Ancient People And Thier Gods Essay

2587 words - 11 pages

Ancient people believed in Gods for causes to nature and the unexplained. Once the fourth century BC rolled around, people began to see astronomical phenomena’s as natural events repeated throughout ages rather than the actions of Gods. Greeks did not worship celestial bodies very strongly in their religion, despite having idolized the Sun and Moon. Different people’s beliefs varied greatly in ancient times. Different countries progressed in thought at different speeds. During the Renaissance, many began to toss aside medieval distress with supernatural forces and turned to worldly concerns like fame. With the Age of Discovery, people began to think for themselves and believe truths through ...view middle of the document...

In Aristotle's book De Caelo (On the Heavens), he speaks of the celestial sphere, the Earth's center being the same shape, and dismissing the idea of the Earth rotating at the center of the universe. He also dismisses the idea of an orbital motion of the Earth. Contradicting Aristotle, Heracleides, an astronomer, believed in the
rotation of the Earth on it's axis and is known to be the earliest astronomer to
stand by it. He was thought to have taken the first step in "Copernicanism."
It is believed in the years to follow that Copernicus was said to have mentioned
Heracleides' name in this connection. (North, p.85) Aristarchus of Samos was the
first astronomer to clearly put forth a true sun-centered theory, learned from
Archimedes. (North, p.85) "...Aristarchus' hypotheses are that the fixed
stars and the Sun are stationary, that the Earth is carried in a circular orbit
around the Sun, which lies in the middle of it's orbit, and that the spheres of
fixed stars, having the same center as the Sun, is so great in extent that the
circle on which the Earth is supposedly carried is in the same ratio to the
distance of the sphere has to its surface." (North, p.85-6) If Aristarchus
did believe in heliocentrism, he still could not prove the differences in the
Earth's motion and seasons, which explains its failure to be accepted. (North,
p.86-7) Although scientists such as Eudoxus, Callippus, and Aristotle all came
up with Earth-centered systems based by providing a center for all motions,
Ptolemy was triumphant for he was able to explain sphere sizes and achieved a
single system, which was not done by the others. "When Ptolemy achieved a
single system, the sizes of the shells accommodating maximum and minimum
planetary distances were settled on the principle that there must be no void, no
wasted space, between them." (North, p.285) His misconception was he
believed that if the Earth was not fixed entirely, it would shatter, even though
Copernicus reveals that planets' distances from Earth and motions vary, and that
the Earth endlessly repeats in motion. (North, p.286) Despite the Catholic
Church adopting Ptolemy's and Aristotle's beliefs of geocentrism, those theories
did not correspond to the astronomical observations of the time. (Yamasaki,
p.50) The Copernican Revolution began during the European Renaissance and was
named after Nicolaus Copernicus. (Morphet, p.4) "...this period saw
elements of a modern scientific outlook extend its boundaries into areas of
enquiry where observation and measurement had hitherto been less important than
philosophical speculation and a priori reasoning." (Morphet, p.4-5)
"...although the Copernican heliocentric theory dealt directly with the
structure of the solar system, its indirect consequences embraced the whole
fabric of thought, inaugurating a breakthrough in people's outlook on the world.
Copernicus liberated the human mind, which had been fettered up to his day by
...

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