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

Sosigenes of Alexandria

  • Dimitris Dialetis
Reference work entry

FlourishedRome, (Italy), middle of first century BCE

Sosigenes was a Greek or Egyptian astronomer and mathematician of the Alexandrian School, about whom little is known. He is known as the main astronomer who helped Julius Caesar with his reform of the Roman lunar calendar, although his role in this reform is not very clear.  Plutarch simply states, without mentioning any names, that Caesar consulted the best philosophers and mathematicians before making an improved calendar of his own. And all that  Pliny says is that during Caesar’s dictatorship Sosigenes helped him to bring the years back into conformity with the Sun. He adds that Sosigenes wrote three treatises, including corrections of his own statements. It is, in any case, not certain that Sosigenes was in Alexandria during Caesar’s stay in Egypt after the battle of Pharsalos.

Caesar had a genuine interest in astronomy and composed a treatise, De Astris, a kind of farmer’s almanac with a remarkable popularity, based on...

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Selected References

  1. Huxley, G. L. (1975). “Sosigenes.” In Dictionary of Scientific Biography, edited by Charles Coulston Gillispie. Vol. 12, p. 547. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.Google Scholar
  2. Mommsen, Theodor (1887). The History of Rome. Vol. 4. London.Google Scholar
  3. Sarton George (1993). Hellenistic Science and Culture in the Last Three Centuries B.C. New York: Dover.Google Scholar
  4. Simplicius (1894). In Aristotelis De caelo commentaria, edited by J. L. Heiberg. Vol. 7 of Commentaria in Aristotelem Graeca. Berlin: Reimer.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of AthensAthensGreece