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Ptolemy's Almagest

3.96  ·  Rating Details  ·  406 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews

Ptolemy's Almagest is one of the most influential scientific works in history. A masterpiece of technical exposition, it was the basic textbook of astronomy for more than a thousand years, and still is the main source for our knowledge of ancient astronomy. This translation, based on the standard Greek text of Heiberg, makes the work accessible to English readers in an int

Paperback, 712 pages
Published November 8th 1998 by Princeton University Press (first published 150)
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Alex Kartelias
Aug 16, 2014 Alex Kartelias rated it liked it
Shelves: science-math
Ok, geocentricism is wrong. But, the way that most people call it "pseudo- science" is intolerable. It's easy in retrospect to look back at theories such as these and ridicule them for their inaccuracy. But, look up in the sky: doesn't the sun rise and set? Of coarse. Just because our horizons have been extended, doesn't mean everything under it has vanished from our sight. Take for instance the atom, which by defintion is uncuttable or the universe which holds all that exists.

In other words, pa
Feb 27, 2011 Matt added it
I can’t rate this book. Quite frankly, I didn’t understand most of it. The Almagest, a transliteration of the Arabic title meaning “The Greatest”, was the standard for astronomical calculations for over 1000 years. Written in Hellenistic Egypt around 150 AD by Claudius Ptolemaeus (not to be confused with the Ptolemic line of pharaohs from Alexander’s general Ptolemy to Cleopatra), the Almagest provides the astronomical data, geometry and trigonometry to explain a geocentric universe. Though init ...more
Feb 10, 2016 Danny rated it really liked it
I definitely cheated on this one (only skimming over the intro. & first book), as I suspect most of the reviewers here did, too. I skimmed the intro. and the first half of Book I, although I read summaries on the other twelve books of this formidable astronomical treatise. A proper appreciation of this work would take months of careful study and thorough familiarity with the ancient Greek and Egyptian astronomical and mathematical traditions preceding him. This isn't for those, in other word ...more
Trey Kennedy
Oct 05, 2007 Trey Kennedy rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: those interested in true geometry and the history of science and mathematics
Shelves: sjc-programbooks
Ptolemy has grown on me the more I have read it. The approach is a little unclear at times, especially for those who have read Euclid. But his goal seems to be noble, and his model of the cosmos is surprisingly appealing. Also, this opens up the discussion of whether science merely "saves the phenomena" or not...
Alex Milledge
Aug 15, 2014 Alex Milledge rated it it was ok
Could barely understand the math involved. That's on me though. But I think that i can see what he was trying to get at, establishing the regular orbits on the planets.
Acacio de Barros
Dec 09, 2008 Acacio de Barros rated it it was amazing
Beautiful mathematical proofs and lots of empirical evidence. A must read to those thinking that serious empirical investigations were not part of science before Galileo.
Timothy Meixell
Feb 10, 2012 Timothy Meixell rated it it was amazing
Shelves: program
I had to read this and discuss it extensively in college. They just don't make mathematicians like they used to.
Aug 13, 2008 lindsie rated it really liked it
The book that proves it doesn't matter if you're right, it matters that you went about it with style.
Jun 12, 2007 Shanamadele rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mathematics
It was good enough for the moon-shot engineers, it's good enough for me.
Aug 11, 2011 Charles rated it it was amazing
The Manuel of the ancient astronomers.
Jan 02, 2008 Blakely rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: visual thinkers of a certain kind
That I shouldn't be an astronomer.
Mar 24, 2007 io rated it it was amazing
it changed the world, y'all!
нєνєℓ  ¢ανα
Apr 23, 2013 нєνєℓ ¢ανα rated it it was amazing
E x c e l l e n t !
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Claudius Ptolemy (c. 90 – c. 168 CE) was a Greek-Roman citizen of Egypt who wrote in Greek. He was a mathematician, astronomer, geographer, astrologer, and poet of a single epigram in the Greek Anthology. He lived in Egypt under Roman rule, and is believed to have been born in the town of Ptolemais Hermiou in the Thebaid. This theory, proposed by Theodore Meliteniotes, could be correct, but it is ...more
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“I know that I am mortal by nature, and ephemeral; but when I trace at my pleasure the windings to and fro of the heavenly bodies I no longer touch the earth with my feet: I stand in the presence of Zeus himself and take my fill of ambrosia” 122 likes
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