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WHAT'S NEW IN PTOLEMY'S ALMAGEST?

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<title> ABSTRACT </title>Ptolemy's Almagest (dating from the 2nd century A.D.) is a remarkable and original astronomical work, despite the general absence of claims for originality. Among Ptolemy's innovations are his dependence on a small number of explicitly dated observations and the derivation from them of the parameters for his geometrical planetary models by mathematical methods that are described in great detail. Moreover, he does not mention the arithmetic schemes of his Babylonian predecessors although he cites their observations. His most important innovation, however, was to base his planetary models and computations on mean motions and anomalies, rejecting the requirement of uniform circular motion. Ptolemy's view of mean motion is seen as a theological commitment. It is further argued that Ptolemy's reliance on Hipparchus in theoretical matters has been exaggerated; in particular, there is no credible evidence that Hipparchus ever appealed to a mean position of a planet.

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/content/journals/10.1163/182539107x00545
2007-01-01
2016-12-08

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