Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 3 images

Ptolemy's "Almagest" Paperback – 8 Nov 1998


See all formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price
New from Used from
Hardcover
"Please retry"
£104.94
Paperback
"Please retry"
£77.01
click to open popover

Special Offers and Product Promotions

Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.




Product details

Product Description

Review


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


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 "


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 "

"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

See all Product Description

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

There are no customer reviews yet on Amazon.co.uk.
5 star
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star

Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x982247bc) out of 5 stars 7 reviews
45 of 49 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x98239288) out of 5 stars A new look at the universe 28 Jun. 2001
By Adella L. Wright - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The main desire of Ptolemy in writing his Almagest is to explain and account for the motions of the apparently erratic celestial beings in terms of perfect and circular motions. In doing so he introduces the epicyclic (which states that the center of a smaller circle orbits around the earth and the object orbits around the smaller circle) and the eccentric hypotheses (which supposes that the center of the circular motion of the planet is not exactly centered on the earth), which are ultimatly equivalent to eachother in terms of result. Begining with the motion of the sun in the sky and moving on to the less accountable outer planets, Ptolemy moves his mathematics brilliantly with a nod to a story teller's art. Some may find his introduction of his equant (something that is often said to defile his principles of perfect motion), which explains the retrogradation of the outer planets, to be a let down to the fanfare of perfection in the stars. Yet, overall, the Almagest manages to recapture the magic and wonder of the universe through complicated mathematical hypotheses and to succesfully lay the ground for the break throughs of Copernicus, Brahe, and Kepler to come. If you are at all interested in astronomy or mathematics, you ought to read this.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x982393d8) out of 5 stars A magnificent start for the empirical sciences 27 Dec. 2013
By Veli-Pekka Ranta - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Before buying Ptolemy’s Almagest (written around A.D. 150) I knew of its reputation as a highly technical and difficult text on Greek geocentric astronomy. Still, the extremely thorough treatment by Ptolemy with all its details surprised me, and I really admire the achievements by Ptolemy and his ancestors.

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.”
0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x98239348) out of 5 stars Ptolemy help 28 Jan. 2016
By Brenda Lynn - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It was just what I needed for my college class.
12 of 28 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x994c26c0) out of 5 stars Great Translation 25 Nov. 2004
By Marc - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Adding to the other comment below about star names beginning with "al-," I might add that the title "Almagest" itself is an Arabic translation of the original Greek "Megale Syntaxis."
12 of 30 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x982396e4) out of 5 stars compares favourably with the Tetrabiblos 8 Nov. 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The mathematics is difficult to follow, but as it is developed from Euclid and Eratosthenes it is reliable. The observations have been made from a very wide area and over a long time; but while the mechanics may be rather mysterious the results are impressive.
Does the front cover always show Penelope weaving at her loom? - the ancients obviously thought highly of Homer and the Greek myths.
The Tetrabiblos survives together with the parallel Greek. Since the Almagest went through successive transliterations/translations (and interpretations?), it might not be too surprising if the Greek text has disappeared.
And what of Ptolemy's other books? - his geography for example. The Almagest has observations from Ceylon to Thule, including Britain. The ancients must have travelled widely.
Is there anywhere an account of the origin of the names of stars and constellations? These seem to have accumulated over time. Many star names begin "Al-", from the Arabic, I suppose.
Well done!
Were these reviews helpful? Let us know


Feedback