Artes Mechanicae  

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"In his dialogue titled Protagoras, Plato asserts that the gods created humans and all the other animals, but it was left to Prometheus and his brother Epimetheus to give defining attributes to each. As no physical traits were left when the pair came to humans, Prometheus decided to give them fire and other civilizing arts." --Sholem Stein

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

The Artes Mechanicae (mechanical arts) are a medieval concept juxtaposed to the seven Artes liberales. Already Johannes Scotus Eriugena (9th century) divides them somewhat arbitrarily into seven parts:

Hugh of St Victor includes navigation, medicine and theatrical arts instead of commerce, agriculture and cooking.

The classification of the Artes Mechanicae as applied geometry was introduced to Western Europe by Dominicus Gundissalinus under the influence of his readings in Arabic scholarship.

See also

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