- Paperback: 712 pages
- Publisher: Princeton University Press; Revised ed. edition (October 19, 1998)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0691002606
- ISBN-13: 978-0691002606
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.4 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 6 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #879,598 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Ptolemy's Almagest Revised ed. Edition
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"G.J. Toomer's new English edition of Ptolemy's classic treatise is more than just a fresh translation.... What Toomer has produced is the best edition in any language, one that will remain the standard preferred text for years to come."--Nature
"On the whole the accuracy and faithfulness to the original, including the small but important matter of a scrupulous adherence to Ptolemy's own mathematical notations, are exemplary."--G.E.R. Lloyd, The Times Literary Supplement
From the Back Cover
"Whatever we now understand of Ptolemy ... is in this book."--Noel Swerdlow, University of Chicago
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I couldn’t have done much progress without two excellent commentaries. Olaf Pedersen’s “A Survey of the Almagest” (with annotation and new commentary by Alexander Jones, Springer, 2010) was very helpful in revealing the mathematical aspects in Almagest. Even more important for me was James Evans’ “The History and Practice of Ancient Astronomy” (Oxford University Press, 1998) since Evans both explained the historical background of Almagest and helped in several mathematical details. An armillary sphere would also have been very helpful in getting a concrete view of the rotations. I didn’t have it, but I made a primitive prototype from a metal wire. With the help of these tools I managed to get a fairly clear picture of the Books I-IV, ca. 200 pages on Ptolemy’s mathematical tools and on solar and lunar motions, in ca. 2.5 months (after normal working days and on weekends). Thereafter, I spent ca. 3 weeks for a fairly superficial overview of the rest of the book. I got what I wanted: a basic understanding of Almagest.
Here are two of my favourite passages. On pages 153-156 Ptolemy shows a “curve fitting” on solar motion. He demonstrates how the parameters of eccentric model are adjusted to match the calculated intervals between equinoxes and solstices with the observations by Hipparchus. On page 206 he describes the attitude of a real scientist: “For those who approach this science in a true spirit of enquiry and love of truth ought to use any new methods they discover, which give more accurate results, to correct not merely the ancient theories, but their own too, if they need it. They should not think it disgraceful, when the goal they profess to pursue is so great and divine, even if their theories are corrected and made more accurate by others beside themselves.”