Encyclopedia of Greece, from ancient times to the modern day, focusing on science and technology
July 18, 2008 6:21 AM   Subscribe

Hellenica is an encyclopedia of Greek culture, from classical Hellas, through the Byzantine Empire until the modern day, though its focus is on antiquity and especially the science and technology of Ancient Greece. Featuring technical diagrams and explications, there's no better site if you seek information on gigantic galleys, now obscure great Greek mathematicians, the last still working Ancient lighthouse and gears and how they were used by Archimedes and other ancients. This is not to denigrate other sections of the site, such as the page on the Olympics (including a Google Map of the site of the games), biographies of ancient, Byzantine and modern Greeks, the warring and healing of the Byzantines or the overview of Greek literature, taking in antiquity, the medieval era and modern times. That said, Hellenica is at its finest when treating science and technology.
posted by Kattullus (8 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite
Plutarch says: ''Although these inventions made his superhuman wisdom famous, [Archimedes] nonetheless wrote nothing on these matters because he felt that the construction of all machines and all devices for practical use in general was a low and ignoble business. He himself strove only to remove himself, by his handsomeness and perfection, far from the kingdom of necessity."

I've heard it claimed that the disdain the Greeks supposedly had for getting their hands dirty in practicalities is more a projection from Plutarch (and others?) than a reality. It seems pretty clear that Archimedes in particular didn't have much of a problem with real machines, given the defense devices and other practical things he invented. For instance, what purely-cerebral Greek gentleman of intellectual leisure needs to invent a water-raising device? Isn't that what slaves are for?
posted by DU at 6:37 AM on July 18, 2008

[this is good]

Great posts lately, Kattullus!
posted by sciurus at 7:01 AM on July 18, 2008

Happy to see this here...thanks, Kattullus!
posted by aldus_manutius at 7:28 AM on July 18, 2008

Hella cool (ha!)
posted by Rykey at 7:49 AM on July 18, 2008

That last still working lighthouse is Roman, not Greek, but still very cool.

I travel to Greece and Italty today and think "What happened guys?"
posted by three blind mice at 8:48 AM on July 18, 2008

I've used this site to get Greek versions of names, but I didn't realize it was so extensive. (One thing pissed me off: when I clicked on your "modern" link the first thing I saw was an entry for the great singer Rita Abatzi, and I got all excited when I scrolled down and saw a YouTube link until I read the caption: "A modern version of a song first interpreted by Abatzi." WTF, Hellenica? You couldn't find anything with Rita herself singing?)
posted by languagehat at 1:37 PM on July 18, 2008

I had used that site a whole bunch of times before I realized how extensive it was myself. Their modern Greek section is something of an afterthought, it seems, but it's good to see things in a historic continuum.
posted by Kattullus at 2:14 PM on July 18, 2008

great stuff, Kattullus, a thousand thanks!
posted by Busithoth at 3:30 PM on July 18, 2008

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