名正則治, 名喪則亂。使名喪者,淫說也。說淫則可不可而然不然,是不是而非不非。故君子之說也,足以言賢者之實、 不肖者之充而已矣,足以喻治之所悖、亂之所由起而已矣,足以知物之情, 人之所獲以生而已矣。

If names are correct, there is order; if names are allowed to become confused, there is disorder. What causes the confusion of names are explanations that involve an excess of elegance and subtlety. If explanations involve such excesses, then then not-acceptable is called acceptable, the not-so is called so, the incorrect is called correct, and the not wrong is called wrong.

The right use of names
LÜ Buwei

Table of Contents

From the end of the Roman Empire to the Middle Ages

These pages are protected by copyright: Antoine Danchin  & Disclaimer.

Contemporary scientific ideas related to biology are developed on this site. As it is intended to be informative, it requires a slow and thorough reading.

This page represents a biased selection of biology-related dates, obtained by compiling many sources, often using original texts and not the WWW; the information selected avoids as much as possible the use of Wikipedia, which by construction is the result of a process analogous to anonymous voting, and evolves over time to reflect an average consensus of what knowledge is rather than the reality of knowledge. We have taken care to verify the information as much as possible and rewrite it when necessary, but its content still contains many errors.

These pages seek to draw the information they present from the most reliable sources possible, namely books, scientific publications, specialist commentaries and catalogs raisonnés of antiquarian book sales. Ideally, each piece of information should have been accompanied by a series of references, but as this text does not pretend to do anything other than provide reference points, we did not consider it possible to make the corresponding addition at the moment. We have done so in a few cases, as for example for Stéphane Leduc's La Biologie Synthétique. The links present in this page differ from those found in the corresponding page in English; they are chosen to be as diversified as possible, they do not engage the responsibility of the author. We also try to provide access to the original texts through appropriate hyperlinks. It must be taken into account that the permanence of the links on the WWW is never guaranteed, and that they disappear regularly. We try to update them regularly. We would like to thank all those who help us to improve the content of these pages.

Please send comments and corrections here.

~0 AD The Christian era begins with the diffusion of a religious sect derived from a proselytizing Israelite sect (the Essenes) based on the words of the prophet Isaiah, among free men but also among slaves. This religion was to have a decisive impact on the development of science through its role in transmitting and interpreting Greek knowledge in its own categories. Perhaps the most important contribution of this religion to science is its emphasis on the universality of knowledge and the need to spread it throughout the world (this life is still active today).

~30 AD Lucius Annaeus Seneca ( Córdoba, 4 BC - Roma 65 AD), who is the preceptor of the mad dictator Nero, develops the philosophy of Stoicism. He is obliged to comit suicide by Nero.

~40 Celsus (Aulus Cornelius Celsus, 25 BC - 50 AD) writes a compilation of Hippocratic medicine, translated into Latin in De medicina (or De re medica). He s a promoter of hygienic practices such as the washing of wounds with caustic liquids like vinegar.

~50 AD Chinese writings from the first century AD, as well as parallel writings in Sanskrit, Persian, and Arabic, describe medicinal bloodletting as a treatment. Although the practice seems barbaric, it may have been initiated by patients with hemochromatosis, for whom blooletting relieves symptoms.

~60 AD Mathematician Heron of Alexandria Ηρων ο Αλεξανδρεύς (~10 AD in Alexandria, ~75 AD, dates disputed) founds the first College of Technology in Alexandria. From Heron's writings (Πνευματικά, Pneumatics) it is reasonable to infer that he taught at the Alexandria Museum.

~100 AD Epictetus (60 AD - 140 AD), a slave in Nero's court, writes a famous Manual of Stoic philosophy, Eπιχτετου ἐνχειριδιον.

105 AD Invention by Cai Lun 蔡倫 (66-125) of paper as we know it today. This allows knowledge (mostly in the form of poetry and treatises on ethical behaviour, very rarely on scientific matters) to be transmitted and disseminated throughout China.

~130 AD Zhang Heng 張衡 (78-139) builds the first known seismograph in China.

