Ptolemy's Astronomical Tables

Astronomical Tables A page from Peurbach's Tabulae Eclypsium.

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In the Syntaxis Ptolemy supplied all the tables required for astronomical calculation, and subsequently republished them in a second work, prefaced with an introduction to explain their use, entitled the Handy Tables. There are some modifications in basic parameters, but chiefly the aim of the later work was to put the results of the Syntaxis into a form more convenient for practical use, both in arrangement and in numerical detail. That this aim was achieved is demonstrated by the subsequent popularity of the work, its influence in the history of astronomy second only to that of the Syntaxis, as the standard manual in all regions where the study of Ptolemaic astronomy endured, among Byzantine and Islamic scholars, whence parts of it were eventually transmitted into the Latin West.

Recommended Reading

M.Hoskin (ed.) The Cambridge Illustrated History of Astronomy, Cambridge 1997

J.North The Fontana History of Astronomy and Cosmology, London 1994

G.J.Toomer "Ptolemy", pp.186-206 in The Dictionary of Scientific Biography, New York 1970

Full Bibliography