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About the collections Theme of the exhibit Macrocosm Microcosm

The Macrocosm:

Most people in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries who were interested in explaining the motions of the heavenly bodies, accepted the common sense point of view that the earth was the center of the universe and that the planets, including the sun and moon, revolved around a stationary earth in perfect circles. Even though an Alexandrian mathematician, Aristarchus (ca 310-230 B.C.), had proposed an alternative in the third century B.C. (that the sun not the earth was the center), his ideas were never accepted, for both science and common sense seemed to mitigate against it. This book by Aristarchus is a recent acquisition to the Collections' holdings.

Aristarchus of Samos.
Aristarchi de magnitvdinibvs et distantiis solis, et lunae, liber cvm Pappi Alexandrini explicationibus quibusdam.
A' Federico Commandino Vrbinate in latinum conuersus, ac commentarijs illustratus.
Pisavri, apud Camillum Francischinum, 1572


Aristarchus's book on the heliocentric theory is not extant. Only his work on the size and distances of the sun and moon has survived. This book is the first printed edition in Latin of Aristarchus's lone remaining work.


About the collections Theme of the exhibit Microcosm Macrocosm

Department of the History of Science
History of Science Collections