Talk:Aristarchus of Samos

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It is said here that Aristarchos learned from Erathostenes about the circumference of the earth. Erathosthenes lived later than Aristarchos. Aristarchos never tried to give absolute measures, only relativ distances and sizes of the discs of moom and sun.

To make things clear you need images, geometrical drawings.  

Edybevk 14:36, 27 January 2007 (UTC)

According to Aetius, as cited here, "Aristarchus sets the Sun among the fixed stars and holds that the Earth moves round the sun’s circle (i.e., ecliptic)". That would mean that Aristarchus recognized the sun as a star, and possibly the stars as suns (as did Democritus). It would also raise the question whether Aristarchus truly assumed the stars to be infinitely far away, as the sun obviously is not. Furthermore, it contradicts some summaries which state that Plutarch and Archimedes are the only references to Aristarchus' heliocentrism.

I found only two pages with that quote, though, so I'd prefer to check the source, also to get some context. It's in the Doxographi Graeci by Hermann Diels. If anyone has a copy, please add anything about Aristarchus you can find in it, otherwise I'll try to get my hands on it eventually. --Eloquence 15:34 Nov 12, 2002 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

Talk:Aristarchus-Aristarchus → Aristarchus of Samos - text describes Aristarchus of Samos. The original page Aristarchus will be used as a disambiguation page (there are 4 meanings)


  • Support. This will clear the page, since there are at least 4 meanings for Aristarchus. I believe that Aristarchus should be a disambiguation page. --FocalPoint 17:27, 29 January 2006 (UTC)
  • Support per FocalPoint. Mushroom 17:28, 29 January 2006 (UTC)
  • Oppose see below. Septentrionalis 21:00, 29 January 2006 (UTC)
  • Support - as FocalPoint says. Awolf002 21:14, 30 January 2006 (UTC)


There should definitely be a dab page, with a header from the astronomer to the dab. (There should also be a link to Aristarchus of Samothrace to remind readers that these are two different people.)

The question is whether they should be

This is whether Aristarchus of Samos is, or should be, the primary meaning of Aristarchus. He is clearly primary to the crater and the asteroid; and the present article on the grammarian is a stub. The grammarian deserves much more than a stub; but, until he gets it, I think having the astronomer at this page is best. Also, an overwhleming majority of the links to Aristarchus mean to the astronomer, and likely always will. Better to disambiguate a few than all. Septentrionalis 21:00, 29 January 2006 (UTC)

I see that we have a until now a 3 out of 3 agreement that something has to be done. Even though the second suggestion of Septentrionalis is a viable alternative, I will insist, however, on the first suggestion. My reasoning is as follows:

  1. Using a composite name was the way that ancient Greeks were calling their contemporaries. Either their father's name (usually for people within the same city) or their place of origin. Therefore, it appears to me better in terms of historical accuracy.
    • The Greeks did it when they needed to disambiguate, just like WP. Taken ad absurdum this would argue for Aristotle of Stagira. Septentrionalis
      • The argument seems fair, but the Greeks and subsequently the world community until now have not usually disambiguated for Aristotle. On the other hand, many people mention Aristarchus by his name of origin. You may believe me (or check for yourself): I corrected ALL the links to this page (ALL means all I was sure about, >90%). In many cases, Aristarchus was mentioned already as "Aristarchus of Samos". So Wikipedia editors in many cases did disambiguate for Aristarchus.--FocalPoint 10:55, 1 February 2006 (UTC)
        • Oh, he certainly has been called Aristarchus of Samos; Theocritus has been called Theocritus of Syracuse too; but I'm not convinced it's necessary. Septentrionalis 15:47, 1 February 2006 (UTC)
  2. Check the link (Special:Whatlinkshere/Aristarchus). Currently references to the astronomer, the grammarian, the crater and the asteroid are all here. By following the first suggestion, they would all point to the correct entry (the disambiguation Aristarchus), even if we do not do any changes. By following the second suggestion, all references to the grammarian, the crater and the asteroid will be wrong. Therefore it appears to me that it makes more sense in terms of simplicity and practicality.
    • This misstates policy and custom: nothing should point to a dab page except a few backreferences from the disambiguated pages. There is a team out doing this; but I would not like to add to their burdens (and I don't trust all of them to tell Samos from Samothrace either, especially since the linking text often doesn't say.) This maximizes their work. Septentrionalis 21:46, 31 January 2006 (UTC)
  3. Finally, with the mind on the user's standpoint, looking for Aristarchus, I would prefer to see the disambiguation first, than the "primary" page on the astronomer and then follow the disambiguation link for the other meanings.
    • As a user, I deeply disagree. I would rather find this page with one click than two. (This is paid for by taking three clicks rather than two for the other pages; but many fewer people will be looking for them.) Septentrionalis 21:46, 31 January 2006 (UTC)
    • I hope that changing the links will save this one click in all linked searches. Nevertheless, your point is valid and your preference understandable.

