Ptolemaic world system, artwork

Ptolemaic world system, artwork

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Credit: SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Ptolemaic system. Coloured artwork of the Ptolemaic universe, an attempt at modelling the motions of heavenly bodies, being carried by Atlas. Earth is at the centre, surrounded by circles representing crystal spheres. The Sun, planets and stars revolved in circles within different spheres, which in turn revolved around the Earth in circular orbits. Based on earlier astronomers' work, the theory was finally completed by Ptolemy in the 2nd century AD in his Almagest. It was translated into Latin in about 1160 AD and was the basis of astronomy until challenged by Copernicus. In Greek mythology, Atlas was a god who was condemned to carry forever the Earth and heavens on his back.

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