Astronomy in the Hellenistic and Roman Periods

The conquests of Alexander spread Greek culture throughout the Mediterrean, the Near East, and as far as India. Among the ancient histories of Hellenistic astronomy, two stand out: the Commentaries on Aristotle's De Caelo by Simplicios of Cilicia (fl. 6th century a.d.) and a work of Eudemos of Rhodes, (fl. ~325 b.c.), who was a pupil of Aristotle. Sarton (1952/1970, I, p. 505) regards Eudemos as the first historian of mathematics and, with Menon, the first historian of medicine and another student of Aristotle. Eudemos's writings included histories of arithmetic, geometry, and astronomy, all of which are now lost, but some of his material is cited by Aristotle, and the works are mentioned in the writings of Proclus (d. 485 a.d.). A tertiary source is Simplicios (6th century a.d.), who cites Sosigenes (Julius Caesar's astronomical consultant, responsible for the reform of the Roman calendar) who had access to Eudemos's astronomical history.

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