--FocalPoint 22:41, 29 January 2006 (UTC)

I support the change to a disambiguation page, however this will not save us work as point 2 seems to suggest. Per policy, the links to this dab must be fixed by re-pointing them to the correct page. We'll just have to bite that bullet! Awolf002 21:17, 30 January 2006 (UTC)

Point 2 indicated "even if we do not do any changes". This does not suggest we should not. In fact Awolf002's remark is 100% right. I have started biting that bullet Awolf002. Taste is OK so far.--FocalPoint 07:53, 31 January 2006 (UTC)
I am not conviced by any of FocalPoint's three arguments, and have said so in their places. Septentrionalis 21:46, 31 January 2006 (UTC)

One of the first?[edit]

This edit by an anon appears to be relying on two extremely doubtful paragraphs from Heliocentrism. I shall revert unless a reliable source outside WP can be found. We should not propagate our errors. Septentrionalis 04:14, 11 April 2006 (UTC)

His Views "Revived" by Copernicus[edit]

The article now has: "His astronomical ideas ... were successfully revived and developed by Copernicus...." This makes it sounds as if Copernicus was conscious of the fact that Aristarchus had already proposed such views and that his own views originated from Aristarchus. In fact, Copernicus was inspired by what he had learnt about the Pythagorean view that all the heavenly bodies revolved around a central fire. I don't think that Copernicus even knew of Aristarchus. Correct me if I'm wrong. Otherwise I think the article should be edited. Isokrates 14:38, 31 July 2006 (UTC)

You are wrong :o).--MWAK 17:48, 27 September 2006 (UTC)

My memory of an astronomy course from 1987 is indelible. Copernicus was aware of and inspired by Aristarchus. Please recall that medieval and renaissance education involved massive readings in whatever ancient literature was available. --CRATYLUS22 —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:03, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

See Owen Gingrich "DID COPERNICUS OWE A DEBT TO ARISTARCHUS" Journ. Hist. Astronomy xvi p 37 (1985) who argues that Copernicus was NOT influenced by Aristarchus's heliocentric ideas in developing his own and did not know of them when he developed his ideas. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:19, 11 July 2008 (UTC)

But isn't Aristarchus cited in De revolutionibus orbium coelestium ? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:17, 27 January 2011 (UTC)

POV changes by[edit]

The user with the IP has added extensive text that strike me as POV-laden and with some OR mixed in, as well. Can someone more knowledgable than me clean this article from these things? Or should we wholesale revert to an older version? Awolf002 11:54, 25 June 2007 (UTC)


In the main article, it is said that Aristarchus was opposed to the Inquisition. Nothing is said about the fact that Protestants such as Luther attacked Copernicus, whose opinions were similar to those of Aristarchus. See the Galileo Talk page. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:54, 13 December 2007 (UTC)


The word "suppressive" is used in the main article, but it is not clear who or what is being suppressed. Geostatic ideas are and were found the world over, starting with the Sumerians in 3500 B.C., and, all in the same place in America, are behind the talk about sinister suppression. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:23, 14 December 2007 (UTC) is in the same place as the other three. is in the same place. The history is very bad.


