical geography—by H. v.

); Strabo (Meinecke: English translation by H. L. Jones); Philoponus, On the Astrolabe (Hase: French translation by P. Tannery, English translation by H. W. Greene in R. T. Gunther, The Astrolabes of the World, vol. I).

In addition there is extensive source material on astronomy and mathematical geography in the philosophical and doxographical literature and in such Latin writers as Pliny the Elder, Macrobius, Martianus Capella, and Censorinus.


Of the general histories of physics that of Ernst Gerland, Geschichte aer Physik (Munich, 1913), has a good treatment of the ancient period.


Duhem, P. L’Evolution de la mécanique. Paris, 1903.

—— Les Origines de la statique. 2 volumes, Paris, 1905–1906.


Essai sur la notion de théorie physique de Platon à Galilée. Paris, 1908.

—— Etudes sur Léonard de Vinci. 3 volumes, Paris, 1906–1913.

—— La Théorie physique: son objet, sa structure. 2d ed., Paris, 1914.

Vailati, Giovanni. Scritti. Leipzig, 1911.

Math, Ernst. Die Mechanik in ihrer Entwicklung historisch-kritisch dargestellt. 7th ed., Leipzig, 1912. English translation (The Science of Mechanics) by T. J. McCormack, 4th ed., Chicago, 1919.


Mabilleau, L. Histoire de la philosophie atomistique. Paris, 1895.

Lasswitz, K. Geschichte der Atomistik im Mittelalter bis Newton. 2 volumes, Hamburg, 1890.

Bailey, C. The Greek Atomists and Epicurus. Oxford, 1928.


Enciclopedia delle scienze e delle loro applicazioni. 2 volumes, Milan, 1941–1943. Contains much material pertaining to antiquity.

Feldhaus, F. M. Die Technik der Antike und des Mittelalters. Potsdam, 1931.

Diels, Hermann. Antike Technik. 3d ed., Leipzig, 1924.


Mechanics: Archimedes, various works, especially On the Equilibrium of Planes and the Method (ed. by Heiberg: English translation by Heath); the Aristotelian Mechanics (text and English translation by W. S. Hett, English translation by E. S. Forster); Hero of Alexandria, Mechanics (ed. by L. Nix, with German translation of the Arabic; B. Carra de Vaux, with French translation); Pappus, Mathematical Collection, Book VIII (Hultsch: see under Mathematics).

For basic questions of dynamics, the philosophers and commentators (e.g., Simplicius and Philoponus) must be consulted.

Hydrostatics: Archimedes, On Floating Bodies (ed. by Heiberg: English translation by Heath).

Optics and catoptrics: Euclid (Heiberg: English translation by H. E. Burton, French translation by Ver Eecke).

Ptolemy (?) (Govi), Hero of Alexandria (W. Schmidt), Damianus (Schöne).

Acoustics and musical theory: Euclid (Menge); Ptolemy, Harmonics (Düring, also German translation); Porphyrius, Commentary on Ptolemy’s Harmonics (Düring); Aristoxenus (Macran, with English translation); the acoustical and musical problems in the Aristotelian Problemata Books 11 and 19 (English translations by W. S. Hett [Loeb Classical Library] and E. S. Forster [Oxford] ); Theon of Smyrna (Hiller); Plutarch, On Music (Volkmann: French translation by Weil and T. Reinach); Boethius, On Music (Friedlein). Works of Nicomachus, Bacchius, Gaudentius, and Alypius in addition to some of the others mentioned above are included in K. von Jan, Musici Scriptores Graeci, Leipzig, 1895. In this branch, as in so many others of ancient science, the philosophers (notably in this case Plato and Aristotle) and their commentators (e.g., Alexander of Aphrodisias, Themistius, Proclus, Porphyrius, Simplicius, Philoponus, etc.) must be consulted.

Pneumatics: Hero of Alexandria, Pneumatics (Schmidt, with German translation; English translation by J. G. Greenwood); Philo of Byzantium, Pneumatics (Arabic ed. by Carra de Vaux, with French translation; Latin ed. by Schmidt; French translation by A. de Rochas).

