Online Encyclopedia

AUTOLYCUS OF PITANE

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V03, Page 47 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
Spread the word: del.icio.us del.icio.us it!
AUTOLYCUS OF PITANE, Greek mathematician and astronomer, probably flourished in the second half of the 4th century B.C., since he is said to have instructed Arcesilaus. His extant works consist of two treatises; the one, IIepi Ktvovj. vjs a-Oaipas, contains some simple propositions on the motion of the sphere, the other, Ilepi iirtroXwv Kai biwewv, in two books, discusses the rising and setting of the fixed stars. The former treatise is historically interesting for the light it throws on the development which the geometry of the sphere had already reached even before Autolycus and Euclid (see THEODOSIUS of TRIPOLIS). There are several Latin versions of Autolycus, a French translation by Forcadel (1572), and an admirable edition of the Greek text with Latin translation by F. Hultsch (Leipzig, 1885).
End of Article: AUTOLYCUS OF PITANE
[back]
AUTOLYCUS
[next]
AUTOMATIC WRITING

Additional information and Comments

Autolycus of Pitane Beth Rayle Autolycus was born around ca.360 B.C. in a town called Pitane. Pitane is the town of Aeolis, in the Asia Minor which was renamed Turkey. Autolycus was a Greek astronomer, mathematician and geographer. Most of his fame was obtained during the second half of the 4th century B.C. Historians only way of figuring his age was through extensive research of the other mathematicians of his area. They placed Autolycus at 360 B.C. because Autolycus was known as the teacher of Arcesilaus who was born in 315 B.C. It assumed that he was also older than Euclid, which was born about 325B.C. Euclid was another mathematician who had referred to Autolycus theorems in his own work. None of his personal life was ever recorded and chronologically placing dates on his activities was extremely difficult. Historians believe that most of his work was done around the years of 335 B.C. through 300B.C. in the town of Athens. Very few of his works survived the years. Some of his surviving works include a book called On the Moving Sphere, and On the Rising and Setting which is about the rising and setting of celestial bodies. On the Moving Sphere is though to be the oldest mathematical treatise from ancient Greece that is completely preserved. Its apparent that his theories are based on earlier works by Eudoxus of Cnidos. This book is mathematical astronomy text dealing with the geometry of the sphere. His theories state that the universe is a series of concentric spheres whose axes run through the center of the Earth. Autolycus was very renowned in his work as a mathematician. Most of his work was based around the characteristics and movements of a sphere. Theodosius’s book Sphaerics was based on Autolycus work with spheres. Not only was his praised on his work with spheres he also spent a great deal of time in astronomy. Autolycus studied the relationship between the rising and setting of the celestial bodies. This period in his life lead to his second book On the Rising and Setting. He wrote two versions of this book as his knowledge and writing skills improved. The lunar crater Autolycus was named in his honor. Although Autolycus is highly regarded in his work, there has been a lot of controversy that follows him. Many believe that Euclid and Theodosius work resembles that of Autolycus work, both students later wrote books closely related to his only two surviving books. “Any star which rises and sets always rises and sets at the same point in the horizon.” -Autolycus Here is some more information for this topic it might be useful.
Autolycus died 290 B.C.
» Add information or comments to this article.
Please link directly to this article:
Highlight the code below, right click and select "copy." Paste it into a website, email, or other HTML document.