Scholastic Elaborations of Ancient Mechanics

Scholastic Elaborations of Ancient Mechanics

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Alvarus, Thomas, Liber de triplici motu, 1509<br>
Original source owned by MPIWG Library

Aristotelian mechanics remained dominant in Medieval times but was enriched in the 14th century by the work of the Oxford calculatores, who expanded the ancient theory of proportions, and by the Parisian School, which supplemented the Aristotelian theory of qualities with diagrammatic representations that went beyond the ancient means of representing functional dependencies. To investigate the process of scholastic elaborations of Aristotelian mechanics the Liber de triplici motu, published in 1509 by Alvarus Thomas, an early modern Portuguese natural philosopher, is being translated, analyzed, and interpreted. This book about the theory of proportions and the Aristotelean theory of motion represents the culmination of the scholastic dispute about motion before the rise of preclassical mechanics and was directly relevant to Thomas Harriot’s studies on mechanics. As a first result, a fulltext electronic edition of Thomas Alvarus’ book is being published within the ECHO infrastructure.