For applied mechanics, see p. 314. Among the literary sources for our knowledge of ancient machinery—agricultural, industrial, military, theatrical, etc.—are passages in the Aristotelian Problemata and Mechanica, Hero of Alexandria, Philo of Byzantium, Biton, Vitruvius, Pappus, Mathematical Collection VIII, Cato, Varro, and the minor writers on geoponics.


Kopp, Hermann. Geschichte der Chemie. 4 volumes. Braunschweig, 1843–1847.

—— Beiträge zur Geschichte der Chemie. Part 1. Braunschweig, 1869.

Meyer, Ernst von. Geschichte der Chemie von den ältesten Zeiten his zur Gegenwart. 4th ed., Leipzig, 1914. English translation of 3d ed. by G. McGowan, New York, 1906.

Stillman, J. M. The Story of Early Chemistry. New York, 1924.

Berthelot, M. Les Origines de l’alchimie. Paris, 1885.

—— Introduction à l’étude de la chimie des anciens et du moven âge. Paris, 1889.

Lippmann, E. O. von. Abhandlungen und Vorträge zur Geschichte der Naturwissenschaften. Leipzig, 1906.

—— Entstehung und Ausbreitung der Alchemie. Berlin, 1919.


Ambix, Journal of the Society for the Study of Alchemy and Early Chemistry, was published in 1937–1938 under the editorship of F. S. Taylor. Publication resumed in 1946.

Chymia: Studies in the History of Chemistry. University of Pennsylvania Press. An annual begun in 1948.


See p. 352. Important source material is to be found in:

Berthelot, M., and C. E. Ruelle. Collection des alchimistes grecs. 3 volumes, Paris, 1885–1888.

Lagercrantz, O. Papyrus graecus Holmiensis. Uppsala, 1913.

Leemans, C. Papyri graeci musei antiquarii publici Lugduni-Batavi. Vol. 2, Leyden, 1885 (containing Leyden Papyrus X).

Mieli, Aldo. Pagine di storia della chimica. Rome, 1922.

Bailey, K. C. The Elder Pliny’s Chapters on Chemical Subjects. 2 volumes, London, 1929, 1932.

Medical and pharmacological authors contribute important evidence and, of course, on the basic questions of matter and its transformations the philosophical literature (e.g., Arisotle (?), Meteorologica Bk. IV) must be consulted.


Adams, F. D. Birth and Development of the Geologicat Sciences. Baltimore, 1938.

Gilbert, Otto. Die meteorologischen Theorien des griechischen Altertums. Leipzig, 1907.

Capelle, Wilhelm. Article "Meteorologie" in RE, Supplement VI.

Lones, T. E. (see under Biology).

Lenz, H. O. Mineralogie der alten Griechen und Römer. Gotha, 1861. An anthology (German translation of sources).


See p. 374.


Singer, Charles. A Short History of Biology. Oxford, 1931.

Nordenskiöld, E. History of Biology. English translation, New York, 1928.

Locy, W. A. The Growth of Biology. New York, 1925.

Singer, Charles. "Greek Biology and Its Relations to the Rise of Modern Biology." Studies in the History and Method of Science, ed. by C. Singer, vol. 2, Oxford, 1921.

Senn, Gustav. Die Entwicklung der biologischen Forschungsmethode in der Antike. Aarau, 1933.

Thompson, D’Arcy W. On Aristotle as a Biologist. Oxford, 1916.

Lones, T. E. Aristotle’s Researches in Natural Science. London, 1913. The larger part is concerned with Aristotelian biology, though the non-biological sciences are also treated.


Meyer, Ernst H. F. Geschichte der Botanik. 4 volumes. Königsberg, 1854–1857.

Reed, Howard Sprague. A Short History of the Plant Sciences. Waltham, Mass., 1942.

Greene, Edward L. Landmarks of Botanical History. Washington, 1909.

Strömberg, Reinhold. Theophrastea. Studien zur botanischen Begriffsbildung. Göteborg, 1937.

Bretzl, Hugo. Botanische Forschungen des Alexanderzuges. Leipzig, 1903.

