An new hero takes on the ancient astronomical works

I’ve just discovered http://www.wilbourhall.org/index.html.  This site deals with Mathematics, and Mathematical Astronomy in the works of ancient writers.  It does so by getting hold of whatever texts exist and fixing the errors in the Google scans and so forth.  If you want the complete works of Hero of Alexandria, they’re here.  Archimedes, Ptolemy… likewise.  Arabic writers?  They too.  The author, Joe Leichter, writes:

I hope to make available public domain materials that are essential for the study of ancient and early modern mathematics and mathematical astronomy. Google, for example, has done some things to achieve this through its books.google.com project. However, like most other efforts at digitally copying non digital materials, “mistakes were made”. For example, Google currently has several (all incomplete) versions of Teubner’s’s edition of Euclid available for download. Most of these unfortunately contain page after page that are illegible, missing, out of order or otherwise unusable.

The man is a hero.  Ancient scientific works are a horrendously neglected part of the ancient world, because they require skills and interest in both the humanities and the sciences.  Still more neglected are the Byzantine writers on this subject.

All this from a blog that I had not seen before, opuculuk by Nick Nicholas, reporting on a search that he did on the works of Chioniades.  (Nick works for the TLG, and was working on their lemmatizer, when he started to come across chunks of untranslated Arabic in the scientific works of Chioniades.  Mr. C., a 12th century writer, had been taking lessons from some Persian, so had got a whole load of jargon for his pains!)

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