Ptolemaic system

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English[edit]

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Etymology[edit]

From Ptolemy (a surname) +‎ -ic + system. After Greek-Roman astronomer Claudius Ptolemy (c. 90 - c. 168 AD), who explained the theory in an influential work.

Noun[edit]

Ptolemaic system (uncountable)

  1. (astronomy) A geocentric model of the solar system, described by the eponymous astronomer.
    • 1895, Thomas Hardy, Two on a Tower, ch. 7:
      "The theories in your books are almost as obsolete as the Ptolemaic System."
    • 1902, Charles Kingsley, Alexandria and Her Schools, Lecture I, The Ptolemaic Era:
      [T]o Hipparchus we owe that theory of the heavens, commonly called the Ptolemaic system, which, starting from the assumption that the earth was the centre of the universe, attempted to explain the motions of the heavenly bodies by a complex system of supposed eccentrics and epicycles.
    • 2005 Feb. 20, Owen Gingerich, "‘Big Bang’: The Real Creation Science" (review of Big Bang: The Origin of the Universe by Simon Singh), New York Times (retrieved 7 Nov 2012):
      Singh . . . criticizes the Ptolemaic system for its "inordinately complex" heaps of epicycles on epicycles, but declares that in some respects it was more accurate than the Copernican system.

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