~140 Claudius Ptolemeus (~85 - ~165) astronomer and mathematician, draws 26 maps of various countries. He must have worked in Alexandria between AD 127 and 148 since some of his astronomical observations are consistent with these dates. His "Geography" provides at least one clue, listing the Egyptian city of Antinoupolis, founded in AD 130. Ptolemeus most famous works are the Almagest, a 13-books textbook of astronomy in which among many other things, he lays the foundations of modern trigonometry; the Tetrabiblos, a compendium of astrology; and the Geography. He also writes many other works centered on applied mathematics: astronomy, optics, music, etc.

~160 Galen (~130-189 AD), personal physician to Marcus Aurelius, develops the humoral concept of disease, based on earlier Hippocratic theories. This leads him to advocate the practice of bloodletting. In this philosophy, the human body is conceived as a balance between the four Hippocratic humours: blood, phlegm, black bile and yellow bile. Disruption of the humoral balance leads to disease; good health can only be restored by correcting the humoral imbalance, usually by removing some of the patient's blood. As a philosopher, physician, and anatomist, he is famous for his descriptions of human anatomy, which were authoritative for the next 1000 years.

~180 Galen accumulates all the medical knowledge known at the time in a treatise. He extracts plant juices for medicinal purposes. Galen and the following authors elaborate and complete an elaborate system that includes the four organs from which the four humors come, the four seasons, the four stages of human life and several other elements that appear as four. If someone is ill, he has too much of a particular mood ("he is in a bad mood today") and should be treated with an herb with the opposite properties. This parallels the Chinese health theory of Yin 陰 and Yang 陽, and is the foundation of Western medicine until the Middle Ages, and beyond. Even today, our culture contains remnants of this system, even if we no longer accept it as true: for example, referring to old age as the winter of one's life is still a common poetic analogy. In the same way, a culture of the five elements (fire, wood, water, metal, earth), completely illogical in terms of physics but entirely consistent with our current views of information as the fifth currency of reality, still organizes much of Chinese traditional medicine.

~250 Huang-Fu Mi 皇甫谧 (215-282) in his treaty Jiayi Jing (Kia-yi-king) 針灸甲乙經, the classic systematic book of acupuncture, describes the internal organs, the lines of "energy" (the 12 channels that circulate deeply along the borders of the flesh) and the points of acupuncture. The treaty is still in use today for people interested in this practice.

~250 Diophantus of Alexandria (~200 - ~284) writes the first book on what is currently known as algebra, listing 130 problems that need to be solved, Arithmetica.

~260 Wang Shu-He (Shu-Ho) 王 叔和 (~180 - ~270 or 201-280, 265-316?) in his treaty Moe-king, the book of the pulse, describes in details the relationships between the type of pulse (frequency, strength, variations) and the causes of diseases.

~263 Liu Hui 劉徽  (~220-~280) evaluates the value of π, the ratio of the circumference to a circle's diameter to be 3,14159.

~268-270 Porphyrus (233-304) writes his Εἰσαγωγή where he structures each of Aristotle's ten categories. This leads to "Porphyrus' tree", that predates much later classifications of biological organisms.

271 The first form of a compass is used in China for orientation purposes.

~310 Ge Hong (Ko Hong) 葛洪 (281-340) well read in Chinese alchemy, describes leprosy, small pox and measles in China in his book Nei-wai-p'ien.

~320 Pappus of Alexandria (~290-~350) assembles an eclectic collection of older works by Euclid, Archimedes, and Apollonius. In this compendium, he adds a considerable number of his own explanations and amplifications. Among the subjects treated by Pappus are conics, plane geometry, mechanics, and, of particular interest to students of calculus, the tangent lines to certain curves. In the book dealing with mechanics, he describes five machines in use: gearwheel, lever, pulley, screw, wedge.

~320 The treaty by an anonymous author (Chiron the Centaur) Mulomedicina Chironis links human medicine and veterinary medicine, with the underlying idea that horses and men have the same diseases. The author moves away from magic and states that incantations are inefficient in curing stomach pains. And he insists on semiology (clinical signs): In quo uitio uentris doloribus succurrere nemo potest, nisi si scierit singulorum et interaneorum doloris signa et rationem conceptionis et uiti.

