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Headword: *(/ipparxos
Adler number: iota,521
Translated headword: Hipparchus, Hipparchos
Vetting Status: high
From Nicaea,[1] a philosopher, lived at the time of the consuls.[2]
He wrote On the Phaenomena of Aratus,[3] On the Arrangement of the Fixed Stars and the Catasterisms,[4] On the Monthly Motion of the Moon in Latitude, and (?)Against Eratosthenes.[5]
Greek Original:
*(/ipparxos, *nikaeu/s, filo/sofos, gegonw\s e)pi\ tw=n u(pa/twn. e)/graye peri\ tw=n *)ara/tou *fainome/nwn, *peri\ th=s tw=n a)planw=n sunta/cews kai\ tou= katasthrigmou=, *peri\ th=s kata\ pla/tos mhniai/as th=s selh/nhs kinh/sews, kai\ ei)s ta\s a)ri/stous.
Second half of the second century BCE. (His recorded observations are datable to the years 147-127.) See generally OCD(4) s.v. Hipparchus(3); also web address 1 and web address 2.
Although the frequency and respect with which Ptolemy refers to his work in the Almagest attest to his importance in the history of astronomy, his precise contributions are hard to determine. His careful observations supplemented his use of Babylonian sources, and made possible the discovery for which, perhaps, he is best known: the discovery of the precession of the equinoxes, that is, the recognition that the sun's position at the time of the equinoxes changes, over time, in relation to the background of the zodiacal constellations.
[1] In Bithynia. This reference to his birthplace is confirmed by later coins from Nicaea that bear his name and image. Because much of his professional life was apparently spent in Rhodes, he is often identified as Hipparchus of Rhodes.
[2] Textually corrupt, as Adler notes. (Such a dating would be unparalleled in the Suda.)
[3] (For Aratus see alpha 3745.) This is the only work that survives; Manitius' edition (below) includes a German translation.
[4] The last word translates katasthri/smou, rather than the text's katasthrigmou, following Toomer. Hipparchus' star catalogue provided raw materials for Ptolemy's, despite their differences.
[5] (For Eratosthenes see epsilon 2898.) This title is known from Strabo (1.1.12; 2.1.41) to belong to a work on geography; it surely lies behind the garbled ei)s ta\s a)ri/stous of the text. [DW: other suggested possibilities, noted by Adler, are ei)s ta\s a)sterismou/s and ei)s ta\s a)steri/skous.]
G.J. Toomer. "Hipparchus." Dictionary of Scientific Biography. Supplement I. 1978, 207-224
C. Manitius, ed. Hipparchi in Arati et Eudoxi Phaenomena Commentaria. Leipzig, 1894
D.R. Dicks. The Geographical Fragments of Hipparchus. 1960
G. Grasshoff. The History of Ptolemy's Star Catalogue. 1990
Associated internet addresses:
Web address 1,
Web address 2
Keywords: biography; chronology; geography; mathematics; philosophy; science and technology
Translated by: Mary Pendergraft on 22 August 2000@16:34:09.
Vetted by:
David Whitehead (augmented and rearranged notes; added keywords; cosmetics) on 7 August 2002@08:10:35.
Catharine Roth (cosmetics, new keyword) on 29 September 2005@02:11:27.
David Whitehead (cosmetics) on 14 January 2013@04:33:32.
Catharine Roth (reduced links, tweaked note) on 29 August 2013@22:31:06.
David Whitehead (tweaked tr; expanded n.5) on 1 April 2014@09:32:11.
David Whitehead (updated a ref) on 4 August 2014@03:51:36.


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