The History and Practice of Ancient Astronomy

Front Cover
Oxford University Press, Oct 1, 1998 - 480 pages
2 Reviews
The History and Practice of Ancient Astronomy combines new scholarship with hands-on science to bring readers into direct contact with the work of ancient astronomers. While tracing ideas from ancient Babylon to sixteenth-century Europe, the book places its greatest emphasis on the Greek period, when astronomers developed the geometric and philosophical ideas that have determined the subsequent character of Western astronomy. The author approaches this history through the concrete details of ancient astronomical practice. Carefully organized and generously illustrated, the book can teach readers how to do real astronomy using the methods of ancient astronomers. For example, readers will learn to predict the next retrograde motion of Jupiter using either the arithmetical methods of the Babylonians or the geometric methods of Ptolemy. They will learn how to use an astrolabe and how to design sundials using Greek and Roman techniques. The book also contains supplementary exercises and patterns for making some working astronomical instruments, including an astrolabe and an equatorium. More than a presentation of astronomical methods, the book provides a critical look at the evidence used to reconstruct ancient astronomy. It includes extensive excerpts from ancient texts, meticulous documentation, and lively discussions of the role of astronomy in the various cultures. Accessible to a wide audience, this book will appeal to anyone interested in how our understanding of our place in the universe has changed and developed, from ancient times through the Renaissance.
  

What people are saying - Write a review

Review: The History and Practice of Ancient Astronomy

User Review  - Charles - Goodreads

A one of a kind book, the Manuel to practicing historical science, I love to work through this book. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - benjfrank - LibraryThing

I have a pre-publication photocopy that I bought and made into a 3-volume set when I took Professor Evans' ancient astronomy class at Univ of Puget Sound in the mid1980s. I still remember making the sundials and celestial spheres -- the latter I still have in a box somewhere! Read full review

Contents

The Celestial Sphere
75
THREE
130
FOUR
163
FIVE
205
SEVEN
282
Patterns for Models
445
Notes
453
Bibliography
465
Index
473
Copyright

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

All Book Search results »

About the author (1998)

James Evans is at University of Puget Sound, Tacoma, Washington.

Bibliographic information