MGMT 1050 Lecture 3: Video - CH 3

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20 Jul 2016
Chapter 3 Video 1
Astronomy in Ancient Greece
The fragmented geography and decentralized rule of ancient Greece allowed for an intellectual
freedom that led to a revolution in scientific thought.
First civilization to take astronomy beyond the level of time tracking and astrology.
There were some people in acient times that thought about how planets move and whats beyond the
Ancient greeks were the first important thinkers because they didn’t see that type of thinking and
theorizing as frivolous. They documented their theories about the universe and established the first real
academic institution of higher learning where thinking and theorizing about the universe was
Acadamy is Greek. Comes from the name of the location of the first greek school which was just outside
Athens. In these greek acadamy’s theories about the sky were argued over and taught from generation
to generation.
Why greek and not someone else? Why does the universe this way? Why greek
Reason being: Ancient greek was very hard to rule by a single or centralized government. Reason for
this was its geography. Its places were isolated. In ancient Greece, it was impossible for a single
government to rule all aspects of peoples lives throughout the empire. People had the intellectual
freedom and to see how the world worked. Allowed them to take astronomy and other science to a
completely new level.
Timeline Online. Look at it.
Greek people known to reside around the Aegean sea in southeastern eurom since 3000 BC. Greek
recorded history began in 700 BC. It was this time perdio when the greek written alphabet was
developed. Between 700-500BC, individual greek city states began to unite: led to concouring. Around
500BC they had spread enourmosly.
Most advanvced economic empire in the world at its peak.
Greek kingdom of massadonia dominated the greek empire- Alexandar the great
Split up when he died. End marker of the classical period is his death
Hellenistic period end. Greek empire became part of the roman republic.
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Two main Greek schools of thought about the universe:
Geocentrism vs Heliocentrism
The popularity of Plato and Aristotle led to nearly 2000 years of widespread belief in the geocentric
model, even though the heliocentric model was also taught in their time.
Geocentrism is the belief that all of the celestial bodies revolve around a fixed earth. A geocentrist
would say that the reason why the Earth experiences day and night is because the sun orbits the earth
once a day. And our view of the star changes with the seasons because stars orbit the earth once a year
while the Earth remains fixed.
Heliocentrisim is the belief that all celestial bodies including the earth revolve around the sun.
heliocentrist would say that the earth experiences day and night because earth spins around its own axis
once a day. And our view of the stars changes with the seasons because the earth is moving through
space in its annual orbit around the sun.
Pythagorus is the reason behind helio and geo branches
First philosopher to think scientifically and not based of myths was Thales. Thales (c. 624-546BC):
considered the “father of science” for attempting to find explanations for natural phenomena that
didn’t involve the gods.
Thales used Egyptian and Babylonian knowledge about the cycles In the sky about moon, eclipses.
Found that different cultures were using different stories to explain the exact same thing. (Earthquake-
greeks said pysidan was angry. He would strike the ground with his trident. Egypt- were the laughter of
Gebb. When Gebb giggled, the earth would shake). How can all these myths be correct? Led to none of
them being correct. Thales said that the Earth floats on water and the earthquake is because the earth is
beind rocked by waves (not the correct explanation but a scientific one).
His philosophy gained support when he demonstrated that some acts of nature (e.g. eclipses) are
Greeks said eclipses are unpredictable. Happen when Zeus chooses to block out the sun for swag
purposes. War ended because thales predicted the eclipse.
Student of Thales: Anaximander (c. 610-546 BC). Father of cosmology. First person we know of to
document a working model of the universe. He described how the sun, earth, moon, planets and stars
are organized in space and how they all move in space.
He set the earth “afloat” in air. Meaning he proposed we are not standing on a ground that extends
infinitely beneath us or a ground that’s floating on an ocean of water (what thales believed). WE are
standing on a disc in space. The earth is a drift in space with nothing holding it up in the space.
Developed the first moving model of the universe, in which the motion of the celestial bodies is
explained by placing them on spinning wheels around Earth.
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Through this model, he could explain the seasons, day/night, motions of stars and planets, eclipses.. All
future models were based off this one.
Pythagoras was born in Samos. (c. 570-495 BC)-
According to legend, when he discovered that musical pitch is determined by the length of the
instrument, he realized: the universe is a cosmos (a harmonious system that obeys knowable laws)
Studied under Egyptian mathematicians. Also spent time with Babylonians (predicting sky)
Pythagoras discovered that musical pitches follow mathematical laws in how they’re produced. From
this discovery, he concluded the universe follows knowable mathematical laws.
He taught that all celestial motion is perfectly circular, and the earth is a sphere. – two fundemetal
principles Pythagoreans believed in
Pythagoreans- vegetarians, didn’t believe in owing personal property, believed women are intellectually
All cycles of nature could be predicted my mathematical equations.
Believed Revolutions of sun, moon and planets could be converted into musical notes
Evidence earth is a sphere:
If earth was flat, ships wouldn’t disappear in the horizon. They would fall right off the planet. But since
they gradually disappear on the horizon botton-first, we know that earth is a sphere
Earths shadow on the eclipsed moon is always round.
When you travel north or south, the constellations rise and set more rapidly than they would if the
earth was flat.
Since Pythagoras time, the earth was known to be round.
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