Greek Astronomy - Archaic Greek Astronomy

Archaic Greek Astronomy

References to identifiable stars and constellations appear in the writings of Homer and Hesiod, the earliest surviving examples of Greek literature. In the Iliad and the Odyssey, Homer refers to the following celestial objects:

  • the constellation Boötes
  • the star cluster Hyades
  • the constellation Orion
  • the star cluster Pleiades
  • Sirius, the Dog Star
  • the constellation Ursa Major

Hesiod, who wrote in the early 7th century BCE, adds the star Arcturus to this list in his poetic calendar Works and Days. Though neither Homer nor Hesiod set out to write a scientific work, they hint at a rudimentary cosmology of a flat earth surrounded by an "Ocean River." Some stars rise and set (disappear into the ocean, from the viewpoint of the Greeks); others are ever-visible. At certain times of the year, certain stars will rise or set at sunrise or sunset.

Speculation about the cosmos was common in Pre-Socratic philosophy in the 6th and 5th centuries BCE. Anaximander (c. 610 BC–c. 546 BC) described a cylindrical earth suspended in the center of the cosmos, surrounded by rings of fire. Philolaus (c. 480 BC–c. 405 BC) the Pythagorean described a cosmos with the stars, planets, Sun, Moon, Earth, and a counter-Earth (Antichthon)—ten bodies in all—circling an unseen central fire. Such reports show that Greeks of the 6th and 5th centuries BCE were aware of the planets and speculated about the structure of the cosmos.

Read more about this topic:  Greek Astronomy

Other articles related to "archaic greek astronomy, greek, greeks":

Archaic Greek Astronomy - The Planets in Early Greek Astronomy
... The name "planet" comes from the Greek term planētēs, meaning "wanderer", as ancient astronomers noted how certain lights moved across the sky in relation to the other ... Early Greeks thought that the evening and morning appearances of Venus represented two different objects, calling it Hesperus ("evening star") when it appeared ... The planets eventually received names drawn from Greek mythology ...
4th Century In Poetry
... in Latin Nonnus, Egypt, writing in Greek Quintus Smyrnaeus, writing in Greek Tryphiodorus, Egypt, writing in Greek Palladas, Alexandria, Egypt, writing in Greek ...
Greek - Other
... Greek may also refer to Greeks (finance), the Greeks epresenting the sensitivities of derivatives (the most common of these sensitivities are often denoted by ...
Satyr - In Greek Mythology and Art
... In earlier Greek art, satyrs appear as old and ugly, but in later art, especially in works of the Attic school, this savage characteristic is softened into a more ... This transformation or humanization of the Satyr appears throughout late Greek art ... Greek spirits known as Calicantsars have a noticeable resemblance to the ancient satyrs they have goats' ears and the feet of donkeys or goats or horses, are covered with hair ...
Dionysius Thrax
... Dionysius Thrax (Ancient Greek Διονύσιος ὁ Θρᾷξ) (170 BC – 90 BC) was a Hellenistic grammarian and a pupil of Aristarchus of Samothrace ... The first extant grammar of Greek, "Art of Grammar" (Tékhnē grammatiké, Greek τέχνη γραμματική) is attributed to him but many scholars today doubt that the work really belongs ... It concerns itself primarily with a morphological description of Greek, lacking any treatment of syntax ...

Famous quotes containing the words astronomy, archaic and/or greek:

    Awareness of the stars and their light pervades the Koran, which reflects the brightness of the heavenly bodies in many verses. The blossoming of mathematics and astronomy was a natural consequence of this awareness. Understanding the cosmos and the movements of the stars means understanding the marvels created by Allah. There would be no persecuted Galileo in Islam, because Islam, unlike Christianity, did not force people to believe in a “fixed” heaven.
    Fatima Mernissi, Moroccan sociologist. Islam and Democracy, ch. 9, Addison-Wesley Publishing Co. (Trans. 1992)

    Almost always tradition is nothing but a record and a machine-made imitation of the habits that our ancestors created. The average conservative is a slave to the most incidental and trivial part of his forefathers’ glory—to the archaic formula which happened to express their genius or the eighteenth-century contrivance by which for a time it was served.
    Walter Lippmann (1889–1974)

    Lucretius
    Sings his great theory of natural origins and of wise conduct; Plato
    smiling carves dreams, bright cells
    Of incorruptible wax to hive the Greek honey.
    Robinson Jeffers (1887–1962)