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Ptolemy Biography

Journey To The Center Of The Universe - Earth - Astronomy & Geography


Image of Greek Egyptian Astronomer Ptolemy


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Ptolemy (aka Claudius Ptolemaeus, Ptolomaeus, Klaudios Ptolemaios, Ptolemeus) lived in Alexandria, Egypt and has an important role in the history of astronomy and geography. We know very little of Ptolemy's life, including his birth and death dates. Various sources report different years, however, the first observation made by him which we can date exactly was on 26 March 127 while the last was on 2 February 141. Some experts believe his life spanned the years 87 – 150. During his lifetime, he did much to advance the sciences of astronomy and geography.

We get a few clues about him from his name, Claudius Ptolemy, which is a mixture of the Greek Egyptian 'Ptolemy' and the Roman 'Claudius'. This seems to indicate that he was descended from a Greek family living in Egypt and that he was also a citizen of Rome. This could only have happened as a result of a Roman emperor rewarding one of his ancestors with this favor.

Around 1360, Theodore Meliteniotes claimed that Ptolemy was born in Hermiou (Northern Egypt. Alexandria is slightly farther south.) Due to the fact that Meliteniotes lived more than a thousand years after Ptolemy, and there is no corroboration, there is a lot of skepticism. In fact no evidence exists that he ever lived anywhere other than Alexandria.

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