Traces on a Rhodian Shore. The Humanist Origins of a Scientific Metaphor

Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 86 (1):1-34 (2023)
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Abstract

The present article explores the productive afterlife of the Vitruvian anecdote concerning Aristippus’s shipwreck on the shore of Rhodes. Known to several medieval scholars, the anecdote came into vogue during the Renaissance, when it was transformed into a potent metaphor mobilised by moralists, educators and religious authors. Not until the sixteenth century, however, did mathematicians come to recognise the value in appropriating the metaphor as a means to elevate the dignity of their discipline. Two centuries later, having accomplished their mission, mathematicians elided much of the anecdote, preserving only the geometrical part.

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Seventy-eight vitruvius manuscripts.Carol Herselle Krinsky - 1967 - Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 30 (1):36-70.

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