In the paragraph entitled "Heliocentrism", there is much irrelevant philosophical chatter about Lakatos and others. Also, the passage sounds as though it has been translated from some other language. Heliocentrism is actually meaningless, according to the theory of relativity. Heliostaticism is also meaningless, by the same. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:26, 13 December 2007 (UTC) Plato and Aristotle are mentioned. They did not invent geostaticism or geocentrism, which were much older.


The web-site occurs a large number of times in a short article. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:50, 21 December 2007 (UTC) It appears six times. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:46, 3 January 2008 (UTC) A lot of pushing of a site has been removed. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:04, 5 January 2008 (UTC) The Aristarchus articles in other languages are free from this site-pushing by an American University and —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:54, 6 January 2008 (UTC)

POV[edit] has failed to mention the later notorious Luther saga. Many Egyptians were geostaticists long before Greek legislation came in. Your history is bad. There is a lot of POV-pushing in the Aristarchus article, probably because the Galileo article is semi-protected. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:03, 27 December 2007 (UTC)


The phrase " awkwardly complex" occurs in the text. These words are meaningless when applied to a geocentric model of the solar system or any other model of the same. It is not possible to measure in numbers the degree of awkwardness of any system, geocentric or heliocentric. The same applies to the degree of complexity of the same. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:50, 1 January 2008 (UTC)

Adding new points of fact[edit]

Someone undid the edits by me to this article that had added new facts that Aristarchus had theorized: (1) day and night produced by the spinning Earth, (2) the annual seasons produced by the Earth's tilted spin axis, and (3) that Aristarchus had defined the "solar system" as a physical entity -- ie, separate from the stars (an infinite distance away) and the Sun stood at its center. This article contains nothing about day and night, the annual seasons, or the fact that the "solar system" did not exist as an idea separate from the "universe" until Aristachus. It seems rather significant that Aristarchus discovered, or at least first theorized, the existence of the solar system. Thus, someone should add these new points of facts to this article. It can be me, or it can be someone else. DFurlani (talk) 23:40, 24 August 2009 (UTC)


This stated that Aristarch was an alternative spelling (presumably in English). Where? It's conventional in German; it can be used as an abbreviation, like Hom. or Aristot. or Pl., but where is it in modern English running text, neither quoting nor citing German? (Aristarch Belopolsky is a different man.) Septentrionalis PMAnderson 03:12, 25 September 2009 (UTC)

5 calls for clarity[edit]

There are five calls for clarification in the article, some not answered for months. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:05, 30 November 2011 (UTC)

Alberto Gomez Gomez[edit]

An article by Alberto Gomez Gomez has appeared in the "Further Reading". If Gomez wants to tell us about "vicious persecution", "life-wiping natural catastrophes" and the like, he can do so elsewhere. See pages 8 and 39. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:09, 5 December 2011 (UTC) Alberto Gomez Gomez also says about Aristarchus, "he was sidelined in the annals of history almost to the point of oblivion". See page 39. No proof is produced for any of this. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:17, 5 December 2011 (UTC)

Gomez says that his paper "omits touchy questions" and promptly includes them. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:30, 5 December 2011 (UTC)
Gomez says "Instead, we are several thousand years behind schedule." — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:16, 9 December 2011 (UTC)
Alberto Gomez Gomez speaks of the "survival of the species". — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:20, 10 December 2011 (UTC)
Gomez must think that he is very important. He speaks in terms of millennia and the species, apparently of mankind. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:23, 8 January 2012 (UTC)
The article was submitted for publication on 5/5/2011. It is not clear if it was ever published. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:41, 5 January 2013 (UTC)

Note that AuthorHouse is what is often called a vanity publisher. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:40, 25 May 2013 (UTC)

Precise precision[edit]