~350 Nemesius of Emesa (Νεμέσιος Εμέσης) (Ἔμεσα, today Homs, حُمْص, Syria) writes the treatise Περὶ φύσεως ἀνθρώπου De natura hominis (On Human Nature), where he places the study of human physiology, as described by Galen, within Christian theology. In this work he describes the function of the brain, the operation of the senses, imagination, memory, reasoning and speech, in a way that was crucial to the later developments by later thinkers.

~370 Pelagonius publishes an Ars veterinaria, which continues the tradition begun in Greece. The important thing for veterinarians is to make the right diagnosis, while animals do not speak.

~410 Beginning of what would later be called Alchemy, with the main objects being the search for the philosopher's stone and the elixir of life.

425 Founding of the University of Constantinople.

~470 Zu Chongzhi 祖沖之 (429–500) following a tradition of Chinese mathematicians without much local recognition, calculates π with several digits: π = 3.141592203.

499 Indian mathematician Aryabhata (Kusumapura (now Patna), 476 - 550) creates a code to describe in letters a table of sine values in his Arya-bhatiya. The first 25 consonants of Sanskrit are used to represent the first 25 whole numbers, while the next eight represent numbers from 30 to 100 in steps of 10. The nine vowels are used to create the powers of 100 (so up to 1008). This allows it to represent very large numbers in short words. The use of semicircle chords to calculate the sine (instead of the full chord, as the Greeks did) allows him to give exact values to the third and even the fourth digit. The most important innovation of this system is that, for the first time (the code letter had previously been used by the Greeks), it recognizes the role of rank in creating multiples of ten. This implicitly creates a role for the zero.

~550 Johannes Philoponos o Grammatikos Ἰωάννης ὁ Φιλόπονος ὁ Γραμματικός (Alexandria 490 – 570) writes a lengthy and detailed Commentary on the Philosophy of Aristotle, thus contributing to the perpetuation of the knowledge of this important philosopher (including a Περι μετεωρων and a work on animals).

~600 In Baghdad the name of the change of position in the making of additions, coming from India, shifts to the Arabic "sifr" which means 'empty space'. In Medieval Latin it becomes "ciphra". The Latin will later enter French as "chiffre" then Middle English as "siphre" which eventually becomes "cypher" in English. Arab thinkers begin to relay Greek thought, commenting on it, in particular the writings of Aristotle.

~630 Sun Simiao (Souen Sseu-Mo) 孫思邈 (581-682) in his treaty Ts'ien-king fang, analyzes the behaviour of the body in terms of the balance between the five elements, and explains how this accounts for diseases.

632 The death of Mohammed marks the creation of the Islamic civilization, which will link Indian and Greek science, based on the Greek tradition already taken up by Arab (usually Christian) thinkers. For a long time, Islamic philosophy will separate Science from Theology, and thus allow the emergence of a large part of modern science. Curiously (and quite unfortunately) this enlightened view of religion came to an end when the westward expansion of Arab civilization came to a halt, and most of the Islamic thought that had been enlightened for several centuries, unfortunately regressed to an archaic and obscure pre-scientific state still in effect today in many parts of the Islamic world. Arab science took over from Greek science for a few centuries, while it was almost forgotten in Europe until universities were finally (fortunately) established.

~700 Yahya Mansour Ibn Sarjun (John of Damascus) (Damascus, ~674-749) makes a link between the birth of Islam and Christianity.

752 Wang Tao 王焘  (唐朝) (670-755), the grandson of a prime minister of the early Tang dynasty, in his Wai Tai Mi Yao 外台秘要  [Confidential Reports from a Border Official] describes the course of tuberculosis and predictions of its outcome.

