Almagest

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Almagest is the Latin form of the Arabic name (الكتاب المجسطي, al-kitabu-l-mijisti, in English The Great Compilation) of a mathematical and astronomical treatise proposing the complex motions of the stars and planetary paths, originally written in Greek as Μαθηματικἠ Σύνταξις (Mathematikē Sýntaxis, Mathematical Treatise; later titled Hē Megálē Sýntaxis, The Great Treatise) by Ptolemy of Alexandria, Egypt, written in the 2nd century. Its geocentric model was accepted as correct for more than a thousand years in Islamic and European societies through the Middle Ages and early Renaissance. The Almagest is the most important source of information on ancient Greek astronomy. The Almagest has also been valuable to students of mathematics because it documents the ancient Greek mathematician Hipparchus's work, which has been lost. Hipparchus wrote about trigonometry, but because his works have been lost mathematicians use Ptolemy's book as their source for Hipparchus' works and ancient Greek trigonometry in general.

Contents

Dating the Almagest

The date of Almagest has recently been more precisely established. Ptolemy set up a public inscription at Canopus, Egypt, in 147 or 148. The late N. T. Hamilton found that the version of Ptolemy's models set out in the Canopic Inscription was earlier than the version in the Almagest. Hence the Almagest cannot have been completed before about 150, a quarter century after Ptolemy began observing.[1]

Contents

Books

The Almagest consists of thirteen sections, called books, totalling 152 pages in a printed edition of 1515.[2]

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