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


Reference work entry

Flourishedcirca 200

Cleomedes was a Stoic philosopher who was active around 200. This date is inferred from the internal evidence of his sole surviving treatise, Caelestia (The heavens). This treatise includes polemical attacks against Peripatetics (followers of  Aristotle) and Epicureans that are characteristic of debates between Stoics and other philosophers during the first and second centuries and that cease by the early third century. Attempts to date Cleomedes to the fourth century on the basis of an astronomical observation reported at Cael. 1.8.46–56 are not warranted by the text.

The Caelestia is actually an astronomical digression in a series of lectures on Stoic philosophy offered by Cleomedes. Thus, it tells us much more about Stoicism at the time, and the desire to follow  Posidoniusin defining astronomy as a science that takes its starting points or first principles from physical theory and cosmology, than it does about current astronomical theory. Indeed, the astronomy...

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Selected References

  1. Bowen, Alan C. “Cleomedes and the Measurement of the Earth: A Question of Procedures” Centaurus 45 (2003): 59–68 or 50 (2008): 195–204.MathSciNetMATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bowen, Alan C. and Robert B. Todd. Cleomedes’ Lectures on Astronomy: A Translation of The Heavens with an Introduction and Commentary. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004.Google Scholar
  3. Goulet, Richard. Cléomède: Théorie élémentaire. Paris: J. Vrin, 1980. (Still very useful for its notes and discussion.)Google Scholar
  4. Todd, Robert B. Cleomedis Caelestia. Leipzig: Teubner, 1990. (The first critical edition of Cleomedes’ treatise.)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Research in Classical Philosophy and Science (IRCPS)PrincetonUSA