~ 780 Abu Musa Jabir Ibn Hayyan al-Azdi (Geber, Jabir) (Tous, 721 - Kufa, 815), different from the medieval alchemist Geber, is generally perceived as the founder of what was to become chemistry. He practices medicine and alchemy (derived from the Arabic word "al-Kimiya") in Kufa (in present day Iraq) with considerable success. This resulted in much work developed during the centuries to come to be attributed to him (a parallel situation with that of Pythagoras in antiquity). In his early days, Geber worked under the patronage of the Barmaki Vizier during the Abbasid Caliphate of Haroon al-Rashid. He wrote more than one hundred monumental treaties, of which twenty-two dealt with alchemy. He introduced experimental investigation into alchemy, creating a basis for the future development of experimental science. In his work Geber emphasized the importance of experimentation and development of methods to achieve reproducibility. His contribution of fundamental importance to chemistry includes perfection of techniques such as distillation, calcination, sublimation, evaporation and crystallisation and development of several instruments for conducting these experiments. Geber's major practical achievement was the discovery of minerals and he isolated several chemical elements such as arsenic, antimony and bismuth. He also discovered acids, which he prepared for the first time in his inventions, the alembic (al-Anbique) and the retort. His invention of the alembic made the distillation process easy and systematic. Among the various breakthroughs attributed to him, perhaps on wrong bases, is the preparation of sulfuric, nitric, hydrochloric, acetic, citric and tartaric acids. Later on, some attributed to him spurious theories, such as the sulfur-mercury theory of matter, that he certainly had not developed.

~800 Meletius The Monk (Μελετίος μοναχός) (Tiberiopoli, Phrygia) writes an important  work De Hominis Fabrica (‘On the construction of man’) in which he describes the blood circulation well ahead of the work of Harvey. As a medical philosopher (ἰατροσοφιστής) he comments on the work of Hippocrates. It is now likely that he was one of the sources of the works of Avicenna. In his  Περί Ούρων  he also opens up the study of human physiology in a way that has been influential but generally forgotten.

~815 Yuhanna Ibn Masawaih (Johannes Mesue, Jean Mésué) (776-855) translates the ancient Greek text about medicine into Arabic and creates his own vision of using plants as medicines to cure diseases.

~820 al-Jahiz (Uthman Amr bin Bahr al-Fukaymi al-Basri) (Bassorah, 776- 869) founder of a sect that bears his name, al-Jahiziyya, writes a book in the science of zoology, The Book of Animals (Kitab al-Hayawan) inspired by the thinking of his Greek predecessors. He is a link between early commentators of Aristotle and the later enlightened Islamic thinkers.

~825 Muhammad ibn Musa Al Khwarizmi (~780, Baghdad, Khawarizm? - ~850) writes about arithmetic. He exposes the demonstrations of the Greeks which had disappeared in almost complete oblivion, in particular the reasonings of the disciples of Eratosthenes. His name created the word "algorithm", i.e. a series of procedures with tests, arranged in sequential order, but also able of calling themselves.

~850 Hunayn Ibn Ishaq (Johannitius) (808-873), a Nestorian Christian pupil of Mesue translates dozens of books written in Greek or Syriac into Arabic, in particular work from Galen and Hippocrates and Dioscorides' περι υλες ιατρικες.

~850 Taoist priests, seeking to invent an elixir of immortality, mix saltpeter, sulfur and charcoal: this makes black powder, later used for guns and fireworks.

860-866 Johanes Scottus Erigenus (John Scot Erigene, Erigène)(? Ireland ~800 - ~877) Περι Φυσεως, De Divisione Naturae reinvestigates Aristotle Categories, and expounds the problem of creation in Nature. His reflection on the nature of creation is important throughout the Middle Ages. It is then overshadowded by a mechanistic reflection which culminates at the end of the eighteenth century, and which still dominates today.

~900 Abu- Bakr Muhammed ibn-Zakariya’al-Razi, Rhazes (Rayy, Persia, 841? - 926?) establishes the firm diagnostic of small pox and distinguishes it from measles. In two books, Kitab al-Mansuri and Kitab al-hawi, he continues the tradition of Hippocrates and Galen.

~920 Abu al-Nasr al-Farabi (870-950), author of an introduction to the philosophy of Plato and Aristotle begins  a rich tradition in Islamic philosophy, based on the commentaries of the Greeks (Aristotle in particular) and on the text of the Koran.

976 As evidenced by the remains in Spain, the Hindu-Arabic system of number representation makes its way into Europe by various means.

