Talk:Apollonius of Perga

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Where born?[edit]

where as apollonius born?

Presumably Perga. Septentrionalis 17:19, 23 March 2006 (UTC)

Why the tag?[edit]

Why is this page tagged? Gene Ward Smith 23:07, 4 May 2006 (UTC)

Who is Apollopia —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:12, 16 December 2007 (UTC)

Wrong Portrait[edit]

The portrait shown is definitely the (unrelated) portrait of Apollonius of Tyana. It's a low-quality clip from a woodcut which does say "Apollonius Tyaneus". —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:12, 27 December 2010 (UTC)

More Sources Please[edit]

1. Can somebody please provide the source for this phrase? I have heard it before, but i am unable to find it in sources. Anyone who has knowledge of this please update this appropriately: "Apollonius also researched the lunar history, for which he is said to have been called Epsilon (ε)." Can somebody elaborate as to "why" he was given the title "Epsilon", and "where' it is mentioned? Please send me a Personal message when you do this, I would really appreciate it. Thank you.

2. Can somebody please remove the image of Apollonius of Tyana? It is unrelated to Apollonius of Perga.

____Ἑλλαιβάριος Ellaivarios____ 16:15, 7 February 2012 (UTC)

Strange claim[edit]

Unless someone can justify this weird looking claim, it is out of place in the summary. The contorted model used by geocentrists to explain the apparent movement of planets and a geometrical theorem seem unconnected. Elroch (talk) 13:46, 4 August 2014 (UTC) Apollonius' theorem demonstrates that the two models are equivalent given the right parameters.

It does seem pretty strange. I'm moving it to a section below, which I intend to expand. What is going on is, after Apollonius invented the conic sections he had a new repertory of curves. All the Greeks were using circles, circles, circles for their planetary orbits. The motions of the planets were especially troublesome. Instead of following the ecliptic like well-behaved celestial bodies they were doing such things as going into retrograde motion and tracing s's all over the night sky. Another model was needed. Here Apollonius missed his chance. He should have investigated orbits as ellipses, which could conceivably led him into calculus a thousand five hundred years before its time. Instead he continued going in circles, circles, circles. His move was to explain the retrograde motion as an effect seen only from the Earth of epicycles, or circles on circles. A planet would move in a big circle but also in a small circle centered on a circumferential point of the big circle. Thus from earth it would jig in its dance over the zodiac. They all followed him. Ptolemy followed it also, crediting Apollonius. With such revered culture figures in their education the astronomers clung for dear life to the epicycles for over 1000 years more. Not for nothing do the works of the past vanish away like chaff in the wind. Even with epicycles Apollonius just missed another golden opportunity. Without knowing it he had arrived at the concept of relative motion. Only relative to the observer on earth did the planets go into retrograde motion. Moreover, his absolute was not geocentric. Anyway I'm saying too much here when I should be developing the section.Botteville (talk) 00:59, 14 February 2017 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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The links go to an old "Convergence" magazine. I don't think the method of bots to supply external links works in this case. It references an old Java, and as you know, old Javas are not well accepted by your system. You can't really write WP articles by machine. Sorry. For the material, well, all it does is repeat two definitions from Conics. Nothing else intelligible there. Every edition of Conics referenced above contains that. Not worth the trouble. Dropping it.Botteville (talk) 00:33, 14 February 2017 (UTC)

Appropriateness of the tag[edit]

The tag is appropriate. This is not writing for the masses, but then, it isn't just the style. The word that comes to my mind is convolute. We never seem to get to the point or even know that point. The "therefore"s don't seem based on the premises, or if they are, not in any obvious way. According to the topic sentence, this whole article was written to evaluate the originality of Apollonius of Perga. I smell a rat. But, there is a lot good about it. I like the blue links. A link alone is not a coherent statement. I think, keep the links, but add a phrase or two of explanation. The problem is not that geometry is an incredibly abstruse and difficult topic. There is nothing hard about a conic section. In the US we start learning about it in the 10th? grade or before. The problem is the writing. Also a little suspicious is the fact that the references are not to specification. They are done the same way. Evidently, they were copied from somewhere, probably not Wikipedia. I think I might make some positive changes here to start us moving in the right direction. Slow work. Won't happen very fast.Botteville (talk) 13:15, 23 January 2017 (UTC)