Lenz, H. O. Botanik der alten Griechen und Römer. Gotha, 1859. An anthology (German translation of sources).


Chronica Botanica. Founded by F. Verdoorn, 1933. In recent years has stressed historical studies.


Keller, Otto. Die antike Tierwelt. Leipzig, 1909.

Thompson, D. W. A Glossary of Greek Birds. 2d ed., London, 1936.

—— A Glossary of Greek Fishes. London, 1947.

Lenz, H. O. Zoologie der alten Griechen und Römer. Gotha, 1850. An anthology (German translation of sources).


See pp. 394, 400, 438.

Botany. Theophrastus, History of Plants and Causes of Plants (ed. by F. Wimmer: English translation of the History by A. Hort and of Book I of the Causes by R. E. Dengler). Treatise On Plants of the Aristotelian Corpus (ed. by E. H. F. Meyer, English translations by E. S. Forster and W. S. Hett); Dioscorides (ed. by M. Wellmann, English translation by J. Goodyer, German translation by J. Berendes); Pliny, Natural History, especially Books 12–27. Note in addition Vergil (Georgics), Varro, Columella, Ps.-Democritus, the minor geo-ponic authors, and the medical authors who discuss pharmacology.

Zoology. Aristotle’s History of Animals, Parts of Animals, Motion of Animals, Progression of Animals, and Generation of Animals; Pliny’s Natural History, Books 8–11, Aelian’s treatise On Animals, the poem Halieutica attributed to Ovid, and the anonymous Physiologus are the chief extant works. The veterinary literature may also be noted in this connection. (See Corpus Hippiatricorum Graecorum, ed. by E. Oder and C. Hoppe, 2 volumes, Leipzig, 1924, 1927; Mulomedicina Chironis, ed. by E. Oder, Leipzig, 1901; and Vegetius, Digesta Artis Mulomedicinae, ed. by E. Lommatzsch, Leipzig, 1903.)

In addition to botanical and zoological works, many philosophical works, e.g., Aristotle’s De Anima, deal with general biology.


Drabkin, Miriam. "A Select Bibliography of Greek and Roman Medicine." Bulletin of the History of Medicine 11 (1942) 399–408. This bibliography lists the best editions and translations of Greek and Roman medical writings as well as general works on Greek and Roman medicine and works on the special branches of medicine. The literature on Greek and Roman medicine is so vast that only a few selected titles may be noted here.

Singer, Charles. Greek Biology and Greek Medicine. Oxford, 1922.

Taylor, H. O. Greek Biology and Medicine. Boston, 1922.

Puschmann, T. A History of Medical Education. English translation by E. H. Hare. London, 1891.

Allbutt, Clifford. Greek Medicine in Rome. New York, 1921.

Brock, A. J. Greek Medicine. New York, 1929. An anthology preceded by a general treatment of the subject.

Singer, Charles. The Evolution of Anatomy. New York, 1925.

Needham, Joseph. A History of Embryology. Cambridge, 1934.

Kremers, E. and G. Urdang. History of Pharmacy. Philadelphia, 1940.

Schmidt, A. Drogen und Drogenhandel in Altertum. Leipzig, 1924.

Gurlt, E. Geschichte der Chirurgie. 3 volumes, Berlin, 1898.

Milne, J. S. Surgical Instruments in Greek and Roman Times. Oxford, 1907.

Because of their rather ample treatment of antiquity, the following general works should be noted.

Daremberg, C. Histoire des sciences médicales. 2 volumes, Paris, 1870.

Neuburger, M., and J. Pagel. Handbuch der Geschichte der Medizin. 3 volumes. The sections on Greek medicine by Robert Fuchs and on Roman medicine by Iwan Bloch are in vol. I (Jena, 1902).

Singer, Charles. A Short History of Medicine. Oxford, 1928.

Diepgen, P. Geschichte der Medizin. 5 volumes, Berlin, 1923–1928.

Periodicals. See also p. 561.

Janus, Zeitschrift für Geschichte und Literatur der Medizin. Ed. by A. Henschel. 1846–1848.

—— Central-Magazin für Geschichte und Literaturgeschichte der Medizin. Ed. by H Bretschneider, A. Henschel, C. Heusinger, J. G. Thierfelder. 1851–1853.

