The pre-Hellenic civilizations, as discussed in the previous chapter, grew up mainly on the banks of the three major river systems: the Nile, the Tigris-Euphrates, the Indus, and their tributaries. The Hellenic Civilization carne into being in about 600 B.C. with the birth of the Ionian school in Asia Minor. Its science was certainly indebted to older civilizations, mostly perhaps to that of the Egyptians, but there, for the first time, people engaged in a pursuit of knowledge for its own sake. Reymond said of it: ‘Compared with the empirical and fragmentary knowledge which the peoples of the East had laboriously gathered together during long centuries, Greek science constitutes a veritable miracle. Here the human mind for the first time conceived the possibility of establishing a limited number of principles, and of deducing from those a number of truths which are their rigorous consequence’.
By Asit K. Biswas, Chapter 2 of the book: History of Hydrology, 1970, North-Holland Publishing Company, Amsterdam.