Late Ancient and Medieval Science (5th-15th c.)

Course Description: 

The course this year focuses on ancient, late ancient and medieval cosmology. Through a thread of sources, it tackles the approaches taken throughout these periods towards the understanding of the universe. The course gives a general introduction to the ancient, late ancient and medieval notions of science and considers the way in which they differ from our modern concept of scientific enquiry. It looks at the various branches of science related to and used within the cosmological enquiries of the various periods. The course discusses the ways in which individuals of diverse scholarly communities (monasteries, schools, and Universities) throughout the different periods of the Middle Ages wrote and read scientific texts and produced scientific knowledge. In so far as it is related to cosmology, it discusses how medieval texts, images, instruments, and models interacted in presenting a scientific theory, an experiment or a piece of evidence. The aim of the course is to understand the ways in which nature has been studied through the period and to become familiar with the late ancient and medieval textual and visual rhetoric of science, modes of representation, the argumentation techniques and method of thinking. Form of course: powerpoint presentations are combined with discussion of the primary sources and secondary literature and the questions that arise from them. Sources will be read in English translation.

Learning Outcomes: 

1/ Knowledge in ancient, Late Antique and medieval science, their methods, sources, leading figures and institutional context (measured in classroom discussion and written and oral assignments).

2/ Knowledge in ancient, Late Antique and medieval visual and textual culture and intellectual history (measured in classroom discussion and written and oral assignments).

3/ Skill in reasoning and disputing (measured in classroom discussion and written and oral assignments).

4/ Skill in analysing textual and visual sources (measured in classroom discussion and written and oral assignments).

5/ Presentation skill (measured in class presentation).

6/ Writing skill (measured in written assignments).

Assessment: 

The grade is based on the class presentation [30 %], on class participation [35%] and on the final paper [35%].