~980 Alfred the Great (a Saxon king) uses lighted candles to measure time.

~995 The Persian Abu Arrayhan Muhammad ibn Ahmad al-Biruni (Khwarazm 973 - Ghazna 1048) writes a Cartography that will be used for the following centuries. it is the beginning of a very large body of work. His work covers all the fields of science of the time.

~1000 During the Sung dynasty candles and burning incense mark time in China.

~1025 Al Hussein ibn Abdullah Ibn Sina (Avicenna) (Bokhara 980-1037) writes his Al-Qānūn fī al-țibb Canon of Medicine (partially inspired by Aristotle, with some influence of the Neo-Platonists). Nature is perceived as a "finality". He expounds the same human anatomy as Galen.

~1050 Michel Psellos (Byzance, 1018-1096) writes many treatises of science Sapientissimi Pselli opus dilucidum in quattuor mathematicas disciplinas, arithmeticam, musicam, geometricam, et astronomiam. Numerirum ricontractior explicatio, in which he begins with the study of Plato, to go to Aristotle and the role of reason and science in the explanation of natural facts.

1086 Invention of movable pictograms for printing in China. This corresponds to the modern printing technique.

1088 Creation of the University of Bologna.

~1130  Trotula de Ruggiero (Salerno ~1090 - ) the most famous of the ”Mulieres Salernitanae”, one of the Dame della Scuola Medica di Salerno, publishes De passionibus mulierum, dealing mainly with women's diseases (gynecology, obstetrics) as well as with child care, medical and surgical pathologies and various cosmetics.

1145 During the Song dynasty, the first autopsy in China is performed on the body of a captive from South China.

~1150 Matthaeus Platearius (? - 1161), from the well-known school of Salerno, outlines in his Circa instans negotium in simplicibus medicinis, how to use plants and their preparation to cure diseases. He explains the way mummies are treated for preservation, using mummy extracts as medicines. He describes collections of plants of the type that will become Herbaria.

1150 Hildegard von Bingen am Rhein (Bermersheim, 1098 - 1179) writes medical and scientific treatises, Physica, Causae et Curae, summarized in her Liber subtilitatum diversarum naturarum. Her work in natural sciences are an interesting survey of the knowledge of the time, recently carried over from Antiquity, especially on medicinal plants.

1155 Creation of the University of Paris.

1167 Henry II forbids English students to attend the University of Paris. As a result, teaching becomes important at what will become the University of Oxford.

~1175 Abu al-Walid Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Muhammad Ibn Rushd (Averroès) (Cordoba 1126 - Marrakech 1198) publishes his remarkable treatise, Tahafut al Tahafut, refuting the literal interpretation of the sacred texts by Abu Hamid al Ghazali (1058-1111). He states that Science is distinct from theology, and does not contradict it. Averroes' contribution to the development of Science is major, in particular through his important Commentary on Aristotle.

~1180 Moseh Ben Maimon (Mosè Maimonide) (Cordoba, 1135 - Foustat, 1204) supports a return to the thought of Aristotle: "One may dispense from reading Plato, because the texts of Aristotle are enough […]. The works of Aristotle are the roots and bases of all scientific work. They cannot, however, be understood without the help of Commentaries, those of Alexander of Aphrodisias, Themistios, and Averroès."

~1200 Abdallatif (Abd-Ul-Latif) (Bagdad, 1162 - 1231) writes numerous books of medicine and zoology: he describes the hippopotamus and the crocodile and mexperiments with the hatching of chicken eggs by incubation in artificial heat.

1202 Fibonacci (Leonardo da Pisa) (~1170 – ~1250) in his Liber Abaci establishes the use of decimal calculation in Europe. He introduces the Latinized Arabic word, zephirum, zefiro in Italian, and in the Venetian dialect, zero.

1220 Creation of the Université de Montpellier which, unlike previous universities, is not religious but secular. It is very innovative and teaches both Greco-Latin and Arabic medicine as well as surgery on an equal footing.

~1240 Thomas Cantipratensis (Thomas of Cantimpré) (1200-1263/72) in his Liber de naturis rerum follows Aristotle in many descriptions of life.

