HoST Fall 2011

Week of 9/20-9/22

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Assignment 3


:::::CAL Article/Conf:Conference files:PowerPoint image collection:7 Liberal Arts from Masi:quadrivium-highlight.jpg

The Quadrivium: Arithmetic, Music, Geometry, and

Astronomy are highlighted in yellow.


Updated: 10/13/11 5:25 PM


Advice on how to read: In general I suggest that you jot stuff down in the margins as you read. (Or jot down the page number and a comment on a separate sheet of paper.)  If you think of some movie you saw, jot it down, if you thought of what you had for lunch… jot it down.  Start to let your mind make connections, not just obvious ones, but ones that may be a bit more cryptic.  Generally speaking, this stuff cannot be skimmed.   The devil is generally in the details.  If you are already familiar with a text, skimming it will refresh your memory.  But stuff like Lucretius requires full attention on the first pass otherwise you probably won’t retain much.  Try to have enough time to get into it.  Otherwise it is just painful and/or dull and meaningless.  Then school is a bore and you become a bore and a drone… etc.  School is what you make of it.

For Tuesday


1-Read this essay I wrote on Plato’s “Myth of Er” from the Republic. This story is found in last few pages of the Republic  NewsomeErsCosmosDraft-2009sm-244KB.pdf.  7pp  (I posted Cornford’s translation of this story/myth last week in the Plato PDF if you want to look at it).


2- Read another thing by me on premodern arithmetic.  Newsome-Arithmetic.pdf 5pp


In-class music lab.


For Wednesday


1-Read McClellan and Dorn: pp. 65-78 13pp


For Thursday


1- Read Book I, "Matter and Space," in Lucretius’On the Nature of the Universe. (you bought this book for this class). This first book of Lucretius is a bit stiff, but necessary for the rest of the book.  Also the first page or so is rather weird.  Memmius is Lucretius' patron.  Don't let all the weird intro stuff bother you.  Let your mind create the images he paints.  Free associate.  Draw little diagrams if that is useful. 26pp


Here is a PDF of Book I for those who didn't receive their copies yet.

It's from an older Penguin ed. but it is still Latham's translation.



Citations for the above readings and audio:


Lucretius Carus, Titus, R. E. Latham, and John Godwin. On the Nature of the Universe. Translated by R. E. Latham and with Introduction and Notes by John Godwin. Penguin Classics. New York: Penguin Books, 1994.


McClellan, James E., and Harold Dorn. Science and Technology in World History : An Introduction. Baltimore, Md.: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999.


Newsome, Daniel. "Harmonic Structures in Kepler’s World." Excerpt from Draft of Dissertation Chapter, CUNY Graduate Center, 2004.


Newsome, Daniel. "Premodern Arithmetic." Excerpt from Dissertation, CUNY Graduate Center, 2011.



Essay assignment for this week. Remember, this is optional insofar as you must do 4 of these (2 short and 2 long) during this term.


Short Essay Option: Write an approx. 600 word, single-spaced essay (about 1 full page of single-spaced text). Write on some interesting aspect you find in these readings and/or this site.  Do not write an essay generally describing the overall reading.  I have read it.  Instead, latch onto a particular issue and respond to it. Cite sources. If you have not cited a source you can expect a lower grade pretty much automatically.  Use illustrations or similar if you think it will help. [I want to know what you thought about the materials I assigned.  I want to know what you thought while reading the materials.  I want to know if you found any similarities with other readings too. Engage the readings either generally or in detail.]  If you can think of a way to engage the material using other media or graphics, go for it, but you must still cite sources and make an effort that is roughly the equivalent of at least a 1 to 2 page single-spaced paper.  Reminder: prove to me that you read the readings by engaging them. 

–The Department of Redundancy Department.


Here are some cryptic essay ideas. If these help, great, if they confuse you, ignore them.

Number, harmony, mythology, structure, form, matter, eccentric, epicycle, seasons, diurnal, annual, phases of moon, interval, analogy, metaphor, model of the universe or a calculation tool, spheres and circles, Adam Ant, drinking and smoking and goody two-shoes, weaving, spinning, wool, Homer, astronomy and astrology, soul and intelligence and image and dreams and visions and reality… etc.





The Long Essay option is essentially the same as the short essay but should be about 1200 words long (about 2 full pages of single-spaced text) and must incorporate one or more of the following additional materials: [You may suggest other readings to me if you have something in mind, but they must be credible sources.]


Additional materials for the long essay:


- Pp. 33-50 from Navon, Robert. The Pythagorean Writings: Hellenistic Texts from the 1st Cent. B.C.-3d Cent. A.D. On Life, Morality, and the World : Comprising a Selection of the Neo-Pythagorean Fragments, Texts, and Testimonia of the Hellenistic Period, Including Those of Philolaus and Archytas.  Great Works of Philosophy Series; Vol. 3. Kew Gardens, N.Y.: Selene Books, 1986.  Navon-PythagoreanWritingsExcerpts-1.9MB.pdf  If you like the weird numerology, this is for you.


- paper on the quadrivium Newsome-Quadrivium-8.1.09-4.3MB.pdf  ca.14pp single spaced


- Bragg, Melvyn. The Music of the Spheres. Audio. London: BBC, 2009.  [45 minutes]  This covers some Pythagorean and Platonic material as well as extensions of this idea into later history.  If you use this, and quote from it, be sure to identify the speaker (as best as you can) and identify where in the recording it can be found.  Here is the BBC site for this episode, with an overview and list of guests: BBC Site-Music of the Spheres.  Here is the mp3 IOT_ The Music of the Spheres.mp3 [19.3MB].


- Warren, James. "Lucretius and Greek Philosophy." In The Cambridge Companion to Lucretius, ed. Stuart Gillespie and Philip R. Hardie, 19-32. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007.  Warren-LucretiusGreekPhil-CC.pdf  [3.5MB]  Ties in nicely with our reading from McClellan and Dorn from last week.


- Mathiesen, Thomas J. "Greek Music Theory." In The Cambridge History of Western Music Theory, ed. Thomas Street Christensen, 109-135. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001.  Mathiesen-AncientMusicTheory-Cambridge.pdf [4.4MB]


- I'll add more as I think of them...


:::::Words:Daniel's Papers and Notes:Kepler's Harmonic World 5.13.04:Kepler; prospectus stages :Musical Images:Pythagorean images:Gaffurius-Pithagoras-1496sm.jpg

From Gaffurius-1496



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Interesting Sciencey News

–If you run across an interesting story, let me know–


New Rocket System Announced by NASA


Planet with 2 Suns: The video link loads after a few seconds.


Economics as Technology? 

Instead of valuing labor in $$$s/hour, it is valued in hours, without $$$.

Is this a labor theory of value?

Links to virtual pianos:

another one- I like this one, but it doesn't always load.

another one- This one is good too.

Virtual piano- this one only has one octave, but it has different voices.

virtual monochord

Review Materials- 3-Quadrivium-MusicLab-LucretiusQuiz.pdf [2.6 MB]