Claudius Ptolemy Biography
(Astronomer, Cartographer & Mathematician)
Claudius Ptolemy was a Greco-Egyptian mathematician, astronomer, astrologer, and writer. He lived in Alexandria in the Roman province of Egypt during the 2nd century and authored several scientific treatises, three of which were of considerable significance to the development of Byzantine, Islamic and European science in later centuries. One of his treatises on geography, which gave a thorough discussion of the geographic knowledge of the Greco-Roman world, was used by the Italian explorer Christopher Columbus as the map for his westward-bound path to Asia many centuries later. Not much is known about Ptolemy except for the fact that he lived in Alexandria, wrote in Koine Greek, and held Roman citizenship. Whatever reliable facts modern historians know about him have been deduced from the writer’s surviving works. A renowned astronomer of his era, he authored the seminal text the ‘Almagest’ which is a treatise on the apparent motions of the stars and planetary paths. A highly influential scientific text, its geocentric model was accepted for more than 1200 years from its origin. In another astronomical text he detailed what is now known as the Ptolemaic system. Even though his brilliance is widely accepted, scholars in the recent centuries have cast doubts over some of his astronomical observations.