Biography of Claudius Ptolemy

Claudius Ptolemy – a physicist, a mathematician, an astronomer, a geographer.

The biography of Ptolemy has not been reliably studied for several reasons. It so happened that his contemporaries did not mention in their writings Ptolemy. Therefore, all the facts of Ptolemy’s biography are not fully confirmed. His contribution to science and destiny can be judged only by the works of the author himself. The only mention of Ptolemy in the works of that time connects him with the Ptolemaic dynasty. But modern scientists have been shown that he does not belong to this dynasty. Ptolemy was a Roman citizen.

Among the sciences to which Claudius Ptolemy was of particular interest are astronomy, physics, and geography. His main astronomical work is “The Great...

Structure”. In it, the scientist described the geocentric model of the world. Also in his lifetime, Ptolemy created a catalog of a starry sky of 48 constellations that he could observe in Alexandria. Some critics accuse Ptolemy of plagiarism, because the same constellations were described by Hipparchus much earlier. However, Ptolemy’s work is rather a reference book, besides, the scientist re-calculated the location of the stars, given the precession.

Considering the brief biography of Ptolemy, it is worth highlighting his geographical work. The scientist collected all the geographical knowledge of that time in a single book that contained the exact coordinates. Also Ptolemy was engaged in optics. In his astronomical observations, he took into account the magnitude of the refraction of light.


Biography of Claudius Ptolemy