Driven by an unquenchable thirst, the human spirit seeks an explanation of the world. In this fascinating study, a noted historian of science traces the course of the ceaseless yearning for answers across two and a half millennia and chronicles, in simple form, the development of the idea of a rational and interconnected material world. This account begins with the earliest recordings of true science among the Ionian Greeks and proceeds to detail the development of unitary systems of thought among Plato, Aristotle, the Stoics, and others. Examinations of the science of imperial Rome ― including Roman mathematics, astronomy, physics, and calendarial science ― give rise to the science of the Middle Ages and the influence of Scholasticism, the rise of humanism, and the reawakened scientific spirit of the early Renaissance. These developments in turn led to the downfall of Aristotelian science in the seventeenth century, the Galilean revolution, Newtonian mathematical physics, and finally, the enthronement of determinism in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Profusely illustrated with maps and diagrams, this comprehensive yet concise volume offers an absorbing, readable history of science up to the dawn of the modern era.