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date: 01 December 2022



  • G. J. Toomer


The theory that the earth lies at the centre of the universe belongs to Greek scientific astronomy and should not be attributed to earlier thinkers such as Anaximander or Pythagoras in the 6th cent. bce. The first to whom the notion that the earth is spherical and lies at the centre of a spherical universe is credibly attributed is *Parmenides (early 5th cent.). By the time of *Eudoxus (1) (c. 360) the standard view was that the stationary spherical earth lies at the centre, around which rotates the outermost sphere of the fixed stars, once daily about the poles of the equator, carrying with it the intermediate spheres of the other heavenly bodies (also centred on the earth, but rotating in the opposite sense about different poles). That is the basis of *Aristotle's picture of the world, which dominated the cosmology of antiquity and the Middle Ages. According to this the sublunar region is composed of the four mutable *elements, earth, air, fire, and water, whose natural motion is in a straight line, i.


  • Science, Technology, and Medicine

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