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Ptolemy (Latin: Claudius Ptolemæus; Greek: Κλαύδιος Πτολεμαῖος, Klaúdios Ptolemaîos; c. 9089
4093 AM – c. 168167
4171 AM) was a Greek mathematician, geographer, astronomer, and astrologer who lived in Roman Egypt.
- Main Article: Geography
Ptolemy gave geography and cartography its final form in the 2nd century AD. His massive work on the subject (Geographia), which summed up and criticized the work of earlier writers, offered instruction in laying out maps by three different methods of projection, provided coordinates for some eight thousand places, and treated such basic concepts as geographical latitude and longitude.
In Byzantium, in the 13th century, Ptolemic maps were reconstructed and attached to Greek manuscripts of the text. And in the fifteenth century, a Latin translation of this text, with maps, proved a sensation in the world of the book. A best seller both in the age of luxurious manuscripts and in that of print, Ptolemy's Geography became immensely influential. Columbus—one of its many readers—found inspiration in Ptolemy's exaggerated value for the size of Asia for his own fateful journey to the west.