—— Archives internationales pour l’histoire de la médecine et la géographie médicale. Founded by H. F. A. Peypers in 1896.

Archiv für Geschichte der Medizin. Founded by K. Sudhoff, 1907.

Bulletin of the History of Medicine. Founded by H. E. Sigerist, 1933.

Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences. Ed. by G. Rosen. Begun in 1946.

Quellen und Studien zur Geschichte der Naturwissenschaften und der Medizin. Ed. by P. Diepgen and J. Ruska. Begun in 1931.

Index Medicus. A quarterly bibliography on all phases of medicine. Begun in 1916.


See p. 467 and bibliography of M. Drabkin. A series of definitive texts is in course of being published in the Corpus Medicorum Graecorum and Corpus Medicorum Latinorum.

Among the more important Greek and Roman writers on medicine (and their modern editors) we may mention Aëtius of Amida (Olivieri, still incomplete, separate books by Hirschberg, Costomiris, Zervos, others); Aretaeus (Adams, Hude); Caelius Aurelianus (Amman); Cassius Felix (Rose); Celsus (Marx); Diodes (Wellmann); Galen (Diels, Marquardt, Helmreich, Kalbfleisch, Müller, Simon, others; the edition by C. G. Kühn is not completely superseded); Hippocratic Collection (Littré, Kuehlewein, Heiberg, Jones. Withington, others); Oribasius (Bussemaker and Daremberg, Raeder); Paul of Aegina (Heiberg); Rufus of Ephesus (Daremberg and Ruelle); Soranus (Ilberg); Theodore Priscian (Rose); Fragments of the Empiric School (Deichgräber); of the Pneumatic School (Wellmann).

Note the following important English translations.

The Genuine Works of Hippocrates. Trans. by F. Adams. London, 1848. (Reprinted New York, 1929.)

Hippocrates. Ed. and trans. by W. H. S. Jones and E. T. Withington. 4 volumes, New York, 1923–1931. (Loeb Classical Library.)

—— On Ancient Medicine. Ed. and trans, by W. H. S. Jones, in Philosophy and Medicine in Ancient Greece. Bulletin of the History of Medicine, Suppl. 8, 1946.

The Medical Writings of Anonymus Londinensis. Ed. and trans, by W. H. S. Jones. Cambridge, 1947.

Galen. On the Natural Faculties. Ed. and trans, by A. J. Brock. London, 1916. (Loeb Classical Library.)

Galen. On Medical Experience. Ed. and trans, by R. Walzer. Oxford, 1944.

Celsus. On Medicine. Ed. and trans, by W. G. Spencer. 3 volumes, London, 1935–1938. (Loeb Classical Library.)

The Extant Works of Aretaeus. Ed. and trans, by F. Adams. London, 1856.

The Seven Books of Paulus Aegineta. Trans. by F. Adams. 3 volumes, London, 1844–1846.


See p. 530, where the chief primary sources are indicated. J. I. Beare, Greek Theories of Elementary Cognition from Alcmaeon to Aristotle (Oxford, 1906) and G. M. Stratton, Theophrastus and the Greek Physiological Psychology before Aristotle (London, 1917) are important works in this field.


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Chicago: "Some Important Books on Greek Science," A Source Book in Greek Science in A Source Book in Greek Science, ed. Morris R. Cohen and I. E. Drabkin (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1948), 559–568. Original Sources, accessed December 3, 2022, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=L2E8F31CU97WF7T.

MLA: . "Some Important Books on Greek Science." A Source Book in Greek Science, in A Source Book in Greek Science, edited by Morris R. Cohen and I. E. Drabkin, Cambridge, Harvard University Press, 1948, pp. 559–568. Original Sources. 3 Dec. 2022. http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=L2E8F31CU97WF7T.

Harvard: , 'Some Important Books on Greek Science' in A Source Book in Greek Science. cited in 1948, A Source Book in Greek Science, ed. , Harvard University Press, Cambridge, pp.559–568. Original Sources, retrieved 3 December 2022, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=L2E8F31CU97WF7T.