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Nicephoros Gregoras: the greatest Byzantine astronomer

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In the whole of Greece, no eminent astronomers appeared after the great Claudius Ptolemy (second century AD). For ten centuries after Ptolemy we can distinguish only one astronomer: Nicephoros Gregoras (1295–1360). The monk Nicephoros Gregoras is discussed together with his teacher, Theodoros Metochites, one of the most significant scholars of Byzantium. The literary work of Gregoras is especially important, while Byzantine astronomy owes indisputable progress to him. Gregoras was the first to propose, in 1324, a correction to the calculation of the date of Easter, and to the Julian calendar similar to that adopted later, in 1582, by Pope Gregory XIII. This proposition and, more obviously, his dispute with St Gregory Palamas created problems in the relationship between Gregoras and the Church, leading to the desecration of his corpse by a fanatical crowd.

Keywords: Andronicus II; Byzantine astronomy; History of astronomy; Nicephoros Gregoras; Roman history

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10556790600737046

Affiliations: 1: Department of Astrophysics, Astronomy and Mechanics, School of Physics, University of Athens, Panepistimiopolis, Zografos, 157 84, Athens, Greece 2: Astronomical Observatory, Volgina 7, 11160, Belgrade, Serbia

Publication date: February 1, 2006

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