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PART II. BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES P A R T I I . B I O G R A P H I C A L SKETCHES AESCHYLUS (525-456 B.C.), Attic Tragedian, the first, and still one of the greatest, tragedians in the "West" of whom entire plays survive. Aeschylus derived from landed aristocracy, and, although a lifelong poet by avocation, he led, as customary with Athenians of his generation, a crowded citizen's life in the service of the polis. For instance, tradition has it, and there is no reason to doubt it, that he was present at the battles of Marathon, Artemisium , Salamis, and Plataea in the years 490-479. Of his few surviving works, his last was his trilogy Oresteia {Agamemnon, Choeophoroi, Eumenides) which was presented in 454, only two years before his death. There are Greek scholars who view the Oresteia as the greatest poetical work of Greece, ahead of the Iliad. The leading achievement of Aeschylus was the introduction of the dramatic dialogue, and his dialogue is immortally exemplified in the Agamemnon, especially in the encounter between Klytaemnestra and Cassandra. Before Aeschylus, in Homer say, even when persons spoke passionately in rapid succession to one another, it still sounded as if they were observing some rules of parliamentary conduct in town meetings and war councils; only Aeschylus created the poignancy which goes with a stage dialogue as we have it today. The language in Aeschylus, although contrived, is superb, and it does not lose its force in translation. But Aeschylus cannot be performed on our stage today because his "Greek" chorus still has an inordinately large part in the proceedings and in the unfolding of the plot, and this is fatiguing both to stage directors and to audiences. Aeschylus is religiously motivated, and his Godhead is [303] BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES Zeus; also, even an evil woman like Klytaemnestra is somehow still a somewhat-more-than-human "heroine." It has been noted—and there are even a few special books about it—that the plaints of Prometheus against Zeus in the Prometheus Chained—and some analogous features in other plays of Aeschylus—are reminiscent of the plaints of Job against Jahwe in the Old Testament, and that the author of Job may have been synchronous with Aeschylus. But the similarity must not be pressed too far. Nor, on the opposite side, must one attempt to find that the texture of the religious spirit in Aeschylus is such, as to pre-announce the forthcoming prevalence of philosophical and scientific rationality, a century hence. No amount of literary criticism or analysis of Shakespeare would elicit from his work a pre-announcement of the composition of Newton's Principia less than a century after him. AGUILONIUS, F. or FRANCOIS D'AGUILLON (1567-1617), Jesuit from Brussels, taught philosophy at Douai, and theology at Antwerp at a college of which he was rector. The expression stereographic projection appears in his treatise on optics, 1613. ALHAZEN (965-1039), born at Bassora; died in Cairo, after feigning insanity for many years in order to escape death for not being able to regulate the inundations of the Nile as he had offered to do. He composed many works in mathematics, astronomy, medicine, philosophy, and physics , most of them lost. His treatise on optics, which became known to Kepler through Witelo, was the greatest single work on this topic between Ptolemy and Kepler. AMONTONS, GUILLAUME (Paris 1663-id. 1705), deaf from childhood; physicist, worked successfully in friction and thermometry. In a sense, he anticipated the GayLussac law, in memoirs beginning with one in 1699. [3°4l BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCHES AMPERE, ANDRE MARIE (Lyons 1775-Marseille 1836). His father died on the guillotine in 1793. He was a front-rank French physicist, father of electrodynamics, creator of the conception of a "current" of electricity instead of Oersted's "conflict" of electricity. Before turning to physics he taught, and earned reputations in, mathematics , philosophy, and chemistry; and he left behind an unfinished Essai sur la philosophie des sciences, which was intended to be a grandiose synthesis of all scientific knowledge. He occupied at various times many high academic posts; but at his death, which took place while he was on an inspection tour of universities, he was halfforgotten . ANATOLIUS (SAINT) (Alexandria 230-Laodicea A.D. 282), bishop of Laodicea since 276, Aristotelian, one of the most educated persons of his times; presumed author of certain fragments dealing with the nature of mathematics, author of a work on the date of...


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