Chapter 4 Exam Review Questions and Answers:
1. Why did knowledge about astronomy decline during the Dark Ages?
a. The Church was heavily influential in State affairs and rejected anything the
Greeks believed since their ideas contradicted what the Bible taught (the Bible
did not focus on astronomy). Also there was loss of ancient Greek texts.
2. Describe how the knowledge of the Ancient Greeks was preserved during the
Dark Ages. Why were Islamic scholars interested in the astronomical knowledge
of the Ancient Greeks?
a. Islamic scholars continued studying astronomy from where the ancient Greeks
left off because the Qur’an (Muslim Holy Book) encourages knowledge of the
3. Why is Ptolemy's astronomy textbook known as "The Almagest"?
a. When the Muslim scholars came across his textbook, they were so impressed
that they renamed it to Almagest which means, The Greatest.
4. Why are most star names of Arabic origin?
a. Islamic scholars created star catalogues in which the stars were renamed with
Arabic descriptions, when these catalogues made their way to Europe, the
Arabic star names persisted.
5. What was produced at the Samarkand Observatory that "...put Ptolemy's to
shame?" Briefly describe the instrument that was used to produce this.
a. A star catalogue was produced.
b. Basically there was an underground quadrant that curved towards the top of
the building and was between two high walls. On the floor ran degree markings
similar to a protractor. Astronomers would sight stars and planets through a slit
and note their positions from the degree markings.
6. What led to the reappearance of the Ancient Greek texts in Europe after the 12th
a. Contact between Christian and Islamic scholars in Muslim Spain led to Latin
translations of the Arabic versions of Greek texts.
7. How did Regiomontanus' work save Christopher Columbus' life in 1504?
a. Columbus was stranded on an island and was starving to death. The natives
refused to help him. Columbus then used Regiomontanus' book to predict a
lunar eclipse. He told the natives if they didn’t give him food the Moon would
disappear. When the eclipse occurred, the natives gave Columbus food asking
him to return the Moon.
8. Whose cosmology did the medieval Church adopt, and why? Was it geocentric or
heliocentric? What role did Regiomontanus play in propelling this?
a. The Church adopted the Aristotelian-Ptolemaic cosmology.
b. It was geocentric. c. Regiomontanus’ Latin translation of The Almagest led Christian scholars to