Roman Technē: The Growth and Structure of the Artes in the Early Roman Empire
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Zainaldin, James Lockwood
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CitationZainaldin, James Lockwood. 2020. Roman Technē: The Growth and Structure of the Artes in the Early Roman Empire. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
AbstractThis dissertation studies the growth and structure of the branches of specialized knowledge called artes in the early Roman Empire (c. 30 BCE–100 CE), focusing in particular on four such artes: architecture, the art of war, land surveying, and agriculture. I introduce the challenging and poorly understood technical literature associated with these fields and illustrate its broader philosophical and literary interest; present new arguments for the significance of theoretical developments internal to the disciplines; and demonstrate the essential unity of the intellectual culture in which these different artes participate. As the dissertation shows, all of the artes are fundamentally shaped by a concern with the relationship between theory and practice, which manifests itself not only in common questions and problems but also in common strategies and approaches to the disciplinary subject matter.
A brief introduction establishes the key concepts and scope of the dissertation. The first chapter offers a fresh reading of Vitruvius’ De architectura which reconstructs the architectural theory set out in the preface to the text and considers how this theory is realized in Vitruvius’ architectural prescriptions. The second chapter studies Onasander’s Στρατηγικός and Frontinus’ Strategemata, developing a contrast between two epistemological paradigms in the art of war exemplified by these works, each distinct in its approach and with specific advantages. The third chapter examines the land-surveying writings of Frontinus and Hyginus, construing various striking features of their texts as a coherent response to the incipient formation of the ars mensoria. The fourth chapter takes up Columella’s Res rustica and characterizes the natural principles which not only inform his presentation of the discipline in the preface to his work but also guide his agronomic instructions. Each chapter not only presents an original, extended argument specific to the text or texts under study, but also develops important interdisciplinary themes that typify writing on the artes in the early Imperial period. A brief conclusion recapitulates these themes and synthesizes specific arguments from the chapters from a comparative perspective.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37365742
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