The Classical Homeschooler
Don’t Forget What the
. . . The Greeks and Romans would pave the road to our modern
understanding of astronomy, algebra, medicine, geometry, trigonometry,
engineering and much more.
The line graph of scientific dis- covery does not progress gradu- ally upward through history in a straight line. Instead, there have
been great spikes in discovery followed by
dark periods in which war, plague, or disasters have caused deep dents while we
all forgot everything we’d learned. Greeks
and Romans devised and then built the
foundations of many of our best scientific principles, and consequently, Greek
and Latin are the languages of science.
Together, the Greek and Roman cultures
reasoned out vital scientific ideas and put
them to practical use in ways we might all
better remember today had the medieval
dark ages not been so very difficult.
The Greeks coined the term philosophy,
“the pursuit of knowledge,” to label their
interest in how things work. In their efforts, the Greeks and Romans would pave
the road to our modern understanding of
astronomy, algebra, medicine, geometry,
trigonometry, engineering, and much
more. If the same definition of the term
were applied to university campuses today, philosophy departments would need
a huge funding boost since they would be
responsible for all sciences, engineering,
and medicine, as well as trying to solve
abstract questions about life, the universe, and everything.
In the early 500s B.C., Thales from Mi-
letus did some thinking and discovered
he could calculate important solar events
such as the solstice and equinox. This al-
lowed him to predict an upcoming solar
eclipse, and his calculations came true
on the 8th of May, 585 B.C.
1 Thales was
elated by his calculated eclipse, but it un-
nerved everyone else. On that same day
some Medes and Lycians were having a
major spat. Once all the lights went out,
both armies put down their weapons and
declared a truce mid-battle!