A Survey from Anaximander to Aristarchus

  • Dirk L. Couprie
Part of the Astrophysics and Space Science Library book series (ASSL, volume 374)


With his three fundamental insights, that the celestial bodies make full circles around the earth, that the earth dwells unsupported in the center of the universe, and that the celestial stars are behind each other, Anaximander made himself the founding father of cosmology. It is not the intention of this book to give a complete history of Greek cosmology. There exist standard works that fulfill this task. Yet, some remarks on developments after Anaximander are needed, as they may throw additional light on the unique project of his new world picture. Some developments deserve special attention in separate chapters, the most important of them being the replacement of the image of a flat earth by that of a spherical earth (see Chaps. 17 and 18). Anaxagoras, who thought of the celestial bodies as fiery stones, proposed a proof that the earth is flat and tried to measure the size of the sun, gets three chapters (Chaps. 14, 15, and 16). The final chapter discusses how the ancient firmament that was shattered by Anaximander returned via the back door in later authors, with the one exception of Heraclides Ponticus. In this connection, the issue of the “infinite worlds” will also be treated.


Celestial Body Solar Eclipse Lunar Eclipse Separate Chapter World Picture 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dirk L. Couprie
    • 1
  1. 1.MaastrichtNetherlands

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