Ptolemy’s Astronomy Questioned

  • Susan Kaufman
  • Jean-Claude Pecker


It was well known by the Greeks who were skilled at geometry that one can save the phenomena or the appearances, that is, formulate a theory that would preserve empirical observation, by different combinations of circular and uniform motions. Aristotle had added that geometry must have some basis in physics. As we have seen, Aristarchus (310–230 BC), a geometer, formulated his heliocentric theory in purely geometric terms. His follower, Seleucus (250–180 BC) searched for a theory that would be “physically true” long before Ptolemy. Hipparchus later conceived of the heliocentric and geocentric theories as strictly equivalent.


Western World Celestial Body Solid Sphere Paris School Eternal Return 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susan Kaufman
  • Jean-Claude Pecker
    • 1
  1. 1.Collège de FranceAnnexe UlmParis Cedex 05France

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