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The Archimedes Palimpsest Volume I: Catalogue and Commentary

Edited by Reviel Netz, William Noel, Natalie Tchernetska, and Nigel Wilson

The Archimedes Palimpsest is the name given to a Byzantine prayer book that was written over a number of earlier manuscripts, including one that contained two unique works by Archimedes, unquestionably the greatest mathematician of antiquity. Sold at auction in 1998, it has since been the subject of a privately funded project to conserve, image, and transcribe its texts. In the first volume the scientists, conservators, classicists, and historians involved in the project discuss in full their techniques and their discoveries. These include new speeches by the classical Athenian orator Hyperides, a lost commentary on Aristotle’s Categories from the second or third century AD, and substantial re-readings and reinterpretations of works by Archimedes. The book discusses the pioneering imaging and post-processing techniques used to reveal the texts, and includes detailed codicological descriptions of all eight manuscripts that constitute the Palimpsest.

The second volume comprises images and transcriptions of three of the palimpsested manuscripts. The first contains seven treatises by Archimedes, including two unique texts, Method and Stomachion, as well as the only extant Greek version of Floating Bodies. Previously unknown speeches by Hyperides and a second- or third-century commentary on Aristotle’s Categories follow. The product of ten years of conservation, imaging, and scholarship, this book will be of interest to manuscript scholars, classicists, conservators, and historians of science.

This volume accompanied an exhibition at the Walters Art Museum, October 16, 2011-January 1, 2012.

353 pages
13.6”h x 9.9”w x 1.6”d
Hardcover

Price




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