In 1877, Schiaparelli published a classic essay on the homocentric spheres of Eudoxus, which became the standard, definitive historical reconstruction of Eudoxian planetary theory. The purpose of the present paper is to show that the two texts on which Schiaparelli based his reconstruction do not lead in an unequivocal way to this interpretation, and that they actually accomodate alternative and equally plausible interpretations that possess a clear astronomical superiority compared to Schiaparelli's. One alternative interpretation is elaborated here in detail. Thereby, it is shown that the exclusivity traditionally awarded to Schiaparelli's reconstruction can no longer be maintained, and that the little historical evidence we do possess does not enable us to make a choice between the availble alternatives.
Archive for History of Exact Sciences
- Pub Date:
- March 1998
- History of Astronomy: Planetary Theories