PONTES X – Ancient Literature and the Scientific Revolution

PONTES X (23–25 September 2021) is dedicated to the reception of ancient literature in the natural sciences of the early modern period. In the age of the Scientific Revolution, the modern sciences emerged in the medium of a literature that was written primarily in Latin and drew, directly or via the Arab Tradition, on ancient classics like Hippocrates, Euclid, or Lucretius as sources or models. This early modern scientific literature was characterised by its variety of literary forms, which was interacting closely with the development of content in the natural sciences. Ancient genres like monograph, letter, dialogue, aphorism or didactic epic allowed for the attractive and clear presentation of new discoveries about nature, and thus accelerated scientific progress. At the same time, new contents and the new medium of print fundamentally changed traditional literary genres and means of expression. New genres like the experiment report, dissertation or journal paper developed as well as new forms of presentation from standardised botanical description to Ramist taxonomy and a great number of new terminologies. PONTES X will investigate the reception and the development of ancient scientific literature from the invention of print until the early nineteenth century. The epistemological interest is not concerned with the contents of scientific literature as such, but with the literary forms, in which these contents were presented, and with the interaction between form, content, and context.

Programme