~1240 Albert von Bollstädt (Albertus Magnus) (Lauingen an der Donau, ~1200 - Köln, 1280), considered to be the Doctor universalis from the Middle Ages, undertakes in Paris the task of presenting the whole of knowledge, natural science, logic, rhetoric, mathematics (work on Euclid's elements in particular), astronomy, ethics, economics, politics and metaphysics. He writes commentaries on all of Aristotle's works, adding his own observations and experiments. By 'experiment' Albert means 'observing, describing and classifying'. His works combines Aristotle's work with Neo-Platonism, Christian theology and Islamic and Hebraic philosophy. In biology his contribution is considerable, providing information on cures based on minerals, and his Regimen sanitatis contains chapters on bread, wine, meat, eggs, fish, vegetables, etc, associated to ideas about their role on health.

~1244-1245 Vincentius Bellovacensis (Vincent de Beauvais) (~1190 - 1264) writes the Speculum naturale part of a Speculum majus where he complements the discussions of others in Aristotelian terms.

1247 Li Ye (1192-1279) writes a treatise on the calculation of circles.

~1250 Sakarja ben Muhammed (el Kasvini, al Qazwini) (?- 1283) publishes Aja'ib al-makhluqat wa-ghara'ib al-mawjudat (Marvels of Things Created and Miraculous Aspects of Things Existing The Wonders of Nature) after Aristotle in which he describes animals such as the giraffe, the ostrich and the rhinoceros.

1253 Willem van Ruysbroek (1225-1295), from French Flanders, reaches Karakorum in Mongolia and stays there for some time where he debates religious principles. On his return to Europe he brings some knowledge of Tibetan Buddhism, and brings the secret to make gunpowder.

1253 The Faculté de Médecine de Paris is founded. Surgeons, who are separated from physicians in the Hippocratic oath, are relegated as "barbers".

1267 Roger Bacon (Ilchester 1214 - Oxford 1294) Franciscan in Oxford and Paris writes his Opus majus and Opus minus, followed the next year by Opus tertium, contains reflections on mathematics, astronomy, optics and experimental sciences. He describes spectacles, flying machines, motorboats and the process of making gunpowder. His writings are a passionate tirade against ignorance. He combines his attack on the ignorance of his time with suggestions for the increase of knowledge. But the novelty of his ideas leads to his imprisonment in 1277.

1269 Pierre de Maricourt (Pierre le Pèlerin (Petrus Peregrinus)) writes De Magnete, a letter On the Magnet to the knight Sieger de Foucaucourt where he lays the foundations of magnetism.

~1270 Arnauld de Villeneuve (~1235 - 1311) in his Rosarium philosophorum discusses Aristotle Categories: "Rien ne donne ni le blanc ni le rouge, sinon par sa blancheur et par sa rougeur" ("Nothing gives either white or red, except by its whiteness and redness"). He also writes several treatises of Alchemy, which played an important role at the time (and are still famous for those who like pseudo-science and esoterism): De secretis naturae and De alchimia opuscula complura veterum philosophorum, quorum catalogum sequens pagella indicabit and proposes health-preserving ways in Regimen sanitatis. His entire work was destroyed by Inquisition.

1273 Thomas Aquinas (Aquino, 1225 - Fossa Nuova, 1274). Doctor of theology from the University of Paris writes his last contribution to his famous Summa theologica. The Summa theologica had only been completed up to the ninetieth question of the third part (De partibus poenitentiae). Among the important points discussed in the Summa theologica is the concept of creation, which did not fit with the reading of the Genesis in the Bible, but which is very modern in the way it takes up the role of the formation of relations between objects. The Scholastic school, examplified by Thomas Aquinas has been ridiculed after the Renaissance, but it is certainly much richer than the mechanics which developed during the century that liked to name itself "Enlightment". Moreover, its emphasis on Aristotle rather than the idealist Plato had a considerable impact on the creation of modern Science. Aquinas argues that intellect does not directly know the singularity of material things but only the universal natures that are abstracted from sense perceptions.

