Technical Ekphrasis in Greek and Roman Science and Literature
Ekphrasis is familiar as a rhetorical tool for inducing enargeia, the vivid sense that a reader or listener is actually in the presence of the objects described. This book focuses on the ekphrastic techniques used in ancient Greek and Roman literature to describe technological artifacts. Since the literary discourse on technology extended beyond technical texts, this book explores 'technical ekphrasis' in a wide range of genres, including history, poetry, and philosophy as well as mechanical, scientific, and mathematical works. Technical authors like Philo of Byzantium, Vitruvius, Hero of Alexandria, and Claudius Ptolemy are put into dialogue with close contemporaries in other genres, like Diodorus Siculus, Cicero, Ovid, and Aelius Theon. The treatment of 'technical ekphrasis' here covers the techniques of description, the interaction of verbal and visual elements, the role of instructions, and the balance between describing the artifact's material qualities and the other bodies of knowledge it evokes.
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Aelius Theon ancient Antikythera mechanism Apollodorus appears approach arch Archimedes argues artifact texts Asper astronomical Athenaeus audience authors Belopoeica Biton bodies of knowledge building catapult claims complex components construction context craft create Creese Ctesibius cultural Cuomo describes detail device diagram Dioptra discussion ekphrasis elements enargeia engines Eratosthenes Eutocius example experience first-person Fögen Frontinus function Galen genre geometrical Greek hands-on Harmonica Heisel helepolis Hellenistic Hero Hero’s imagine innovation inscriptions instructions instruments kanōn Kataskeuai kind letter labels likewise literary literature machine material mathematical mechanical artifacts Meißner Netz numbers object odometer Oribasius particular passage Philo Philostratus physical Pliny pneumatic Pneumatica Poliorcetica Polyclitus practical principles problem provides Ptolemy Ptolemy’s Quintilian reader references representation rhetorical Rihll Roman sphaera spring structure sundial surviving tacit knowledge technical ekphrasis technical texts techniques technological artifacts textual theoretical tion Tybjerg types verbal verbs viewer visual Vitr Vitruvius καὶ τὸ