The Almageste (which is the Arabisation of the old Greek megistos (byblos) meaning large (delivers) ) is a work of Claude Ptolémée dating from the 2nd century and being the nap the most advanced knowledge of its time in Mathématiques and Astronomie.
HistoryThe first translations in Arab date from the 9th century. At that time, this work was lost in Europe where one had of them some vague memories in the astrological circles . Consequently, Western Europe redécouvrit Ptolémée starting from the translations of the Arab versions.
At the 12th century, the day a version in Spanish saw who will be later translated into Latin under the patronage of the emperor Frederic II.
Another version, in Latin this time and coming directly from Arabic, was carried out by Gerard de Crémone starting from a text coming from Tolède, in Spain. It was unable to translate many technical terms - it retained even the Arab name Abrachir for Hipparque.
At the 15th century, a Greek version appeared in Western Europe and Johannes Müller, better known under the name of Regiomontanus, made of it a version shortened in Latin at the instigation of the cardinal Johannes Bessarion. At the same time, a translation supplements was made by Georges de Trébizonde. This version included a comment as long as the original.
The work of translation, under the patronage of the pope Nicolas V, was intended to supplant the old translation. The new manuscript was a great improvement but the comment much less was appreciated and strongly criticized. The pope refused to dedicate the work and the version of Régiomontanus prevailed during the century which followed and still by afterwards.
Comments on Almageste were written by Théon of Alexandria (complete), Pappus (fragments) and Ammonius (lost).
ContentsPtolémée proposes a geometrical theory there to describe the movements of the Planet S, the Moon and Sun and its model will remain that of reference during many centuries in the western worlds and Arabic. The Univers is conceived there like geocentric, which wrongfully delivered the work to the lapse of memory starting from the Renaissance when, following Copernic, Kepler and Galileo designed the heliocentric model . Ptolémée was however one of the most brilliant spirits of its time.
Almageste also contains a star catalog.
- Comment of Théon of Alexandria on book III of Almageste: first part, second part and third part
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