More. I found the problem. The article was copied from Britannica with modification the editors believed would make it suitable for Wikipedia. Sometimes that works and sometimes not, here not. A lot of terms are used in Britannica that are defined in Britannica but have been omitted here. Also Britannica can be much above the level ained at by Wikipedia. I'm getting into the problems so I may as well go on with it. I have been a classicist and have the prerequisit math and languages. When i'm done the Britannica tag will be off.Botteville (talk) 04:30, 26 January 2017 (UTC)


I'm changing the dates to be more general. Nobody that I can find offers any credible or supported specific years. Generally their years come from picking a conventional date (by coin toss?) for a period, such as about 240, but the "about" gets lost. The section I just wrote goes over the evidence. We don't want to mislead the public into thinking anyone knows the birth and death dates as though copied off birth and death certificates. On the contrary .... Anyway, here is what was there: c. 262 – c. 190 BCBotteville (talk) 04:15, 8 February 2017 (UTC)

Boyer note[edit]

Under method there is a section that depends too closely on a note from an author named Boyer. The reference is incomplete, but the point is, the note is way too long (I believe) for the copyright law. It is not a short quote for educational purposes. It is in fact about 1/2 page and is being used as part of the text of the article. The only trouble is, Boyer is copyrighted. The slight rewrite offered by the editor is transparently a rewrite. Moreover, the note plus the rewrite amounts to two expositions of the same theory. I don't think the note and rewrite are up to WP standards so I am not going to use it. Furthermore, it suffers from the same malaise as the original article: too chunky, the presumption of prior knowledge of analytic geometry is too great. We need the usual WP original presentation of non-original material. If they want Boyer they can read Boyer. I will refer to him so they can do that, provided I can find his complete bibliographic reference. Meanwhile I am moving Boyer and his rewrite to here:

"Apollonius in the Conics further developed a method that is so similar to analytic geometry that his work is sometimes thought to have anticipated the work of Descartes by some 1800 years. His application of reference lines, a diameter and a tangent, is essentially no different than our modern use of a coordinate frame, where the distances measured along the diameter from the point of tangency are the abscissas, and the segments parallel to the tangent and intercepted between the axis and the curve are the ordinates. He further developed relations between the abscissas and the corresponding ordinates that are equivalent to rhetorical equations of curves. However, although Apollonius came close to developing analytic geometry, he did not manage to do so since he did not take into account negative magnitudes and in every case the coordinate system was superimposed upon a given curve a posteriori instead of a priori. That is, equations were determined by curves, but curves were not determined by equations. Coordinates, variables, and equations were subsidiary notions applied to a specific geometric situation.[10]"

""The method of Apollonius in the Conics in many respects are so similar to the modern approach that his work sometimes is judged to be an analytic geometry anticipating that of Descartes by 1800 years. The application of references lines in general, and of a diameter and a tangent at its extremity in particular, is, of course, not essentially different from the use of a coordinate frame, whether rectangular or, more generally, oblique. Distances measured along the diameter from the point of tangency are the abscissas, and segments parallel to the tangent and intercepted between the axis and the curve are the ordinates. The Apollonian relationship between these abscissas and the corresponding ordinates are nothing more nor less than rhetorical forms of the equations of the curves. However, Greek geometric algebra did not provide for negative magnitudes; moreover, the coordinate system was in every case superimposed a posteriori upon a given curve in order to study its properties. There appear to be no cases in ancient geometry in which a coordinate frame of reference was laid down a priori for purposes of graphical representation of an equation or relationship, whether symbolically or rhetorically expressed. Of Greek geometry we may say that equations are determined by curves, but not that curves are determined by equations. Coordinates, variables, and equations were subsidiary notions derived from a specific geometric situation; [...] That Apollonius, the greatest geometer of antiquity, failed to develop analytic geometry, was probably the result of a poverty of curves rather than of thought. General methods are not necessary when problems concern always one of a limited number of particular cases."

