Tuesday, June 8, 2010
Saturday, June 5, 2010
SEEING FROM THE END OF THE PLANET EARTH IN ANCIENT PERIOD
ASTROLOGY PTOLEMY MODERN SCIENCE.
¬Astrology seems to have made no progress since the
days of Claudius Ptolemaeus, who wrote nearly two
thousand years ago, and his "Tetrabiblos" is undoubt-
edly the best text-book on the subject existing today.
Modern astrologers, notably Kepler, have introduced
some changes, and made large claims, which Ptolemy
did not venture to do. He said specifically that the
science of astrology does not enable any man to predict
particular events, and there are certain things which no
rational man would think of foretelling. His method of
prediction was precisely that of the modern doctor, who
says that a disease will run a certain length of time, that
a certain constitution must have care or it will break
down, that from external appearances one man should
make a good blacksmith, another a good orator, and
so forth. The positions of the stars help us to analyze
more subtle physical conditions, not subject to external
observation. But the whole ground of prediction is
simply a knowledge of the physical, mental and moral
condition of a human being from birth. If we know
that the germs of hereditary consumption exist in a
child from birth, we can predict that he will die of the
disease, and may judge the time with tolerable accuracy.
And if we know the mode of crystallization, we have as
it were a chart of latent germs.
Ptolemy gave details on how to create maps both of the whole inhabited world (oikoumenè) and of the Roman provinces. In the second part of the Geographia he provided the necessary topographic lists, and captions for the maps. His oikoumenè spanned 180 degrees of longitude from the Blessed Islands in the Atlantic Ocean to the middle of China, and about 80 degrees of latitude from The Shetlands to anti-Meroe (east coast of Africa); Ptolemy was well aware that he knew about only a quarter of the globe, and an erroneous extension of China southward suggests his sources did not reach all the way to the Pacific Ocean.
The maps in surviving manuscripts of Ptolemy's Geographia, however, date only from about 1300, after the text was rediscovered by Maximus Planudes. It seems likely that the topographical tables in books 2-7 are cumulative texts - texts which were altered and added to as new knowledge became available in the centuries after Ptolemy .This means that information contained in different parts of the Geography is likely to be of different date.
Claudius Ptolemaeus (Greek: Κλαύδιος Πτολεμαῖος Klaúdios Ptolemaîos; c. AD 90 – c. 168), known in English as Ptolemy was a Roman citizen of Egypt who wrote in Greek.He was a mathematician, astronomer, geographer, astrologer and a poet of a single epigram in the Greek AnthologyHe lived in Egypt under Roman rule, and is believed to have been born in the town of Ptolemais Hermiou in the Thebaid. He died in Alexandria around AD 168.
Ptolemy was the author of several scientific treatises, at least three of which were of continuing importance to later Islamic and European science. The first is the astronomical treatise now known as the Almagest (in Greek, Ἡ Μεγάλη Σύνταξις, "The Great Treatise", originally Μαθηματικὴ Σύνταξις, "Mathematical Treatise"). The second is the Geography, which is a thorough discussion of the geographic knowledge of the Greco-Roman world. The third is the astrological treatise known sometimes in Greek as the Apotelesmatika (Ἀποτελεσματικά), more commonly in Greek as the Tetrabiblos (Τετράβιβλος "Four books"), and in Latin as the Quadripartitum (or four books) in which he attempted to adapt horoscopic astrology to the Aristotelian natural philosophy of his day