Let Us Make the Effort: Science into Latin in Antiquity
Scientific writing initially came to ancient Latin speakers as a foreign discipline. Greek-language sources, in the form both of written texts and of living speakers, brought a wide range of philosophical, technical, and scientific material to their Latin neighbors from at least the second century b.c.e. The challenge for the Romans, though, was not just one of translating individual texts—of turning Plato’s Timaeus into Latin, for example. Instead, Romans worried and openly reflected on the broader question of what this essay calls discourse translation: Was it possible—at all—even to do philosophy in Latin?