Have you ever wondered where the original ideas in mathematics, astronomy, science, medicine, philosophy ever came from? The answers to these questions are in this remarkable history book that takes us on a tiki-tour through the highways and back alleys of some of the most vibrant and buzzing cities of the ancient world, where knowledge of various different disciplines was nurtured and grown and then germinated like magnificent seeds from exotic flowers in many directions.
The Map of Knowledge: How Classical Ideas were Lost and Found A History in Seven Cities is a really great book for curious minds, history lovers and anybody who simply enjoys romping through ancient cities.
Writer and historian Violet Moller brings to life the vibrant and bustling stories of ancient cities of Alexandria, Baghdad, Cordoba, Toledo, Salerno, Palermo, Venice and beyond. Along the way we learn how iconic texts and manuscripts including Euclid’s Elements, Ptolemy’s The Almagest and Galen’s works on medicine and psychotherapy were passed down through generations and via the steady, determined hands of various key people (many who are obscure in the history books)
The idea of this book on the History of Knowledge seems vast at first, almost too vast to accurately tell a story about it. So Moller divides the book into a clear structure to make it easier. She tells the stories of cities in all of their flushing and celebrated glory. I have to admit I found these parts the most enjoyable.
The nitty gritty about the texts themselves and the various discrepancies between versions of texts and differences in translations over the centuries got a bit dull to me. However, overall if you want to learn more about ancient manuscripts that underlie all of modern ideas we hold today, and also the cities that were once magnificent – many of them still beautiful cities today and begging for a visit, then this is the book for you!