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Conceptions of CosmosFrom Myths to the Accelerating Universe: A History of Cosmology$
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Helge S. Kragh

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199209163

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199209163.001.0001

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From Myths To The Copernican Universe

From Myths To The Copernican Universe

Chapter:
(p.6) 1 From Myths To The Copernican Universe
Source:
Conceptions of Cosmos
Author(s):

HELGE S. KRAGH

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199209163.003.0002

This chapter discusses the development of cosmological thought from the oldest times — as in Mesopotamian and Egyptian cultures — to the early 17th century. A high point in this development was the geocentric Aristotelian-Ptolemaic world picture, which in a christianized version was adopted by the philosophers and theologians of the Middle Ages. The stable medieval view of the world was challenged by the Copernican heliocentric system of 1543, which marked the beginning of the scientific revolution and also of increased tensions between science and faith. Not only was the new universe much larger than the old one, with Kepler's innovations of the early 17th century the privileged circular motions of the celestial bodies had to be abandoned.

Keywords:   cosmological thought, Aristotelianism, Ptolemaic world picture, medieval view, Copernican heliocentric system, scientific revolution

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