The essay analyzes in detail the important historiographical work aimed at reconstructing ancient mathematics. It has the merit of bringing to the fore the relevance of a solid philological expertise for scientific historiography in general and for the study of the so-calles scientific revolution in particular. In so far as scientific activity does not take place in a vacuum, serious philological investigation cannot avoid integrating the analysis of written texts with a corresponding attention to all those aspects – such as paintings, bas reliefs and drawings for istance – which make out the historical background against which scientific activity takes place. Social conditions, educational institutions, press and libraries also play a fundamental role in the initial phase of every science.

Key-words: Archimedes; Humanism; Scientific Devolution