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  • Comparison Between Egyptian and Renaissance Sciences

    Criteria Egyptian Science Renaissance Science
    Images picture of the Rhind Mathematical Papyrus Drawing of the Vitruvian man, by Leonardo Da Vinci
    Role of Science
    • The pillar of Egyptian culture was not science, but religion, which was firmly established as the basis of their view of the world.
    • Thus ancient Egypt had some advanced scientific technologies, with special emphasis in the fields of irrigation and medicine.
    • Unfortunately, through out the entire history, religion played a very important role in life, and limited the ability to understand natural phenomena and develop new technologies
    • Contrary to popular belief, scientific methodology was not a developed concept in ancient Egypt
    • People exploring fringe theories of ancient science have suggested that Egyptians discovered electric lights, airplanes and even spacecrafts. But all these theories lack historical evidence and are not based on credible assumptions
    • The ability to organize intense labor, and access to huge resources controlled by Pharaohs and Nobles, allowed construction of the great pyramids and other tombs. These monuments were achievements of human subordination, for the Egyptians were not particularly advanced technologically. They lacked pulleys or other devices to hoist the huge slabs of stone that formed the pyramids.
    • A scientific revolution occured during the 16th century, heralding the beginning of the modern age.
    • This movement was made possible by the Reformation of the Church, and a decline in Conservatism.
    • Scientific methodology was developed, leading to significant changes in the way the universe was viewed and the methods with which philosophers sought to explain natural phenomena.
    • This revolutionary new way of learning about the world focused on empirical evidence.
    • By 3000 BC agriculture had been developed making heavy use of the regular wet and dry periods of the year.
    • The Nile flooded during the rainy season providing fertile land for growing crops.
    • High yields and productivity were obtained from the nature of the fertile Nile valley land, not from any particular advanced agrarian techniques
    • Agricultural techiques remained virtually unchanged for thousands of years since the early dynastic Period, into the Ptolemaic Period
    • The vast majority of the population was employed in agriculture, in order to mantain enough supply for the elite classes
    • Agricultural advances and irrigation systems, resulted in improved farming methods and increased crop yields.
    • Thanks to improved irrigation systems and new hydraulic machinery, land that was either too wet or too dry could now be farmed. This helped expand the amount of land for farmers, in turn producing more food for both animals and humans
    • This advanced agricultural systems allowed for a high percentage of the population to work in other professions, while fewer farmers easily maintained the required food surplus for the entire population, this is in contrast with the agrarian Egyptian society, in which the vast majority of the population had to work as farmers to produce sufficient food supply for mantaining the ruling class and priesthood
    • The Egyptian concern for body preservation, mummification and anatomy, allowed this culture to develop highly advanced medical practices, and achievement of great contributions in this field
    • These important advances included knowledge about a large variety of Herbal remedies, medicinal drugs and some contraceptive devices.
    • Egyptian medical knowledge was transferrede by the Greeks into other Middle Eastern and European civilizations.
    • Physicians and scholars such as Leonardo Va Vinci began to scientifically study medicine, and research human anatomy. Leonardo's drawing of the Vitruvian man is an accurate study of the proportions of the human body.
    • Andreas Vesalius was the premier anatomist of this age and published many illustrations of his discoveries. His discoveries corrected many of the errors that had gone undetected for centuries and were rapidly disseminated through the new invention of printing.
    • Amboise Pare revolutionized surgery when he began to use ligatures to stop bleeding
    • A Complex writing system consisting of thousands of pictural symbols
    • Very few people were literate in ancient Egypt
    • Papyrus manufacture was a costly and complicated process.
    • Hierogylphic writing was abandoned in the 5th century A.D.
    • The invention of the printing press by Gutenberg, paved the way for a widespread educational reform
    • in the Middle Ages books were hand written by monks and scholars, and therefore were few in number and very precious
    • The Printing Press led to the creation of thousands of copies of books, containing no mistakes, and had a dramatic impact on science during this time
    • The Egyptian administration required, a system of taxes, and armies had to be supported.
    • Records were kept, and computations done by scribes.
    • Hieroglyphic numerals were used to record transactions.
    • However since trade and commerce were not well developed in ancient Egypt, and the general population practiced simple bartering to exchange goods, mathematical knowledge did not spread beyond the boundaries of royal scribes, and tax collectors
    • Mathematics made formidable advances in the 15th century
    • Mercantile economy created an exceptionally wealthy class of individuals
    • Complex bartering operations, or calculations of compound interest, required an advanced accounting education
    • Knowing when the rainy season was about to arrive was vital and the study of astronomy developed to provide calendar information.
    • Egyptians established the length of the solar year, which they divided into 12 months each with three weeks of ten days
    • But apart from this basic development of a calendar in the early stages of the early dynastic period, to keep track of the agricultural seasons, Egyptians achieved little more, and their astronomical knowledge was primitive with very few contributions during the rest of the historical periods. Only to be further developed 2000 years later during the Ptolemaic Period
    • For the first time in history, astronomy became a true science based on mathematics , and departed from the mystical and astrological elements.
    • The major event in Renaissance astronomy is the work of Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543), he explored the shocking new idea that the Earth revolves around the Sun.
    • Galileo Galilei achievements include improvements to the telescope and consequent astronomical observations, and support for Copernicanism. Galileo has been called the "father of modern observational astronomy