One Of Conon's Peers Extends Some Stern, But Well Meant, Criticism


Lacking logic, he moves, by false deduction,

to offer to his peers---astronomers---

a rather shrill and staid sort of instruction

(a rather pompously performed production)

on observations' tabular construction.

This superficial ruse subtly enables

his ego, rather than to enhance their tables.

. . . Starward


Author's Notes/Comments: 

Conon was an astronomer in Alexandria approximately contemporary with the Poet, Callimachus.

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lyrycsyntyme's picture

One thing that is always on

One thing that is always on my mind, when I read any piece of literature about thinkers and scientists of pre-industrial times (whether it a poem such as yours, a historical book, etc.), is how much their historical fame has to do with scarcity of education and a much smaller population. Was a guy like Conon, for example, someone who would be just another white coat in a lab in today's world? I can't exactly say why this crosses my mind so often, but it certainly does :) What ever the answer, I enjoyed your write :)

Januarian's picture

Thank you.  Whoever Conon was,

Thank you.  Whoever Conon was, he inspired, or helped to inspire, one of Callimachus' best poems, and was then, a couple of centuries later, mentioned again in Catullus' "Poem 66."  I am not enough of a historian to know for sure, but I have the distinct impression that astromomy and poetry were much more closely allied than they are now.  Thanks again for the comment and the compliment.


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lyrycsyntyme's picture

You're welcome. And I have

You're welcome. And I have the same impression. As I imagine it, the sciences and the arts shared a much smaller (literal) structural space, where these figures often crossed paths and perhaps - sometimes just feet apart - did their work. Their are countless places for intellectuals to spend their time in their relatively closed circles now, but in those days the such available spaces had to be far, far fewer in number.

Januarian's picture

I have to admire the

I have to admire the Ptolemaic Dynasty for creating the Library and Museum which were two of the world's wonders.  The concept was laid down by Ptolemy I, who had been Alexander's field commander and was, himself, a published historian.  His son poured a fortune into the Library, and Callimachus and Conon were probably both employed as staff scholars.  The LXX translation of the Hebrew Scriptures, which is used by the Orthodox Church, was translated under the auspices of the Library.  Unfortunately, when Julius Caesar descided he need to rape Alexandria as well as Cleopatra, a burning mast from one of his ships (all of which were under attack) fell into the Library, burned up many precious scrolls, and was allowed to cause enormous damage before anyone bothered to put it out.


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