~1280 Philippe Ier de Courtenay ( Constantinople 1243-1283) emperor of Constantinople, who never reigned,  links scholasticism with oriental interpretations of Aristotle.

1295 Marco Polo (Korcula 1254 - Venezia 1323) returns from his journey to the East. In 1298, prisoner in Genoa he begins to write his memoirs where he describes the advanced state of the Chinese civilisation.

~ 1300 Johannes Duns Scotus (Duns, ~1265 -1308) gives lectures on the Sentences, the basic theological textbook by the Italian theologian Pierre Lombard. His most important writings are two sets of Commentaries on the Sentences of Pierre Lombard and the treatises Quaestiones quodlibetales (Quodlibetal Disputations), Questions on Metaphysics, and Ejusdem de primo rerum principio tractatus (On the First Principl. Scotus combines the Aristotelian theory of knowledge oriented toward the nature of physical objects as realizable through the abstraction creating power of the intellect with the Franciscan view of the soul as a substance in its own right with powers of intellection not confined to sensible reality. This subtle blend of divergent tendencies and his skillful method of analysis earns him the title of Doctor Subtilis. Like Aquinas, Scotus is a realist in philosophy, but differs from Aquinas on certain fundamental issues. one of the main points of divergence concerns their views of perception. Scotus holds that a direct, intuitive grasp of particular things is obtained both by the intellect and by the senses. He also maintains that universals as such do not exist outside the human mind, but that each separate or "singular" thing possesses a formally distinct nature that it shares with other things of the same kind. This fact, he teaches, provides the objective basis of our knowledge of essential truths.

1303 Zhu Shijie 朱世傑 (1250? - 1303?) publishes a book of algebra, Suan xue qi meng, 算 學啟蒙 (Introduction to Mathematical Studies), with a representation of the multiples of a sum (later known as Pascal's triangle).

1306-1312 Henri de Mondeville (1260-1320) writes his Chirurgie in Latin translated into French in 1314.

~1310 Bartholomeus Mini de Senis (Senensis) (? - ?) is supposed to have summarized knowledge about curing diseases in a Tractatus de herbis inspired by earlier works directly inspired by Galenic treaties, translated from Greek into Latin at the time, as well as books inspired by Arabic medicine. It will be soon translated into French: Le grant herbier translaté de latin en françois.

~1324 William of Ockham (Ockham, ~1285/1290 - München, ~1349), who studied theology in Oxford, is condemned as heretic for his Commentary of the Sentences from Pierre Lombard after being denunced by the University Chancellor John Lutterel. Ockham is famous for his way of organizing the exploration of knowledge. One of the links in the chain of founders of the scientific approach, he strictly separates in his writings the spiritual and thus theology, from the temporal and thus science. This leads him to distinguish the philosophy of Plato  from the quest for knowledge of Aristotle .

1347 From Mongolia, the Black Death begins to invade Europe.

1363 Guy de Chauliac (~1290-1368) publishes a treatise on surgery, La Grande Cyrurgie.

1370 King Charles V of France decrees that all Paris church bells must ring at the same time as the Royal Palace, helping end the ringing of bells at canonical times (prayer times) decreed by the church and beginning to establixh a universal time scale.

?1373 Abu Abdallah Yaish ibn Ibrahim Al-Umawi (?~1400 -? 1489) Marasim al-intisab fi`ilm al-hisab (On arithmetical rules and procedures), and Raf`al-ishkal fi ma`rifat al-ashkal which is a work on mensuration. The first of these two works contains the date "1373" which appears to contradict the dates for this mathematician's life.

1386 Foundation of the University of Heidelberg.

1400 Mechanical clocks are built in Europe, using a mainspring and a pendulum.

1405 Muhammed el Damiri (~1344 - 1405) publishes a book on Animal Life  Kitab al Hayawan      حياة الحيوان

1439-1440 Nikolaus Cusanus (von Kues, Nicolas de Cuse) (Kues, Trier 1401 - Todi 1464) exposes in his De Docta Ignorantia (english translation: On learned Ignorance) well before Copernicus, that the universe has no centre, but that Man imagines he is the centre of the cosmos.

recul   avance