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A Survey of the Almagest: With Annotation and New Commentary by Olaf Pedersen

By Olaf Pedersen

The Almagest, through the Greek astronomer and mathematician Ptolemy, is crucial surviving treatise on early mathematical astronomy, providing historians beneficial perception into the astronomy and arithmetic of the traditional world.

Pedersen's 1974 ebook, A Survey of the Almagest, is the latest 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 students drawn to learning the Almagest.

during this revised version, Alexander Jones, a individual authority at the historical past of early astronomy, presents supplementary info and statement to the unique textual content to account for scholarship that has seemed when you consider that 1974. This revision additionally accommodates numerous corrections to Pedersen's unique textual content which were pointed out for the reason that its publication.

This quantity is meant to supply scholars of the heritage of astronomy with a self-contained creation to the Almagest, assisting them to appreciate and savour Ptolemy's nice and classical paintings.

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Extra 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)

Example text

He does not say whether any kind of algorithm is used. Now it is obvious that the method is very similar to that used today in ordinary divisions of decimal fractions, so that a simple algorithm can be constructed along modern lines. For the first division it would look like the following scheme: 25;12,10 , 60°· 25 = 60° · 0°;12 1515°; 20, 1500° 1 = . 60° · 0°;0,10 == . •. . • I 15 I 60° 15° 12° ~ 3°; 20, 15 0°; 10, 0 3°; 10, 15 190';15 Another example of division has been analysed by Rome (1926, p.

This is the case with the Sun, the Moon, and the five planets. Further observations show that these seven bodies perform individual motions towards the East relative to the fixed stars and at the same time they take part in the diurnal rotation. It looks as if they are moving on a circle inclined to the equator. This is, in fact, exactly the case for the Sun, whose apparent path among the fixed stars is a great circle, called the ecliptic, and intersecting the equator at two diametrically opposed points called the vernal and the autumnal eq uinox.

In the classical sense) was unknown to the Ancients, and only slowly emerged at a much later time which it is difficult to determine precisely. However, both sphericafastronomy and planetary theory abound in mathematical relations which are best described as functions of one, two, or three variables. Such relations a mathematical astronomer like Ptolemy had to deal with, and one of the most fascinating but least investigated mathematical aspects of the Almagest is the rudimentary 'theory of function' which can be extracted from its pages.

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