Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers

2014 Edition
| Editors: Thomas Hockey, Virginia Trimble, Thomas R. Williams, Katherine Bracher, Richard A. Jarrell, Jordan D. MarchéII, JoAnn Palmeri, Daniel W. E. Green

Simplicius of Cilicia

  • Ian T. Durham
Reference work entry

BornCilicia, (Turkey), circa490

Diedprobably in Athens, (Greece), circa560

A mathematician primarily, Simplicius wrote one of the most detailed accounts of  Eudoxus’s theory describing the motions of the planets.

It is often the case that Simplicius is confused with a pope and saint by the same name who died in 483, but the two were in no way related. The astronomer and mathematician Simplicius was born in Anatolia (now part of Turkey), which at the time was a Roman province and had been since the first century BCE. The first information we have on Simplicius is that he studied philosophy in Alexandria, at the school of Ammonius Hermiae. Ammonius himself was a student of  Proclus and wrote extensive commentaries on  Aristotle, which presumably influenced Simplicius to do the same. He later traveled to Athens to study under a Neoplatonist, Damascius, who also taught the works of Proclus.

In 529, the Christian Emperor Justinian closed all pagan schools in the Roman Empire. Simplicius...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Selected References

  1. Grimmelshausen, Hans Jakob C. von (1993). The Adventures of Simplicius Simplicissimus, translated by George Shulz-Behrend. Columbia, South Carolina: Camden House.Google Scholar
  2. Heath, Sir Thomas L. (1931). A Manual of Greek Mathematics. Oxford: Clarendon Press. (Reprint, New York: Dover, 1963.)Google Scholar
  3. Kretschmann, Philip Miller (1931). “The Problem of Gravitation in Aristotle and the New Physics.” Journal of Philosophy 28: 260–267.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Simplicius (2002). On Aristotle’s “On the Heavens 1.1-4”, translated by R. J. Hankinson. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press. (Since 1994 Cornell University Press has been assembling and republishing all of Simplicius’s works. Some have not yet come out and are in press. In addition, Duckworth has released some of Simplicius’s writings that Cornell has not produced. The complete publication of all of Simplicius’s writings should be complete within a few years.)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Saint Anselm CollegeManchesterUSA