The reverted intro[edit]

Hi. The original intro is:

"Apollonius of Perga (Greek: Ἀπολλώνιος; Latin: Apollonius Pergaeus; c. 262 – c. 190 BC) was a Greek geometer and astronomer noted for his writings on conic sections. His innovative methodology and terminology, especially in the field of conics, influenced many later scholars including Ptolemy, Francesco Maurolico, Johannes Kepler, Isaac Newton, and René Descartes. Apollonius gave the ellipse, the parabola, and the hyperbola their modern names. The hypothesis of eccentric orbits, or equivalently, deferent and epicycles, to explain the apparent motion of the planets and the varying speed of the Moon, is also attributed to him. Ptolemy describes Apollonius' theorem in the Almagest XII.1."

Here is what is wrong with it. The dates, unsubstantiated by any discussion or references, are wrong. My subsequent write-up covers the most modern thinking. Second, his method is not innovative. I'm covering that under methods. His names are not entirely innovative, only the application of them. That will be covered as well. The list of influenced persons: well, why not put down every mathematician in the age of enlightenment? The eccentric orbits, etc, are a specialized topic. There was an objection by one of the discussers. The main thing is that they are presented an an advance. They are an attempt to apply circular orbits to explain retrograde motion, when they should be applying ellipses. In other words, the theory is wrong and is one of the major wrongs of ancient astronomy. I plan to write that up more fully under failed astronomy, but, give me a break, there is a lot of material here. I don't think it helps any to revert a wrong intro. You would have done better to write it yourself. So I'm re-reverting it, not that it should be considered the final form, which would depend ultimately on the content of the article. Since there is a question about the "canonical" article I am leaving the unlink to it. We can only work with what we got. If I look like I'm not working on this it is because I am slow. I am working on it.Botteville (talk) 15:49, 14 March 2017 (UTC)

On reconsideration, if we omit the "canonical" we take out half the intro. So, that is what I will do. It is tough to know what to put in there until the article gets in a more complete state. So, I think I will just pare it down for now. I couldn't find WP LEAD by the way. Moreover, leads are a big topic. You've given us no explanation at all of why you think you should revert it, especially the incorrect dates. Ciao. If I don't answer right away, I'm busy writing and researching. WP was not built is a day.Botteville (talk) 16:01, 14 March 2017 (UTC)

Split article[edit]

It seems obvious that as this article gets longer and longer a split may well be warranted. I see it as being in the same category as the Euclid article. There the main work, elements, was broken out into a distinct article. I think by the time we are finished giving all the Apollonius topics their minimum due, the same approach may well be warranted. It already has been clear to the previous editors that several topics could be spun from this one. I plan to keep going with this, if no one else takes it up, so I think I should plan for a split, say "Conics (Apollonius of perga)" as soon as I finish that topic. So far I have no contenders of a different view. I can't say that I blame you, as the author is especially dry, lengthy and tedious. I guess I am in a dry mood. But, no one understood the Britannica article, or this one either, so it needs to be done. I welcome discussion on my proposal and alternative titles for the Conics article. If no one has anything to say, I will assume I can go ahead. The text seemed chunky before because Apollonius covered a lot of geometry and astronomy, and it is not possible to cover it in a few paragraphs without being way over everyone's head. We don't have the same audience as Apollonius. Our audience is everyone. I'm hoping to expand the life and times section also.Botteville (talk) 11:40, 16 April 2017 (UTC)