This group will investigate how the exact sciences of the natural world developed in antiquity. The focus will be on those sciences that deal with the heavens – astronomy and meteorology – as well as geography and medicine, in Mesopotamia and Greece during the pivotal, transformational period from the 5th century BCE to the 1st century AD. The group will explore the formative factors that influenced these sciences and the methodological and operational procedures that were developed. It will investigate the underlying causal reasoning and the processes by which mathematical theories were constructed from empirical data. A central topic will be the innovation of natural science: how and why were scientific disciplines transformed over the course of time, both locally within a given region and interregionally as a result of contact between different communities of scholars. In order to address these questions the natural sciences will be analysed as cultural techniques embedded in their pragmatic, institutional, cultic, religious, social and economic contexts. While Space of Nature continues certain topics that were investigated in Topoi I Area D, namely cosmology and theory formation (D-I-1, D-I-2), most of the other topics of Space of Nature were not addressed in Topoi I.

Research Projects