Fr.: système de Ptolémée
An empirical model developed by Ptolemy about 150 A.D., in which a motionless Earth was the center of the Universe. The Sun, Moon, and planets revolved around the Earth in → eccentric circles and → epicycles. The fixed stars were attached to an outer sphere concentric with Earth. The Ptolemaic system gave the positions of the planets accurately enough for naked-eye observations, although it also had serious defects. As an extreme example, according to Ptolemy's model for the Moon, our satellite should appear to be almost twice as large when it is full than it is at quadrature, which is an absurdity since it is not seen as such.
Claudius Ptolemaeus was a mathematician, geographer, astronomer, and astrologer. The most influential of Greek astronomers, he lived in Roman Egypt, and was probably born there; he died in Alexandria in 165 A.D.; → system.