Most brilliant minds in the world between 580 AD and 620 AD

Feb 2019
75
Thrace
#1
I'm currently making a "lineage" of the smartest guy in the world all the way back since ancient Greece(basically a passing of the torch) and the process was increasingly difficult in the middle ages until the emergence of the Islamic Golden Age. At them moment, the biggest gap I have is between Varahamihira and Brahmagupta. Another "gap" I have is Hipparchus and Posidonius. Even if they were actually contemporaries, Posidonius was around 15 years old when Hipparchus died so not realistically the smartest human on the planet. I've found a few Indian mathematicians for the period I'm asking but not enough and honestly none of them seem legit contenders for the smartest man in the world tag. Wang Xiaotong is the only plausible option I found for this period).
 
Feb 2019
75
Thrace
#3
Out of curiosity, who do you have for the late third and early fourth centuries AD?
It was a gargantuan task to find as plausible choices for the "smartest man in the word" like in previous centuries that time around. So it's great that you ask, since I'm not satisfied with my finding for that period either. If I would pinpoint the exact period where the project got allot harder, it's from the emergence of Christianity till the Islamic Golden Age(when allot of great names started to pop up again), and Europe became a great searching place again only when the Renaissance started.

So the names for "late third and early fourth centuries AD" are: Iamblichus - Pappus of Alexandria - Sunzi - Augustine of Hippo. None of them very satisfying tbh.
 
#4
It was a gargantuan task to find as plausible choices for the "smartest man in the word" like in previous centuries that time around. So it's great that you ask, since I'm not satisfied with my finding for that period either. If I would pinpoint the exact period where the project got allot harder, it's from the emergence of Christianity till the Islamic Golden Age(when allot of great names started to pop up again), and Europe became a great searching place again only when the Renaissance started.

So the names for "late third and early fourth centuries AD" are: Iamblichus - Pappus of Alexandria - Sunzi - Augustine of Hippo. None of them very satisfying tbh.
That's a fair selection. There are certainly some notable thinkers in the third and fourth centuries: Plotinus, Mani, Porphyry, Lactantius, Libanius, Ambrose, Jerome. But I think you've made good choices. Who precedes Iamblichus? Plotinus? Mani?
 
Feb 2019
75
Thrace
#5
That's a fair selection. There are certainly some notable thinkers in the third and fourth centuries: Plotinus, Mani, Porphyry, Lactantius, Libanius, Ambrose, Jerome. But I think you've made good choices. Who precedes Iamblichus? Plotinus? Mani?
I initially had Plotinius in my list but opted to exclude him for his heavily mysticism oriented philosophy. I have another gap after Galen since he is followed by Alexander of Aphrodisias who was 16 when Galen died, but I might remove him and include Plotinius back if a link is found after Galen. The others till Iamblichus are Diophantus, Liu Hui and Porphyry.

Since metaphysics was already starting to influence philosophy heavily that time around, I'm more inclined to find plausible options for the best mathematician in the world to fill in the gaps during that period.
 
Aug 2010
15,254
Welsh Marches
#8
The fact is that none of us here know enough to assess who were the smartest people in the world! And there is the further problem that there is not just one kind of 'smartness', philosophers, mathematicians, scientists, literary figures, historians etc. etc. can all be brilliantly intelligent in different ways, and to distil even a top rank of people out of all of that is a hopeless task. How can you judge a mathematician against a wide-ranging thinker like Augustine? The problem gets even more difficult if arbitrary and ultimately subjective factors are going to be introduced (e.g. Plotinus' thought inclined too much toward the mystical, and thus must be placed behind an essentially second-rank figure like Porphyry!).
 
Likes: Olleus
Feb 2019
75
Thrace
#9
The fact is that none of us here know enough to assess who were the smartest people in the world! And there is the further problem that there is not just one kind of 'smartness', philosophers, mathematicians, scientists, literary figures, historians etc. etc. can all be brilliantly intelligent in different ways, and to distil even a top rank of people out of all of that is a hopeless task. How can you judge a mathematician against a wide-ranging thinker like Augustine? The problem gets even more difficult if arbitrary and ultimately subjective factors are going to be introduced (e.g. Plotinus' thought inclined too much toward the mystical, and thus must be placed behind an essentially second-rank figure like Porphyry!).
No doubt the list is filled with wild guesses, but consider it an attempt to find the most plausible options.
 

Kirialax

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
4,610
Blachernai
#10
While I agree with earlier posters that the question is seriously mis-judged, you might want to look at sixth and seventh century Syriac and Armenian thinkers. Those worlds saw a great deal translation and production of thought (although some would, of course, denigrate it as "theology") in precisely this period, but have largely been neglected due to the linguistic difficulties and its limited impact on the west. You might want to start with Jack Tannous' recent book, especially the chapters on Quenneshre. For the Armenian world, look around for David the Invincible Philosopher and his school.
 

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