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Stranger: What is this book?

Philosopher: A new one, with all kinds of good things in it. Stranger: O Zeus! How great a wonder do I see!

The earth whirls everywhere in aethereal space. Philosopher: But, do not merely wonder, nor condemn a good thing as the ignorant do before they understand, but examine and ponder all these things.

Throughout On the Revolutions, Copernicus uses Ptolemy's, often difficult, procedures to turn observational data into the numerical parameters required in his geometrical models, and in this he was helped greatly by Regiomon-tanus' Epitome of Ptolemy's Almagest. Copernicus was a competent mathematician, but not a great one, and what Copernicus did not do, and what sets Ptolemy's achievements apart from those of Copernicus, was to deduce models from the observations. The theoretical models Copernicus used were, in

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