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Non-mathematical authors: the philosophers

The Peripatetics and Academics also inherited a tradition where mathematics played a fundamental role. Plato’s immediate successors had been particularly interested in the possibility that Forms were numbers, and that numbers held the key to universal knowledge.31 Later Academics concerned

themselves with explaining the many mathematical passages of the Timaeus or the Republic. Names that have been transmitted include Crantor (end of fourth/beginning of third century BC), Theodorus and Clearchus, known also as a Peripatetic, all from Soli. Of the people generally associated with the Aristotelian tradition, Dicearchus was interested in geographical measurements; Aristoxenus, as we will see, wrote about harmonics; the name of Heraclides of Pontus is linked to astronomical theories; Eudemus of Rhodes, as we have seen, wrote histories of geometry, but also of arithmetic, astronomy and music.32 The Aristotelian corpus preserves a work On Indivisible Lines, aimed at showing that it is ‘neither necessary, nor believable that there are indivisible lines’33 – a line basically shared by Stoics like Chrysippus.34