Re: Astrolabes and almagests

Date: Thu, 4 Jun 1998 13:21:15 EDT

Philip Hibbs:

<<Has anyone got any ideas what an Astrolabe is, or what "Almagests" are? There they are, lurking in the starting equipment for a civilised Adept Sorceror ... but what the hell are they?

PS. I'm not actually expecting anyone to know what they are, they are probably just strange words that someone made up that sound mystcal, but I'm hoping someone's come up with a crackpot theory.>>

I hope this isn't going to be disappointing, but I'm afraid neither of them are made-up...

An astrolabe is a cunning navigational device which measures the position of stars (and hence is useful to astronomers too). They have so far inexplicably managed to avoid appearing at my medieval technology website, which I guess I ought to change now that you've mentioned it.

The Almagest was the Arabic translation of Ptolemy's astronomy text 'Megale syntaxis tes astronomias'. Although it isn't a real *word* AFAIK (well, not in English - it means something in Arabic), it is obviously meant to refer to a star-atlas in the write-up.

Forward the glorious Reaching Moon!


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