By Olaf Pedersen
The Almagest, via the Greek astronomer and mathematician Ptolemy, is crucial surviving treatise on early mathematical astronomy, supplying historians worthy perception into the astronomy and arithmetic of the traditional world.
Pedersen's 1974 book, A Survey of the Almagest, is the newest in a protracted culture of partners to the Almagest. half paraphrase and half remark, Pedersen's paintings has earned the common compliment of historians and serves because the definitive introductory textual content for college kids attracted to learning the Almagest.
during this revised variation, Alexander Jones, a distinctive authority at the heritage of early astronomy, offers supplementary details and observation to the unique textual content to account for scholarship that has seemed on account that 1974. This revision additionally accommodates quite a few corrections to Pedersen's unique textual content which were pointed out on the grounds that its publication.
This quantity is meant to supply scholars of the historical past of astronomy with a self-contained creation to the Almagest, supporting them to appreciate and enjoy Ptolemy's nice and classical paintings.
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Additional info for A Survey of the Almagest: With Annotation and New Commentary by Alexander Jones (Sources and Studies in the History of Mathematics and Physical Sciences)
For this departure from a well-established tradition Ptolemy was often blamed by later astronomers6). This is, of course, unjustified from a purely astronomical point of view, since a theoretical science cannot be confined by assertions of a non-scientific character. But it is, nevertheless, a little disappointing that Ptolemy everywhere pretends to stick to tradition without commenting on the points where he discards it. The General Part of the Almagest The Preface to the Almagest considered on the preceding pages contained, as it were, Ptolemy's general philosophy of science.
Where we also witness the old Egyptian method of resolving general fractions into sums of different unit fractions. g. a number of Greek papyri dating from Ptolemy's time and found in Egypt (Neugebauer, 1934, p. ). Thus papyrus Michigan N° 145 gives a table (cf. Thomas, i, 46) of twenty-thirds equivalent to 1/23 2/23 3/23 = 1/23 = = 1/12 1/10 + 1/276 + 1/46 + 1/115 Such representations are frequently found in the Almagest. For example Ptolemy says that according to Hipparchus the 5th century Athenian astronomers Meton and Euctemon found the length of the year to be 365 + 1/4 + 1/76 days [III, 1; Hei 1, 207].
37 s Fig. 2 Furthermore, travelling North we observe how stars gradually disappear forever from the Southern sky, at the same time as more and more stars become circumpolar in the Northern. 3). Fig. 3 The result is that the Earth must have a double curvature. Finally, Ptolemy draws attention to the well known experience that an observer on board a ship approaching the coast will see first the top of the mountains, then gradually more and more. It is interesting to compare this chapter with the classical text on the spherical shape of the Earth in Aristotle's work On the Heavens (ii, 14, 297 a).
A Survey of the Almagest: With Annotation and New Commentary by Alexander Jones (Sources and Studies in the History of Mathematics and Physical Sciences) by Olaf Pedersen