The Archimedes Codex: How a Medieval Prayer Book Is Revealing the True Genius of Antiquity's Greatest Scientist

Reviel Netz, Author, William Noel, Author . Da Capo $27.50 (313p) ISBN 978-0-306-81580-5

In 1998, the auction house Christie's sold a medieval prayer book for more than $2 million. The price owed to a startling discovery: the prayers had been written over the earliest surviving manuscript of Archimedes (287–212 B.C.), the ancient world's greatest mathematician. In a delightful and fast-paced archeological and scientific detective story, Netz, a Stanford classicist, and Noel, director of the Archimedes Palimpsest Project, make palpable the excitement this discovery evoked. After the auction, they were given access to study the palimpsest; after frustrating days of trying to read the writings beneath the prayer manuscript, Netz, Noel and a team of scientists and conservators turned to a variety of imaging techniques to reconstruct the hidden Archimedes manuscript, which turned out to be heretofore undiscovered works, Balancing Planes , On Floating Bodies , The Method of Mechanical Theorems and the Stomachion , in which Archimedes wrote about topics ranging from gravity to infinity. The manuscript also revealed some lost speeches by Hyperides, one of the 10 canonical orators of antiquity. Netz and Noel's book chronicles the often difficult and demanding work surrounding the preservation of antiquities as they uncover one of the most exciting documents of ancient history. 16 pages of color photos. (Sept.)

Reviewed on: 07/23/2007
Release date: 10/01/2007
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-0-7538-2372-9
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-0-306-81737-3
Open Ebook - 326 pages - 978-0-7867-4538-8
Open Ebook - 336 pages - 978-1-78022-198-4
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