Those magnificent men and their stargazing machines

Where is science bred? Is it where the physical circumstances are right – clear skies for astronomy, for example? Where raw materials are abundant – coal for organic chemistry? Where minds freely meet? Where the enlightened patron rules? Violet Moller’s first book, The Map of Knowledge, examined the spread through the centuries of the ideas of Galen, Euclid and Ptolemy by focusing on seven, mainly Mediterranean cities, from Alexandria to Venice, where scientific knowledge was gathered, augmented and promulgated anew, ensuring the survival of classical learning into the modern period. But why these men and these cities? Are people or places the drivers? Is geography a reliable guide, a storytelling