: The Hellenistic reception of Babylonian horoscopic astrology gave rise to the question of what the planets really do and whether astrology is a science. This question in turn became one of defining the Greco-Latin science of astronomy, a project that took Aristotle's views as a starting-point. Thus, I concentrate on one aspect of the various definitions of astronomy proposed in Hellenistic times, their demarcation of astronomy and physical theory. I explicate the account offered by Geminus and its subordination of (...) astronomy to arguments made in physical theory about what really is the case. I then show how Ptolemy treats the same topic but maintains that this science is sufficient on its own to determine the realia it studies. In this way, I identify two moments in an obvious process of intellectual change that had profound consequences for the history of astronomy and cosmology over the next 1500 years. My hope is that this will advance our understanding of the reception of horoscopic astrology in Hellenistic times and also serve to locate Ptolemy more fully in his intellectual context. (shrink)
: In earlier work, Bernard R. Goldstein and the present author have introduced a procedural rule for historical inquiry, which requires that one take pains to establish the credibility of any citation of ancient thought by later writers in antiquity through a process of verification. In this paper, I shall apply what I call the Rule of Ancient Citations to Simplicius' interpretation of Aristotle's remarks in Meta L. 8, which is the primary point of departure for the modern understanding of (...) Greek planetary theory. I first sketch several lines of argument that lead me to conclude that Simplicius' interpretation should not be accepted because it assumes a concern with planetary phenomena unknown to the Greeks before the late 2nd and early 1st centuries BC. Then, after showing that there is a fairly well defined range of readings of Aristotle's remarks more in keeping with what we actually know of astronomy in the 5th and 4th centuries BC, I conclude that neither Aristotle's report about the Eudoxan and Callippan accounts of the celestial motions nor Simplicius' interpretation of this report is a good starting point for our understanding of early Greek planetary theory. (shrink)
The book contends that the digression ending Simplicius’ In de caelo 2.12 is not a proper history of early Greek planetary theory, but a creative atempt to show that to accept Ptolemy’s planetary hypotheses one need not repudiate Aristotle’s argument that the cosmos is eternal.
At some time around 200 A.D., the Stoic philosopher and teacher Cleomedes delivered a set of lectures on elementary astronomy as part of a complete introduction to Stoicism for his students. The result was _The Heavens, _the only work by a professional Stoic teacher to survive intact from the first two centuries A.D., and a rare example of the interaction between science and philosophy in late antiquity. This volume contains a clear and idiomatic English translation—the first ever—of _The Heavens, _along (...) with an informative introduction, detailed notes, and technical diagrams. This important work will now be accessible to specialists in both ancient philosophy and science and to readers interested in the history of astronomy and cosmology but with no knowledge of ancient Greek. (shrink)