A sentence states "The difference between the sidereal and tropical years is identical to precession." I wanted to change this to "annual precession" but that won't quite do it. Years are in time and precession is in degrees, so some sentence tinkering is needed. Not so much as to confuse a reader; just a little more accurately. Thanks. Student7 (talk) 23:32, 2 May 2012 (UTC)

Another odd addition of arc to time appears in the phrase "each of 18 Callipic years plus 10
2/3 degrees". It is not clear what the 10 2/3 degrees are added to, one Callipic year, 18 of them
or a Great year. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:42, 26 May 2012 (UTC)
The whole confused passage has been deleted now. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:08, 6 April 2015 (UTC)

Stellar Parallax[edit]

The comment in the article that Aristarchus was correct that there is no stellar parallax is wrong. Parallax was first measured in 1838 by Friedrich Bessel. Until then, telescopes were not strong enough to measure the very small displacement at such distances. Aristotle had remarked that stellar parallax, if it existed, would prove the the geocentric theory was false. When Galileo was brought before the Catholic Church and asked to either renounce or prove the Copernican theory, he was unable to prove it, first because his telescope was inadequate to measure parallax, and second, because he clung too closely to Copernicus's theory which was based on circular orbits of the sun, while he ignored Kepler's correct model of elliptical orbits. — Preceding unsigned comment added by FAMiniter (talkcontribs) 20:25, 26 May 2012 (UTC)

I have replaced the present tense with the past. This improves the article and includes your objection. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:19, 27 May 2012 (UTC)

Brilliant observation by Aristarchus?[edit]

This is probably a brilliant observation by Aristarchus or it wouldn't be here. I fail to see it. "Aristarchus pointed out that the Moon and Sun have nearly equal apparent angular sizes and therefore their diameters must be in proportion to their distances from Earth, so that that the diameter of the Sun was between 18 and 20 times larger than the diameter of the Moon."

How about "Betelguese is the same apparent angular size as Phoebus therefore their diameters must be in proportion to their distances from Earth." This might be true (and yes, well beyond the observational capabilities of the Ancients). But my point is, how does stating this help the problem? What if it were 1/2 or twice? Why does this statement help measure diameters? I guess it is obvious to everyone else. I must be missing the point here. Student7 (talk) 01:10, 17 September 2012 (UTC)

multiple issues[edit]

There are very few references in this article, only 9 for an article of this length with quite a bit of technical data. The year lengths given in the precession section don't make sense, I suspect there should be a quarter added to each. Sceptic1954 (talk) 18:25, 24 December 2012 (UTC) The issues are in the last two sections, only one reference there.Sceptic1954 (talk) 18:28, 24 December 2012 (UTC)

Size of the Earth?[edit]

I remember Carl Sagan saying that Aristarchus estimated the size of the Earth. Shouldn't that be included in his Bio?

albabe - The Writer/Artist Formally Known as Al Gordon 18:09, 28 June 2013 (UTC)

I'm not finding that. What I'm finding is that he tried to estimate the ratios of sizes of the moon and sun compared to the earth. He was "close enough" on the moon. Way off on the sun. The methods of measurement were just too imprecise until the 17th century or so.
He created a heliocentric solar system. But probably because "fire" (the sun) was superior to "earth," and not because it explained the otherwise epicyclic trajectories of the planets, which he didn't have. In other words, he had the answer to a question that wasn't really asked in any formal manner. Student7 (talk) 23:23, 2 July 2013 (UTC)
Plutarch does say he indeed created a heliocentric solar system with the earth revolving around it! Student7 (talk) 23:26, 5 July 2013 (UTC)
Thanx so much for the response! I really appreciate it.

I'll check with my Cosmos DVD set and make sure Carl definitely says that Aristarchus estimated the size of the earth... but, you're right, it's hard to find anything like that on the net. My comment HERE shows up, which is ironically kinda funny. I found a few pages saying that Eratosthenes estimated the size of the Earth.

I did find this, but it's not from an exactly "scientifically reliable" source:

albabe - The Writer/Artist Formally Known as Al Gordon 20:45, 12 July 2013 (UTC)