1 The Department of Culture and Identity, Roskilde University2 Videnskabsstudier, Department of Communication and Arts, Roskilde University
Plato, so the story goes, held mathematics in high esteem, and those philosopher-kings that ought to rule his republic should have a thorough foundation in mathematics. This may well be true - but an observation made by Aristotle suggests that the mathematics which Plato intends is not the one based on theorems and proofs which we normally identify with "Greek mathematics". Most other ancient writers who speak of mathematics as a road towardWisdom also appear to be blissfully ignorant of the mathematics of Euclid, Archimedes, Apollonios, etc. The aim of the paper is to identify the kinds of mathematics which were available as external sources for this current (on the whole leaving out of consideration Liberal-Arts mathematics as not properly external). A number of borrowings can be traced to various practitioners' traditions - but always as bits borrowed out of context.