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Biton

Βίτων), the author of a work called κατασκευαὶ πολεμικῶν ὀργάνων κὰ καταπελτικῶν. His history and place of birth are unknown. He is mentioned by Hesychius (s. u. Σαμβύκη), by Heron Junior (de Mach. Bell. prooem), and perhaps by Aelian (Tact. 100.1), under the name of *Bi/wn.


Works


κατασκευαὶ πολεμικῶν ὀργάνων κὰ καταπελτικῶν

The treatise consists of descriptions--
  • 1. Of a πετρόβολον, or machine for throwing stones, made at Rhodes by Charon the Magnesian.
  • 2. Of another at Thessalonica, by Isidorus the Abidene.
  • 3. Of a ἑλέπολις (an apparatus used in besieging cities, see Vitr. 10.22, and Dict. of Ant. s. v.), made by Poseidonius of Macedon for Alexander the Great.
  • 4. Of a Sambuca (Dict. of Ant. s. v.), made by Damius of Colophon.
  • 5. Of a γαστραφέτης (an engine somewhat resembling a crossbow, and so named from the way in which it was held in order to stretch the string, see Hero Alexandrinus, Belop. ap. Vet. Math. p. 125), made by Zopyrus of Tarentum at Miletus, and another by the same at Cumae in Italy.

Biton addresses this work to king Attalus, if at least the reading Α῎τταλε is to be adopted instead of πάλαι or πάλλα (near the beginning), and the emendation is said to be supported by a manuscript (Gale, de Script. Mythol. p. 45); but whether Attalus, the 1st of Pergamus, who reigned B. C. 241-197, or one of the two later kings of the same name be meant, is uncertain.

Editions

The Greek text, with a Latin version, is printed in the collection of ancient mathematicians, Vet. Mathem. Op. Graec. et Latin., Paris, 1693, fol., p. 105, &c.


Work on Topics

Biton mentions (p. 109) a work of his own on Optics, which is lost.


Further Information

Fabric. Bibl. Graec. ii. p. 591.

[W.F.D]

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197 BC (1)
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