“The Republic” of Cicero, famous for its exposition of political theory, contains passages on the worldview, physics and astronomy of the time, and even solves a mystery that has been around me since the age of 10. Here is a short summary of the conference I gave on this topic at the Oiasso Museum in Irun.
The Republic (Cicero, 1st century BC): “Do you want us to see now, before the others come, what is that of the Second Sun that the Senate has announced?” He speaks of a sun dog, a spectacular phenomenon of atmospheric refraction.
“I had heard about this planetarium thanks to the fame of Archimedes (…) in it the sun and the moon were moving, and also those five stars that are called ‘wandering’ ” It refers to a machine similar to that of Antikythera, extracted from the seabed in 1901.
The Antikythera Rearch Team published in 2008 in Nature the operation of the machine (2nd century BC), which reproduces sun and moon movements, predicts eclipses, paths of the 5 known planets then, and the dates of the Olympics. Watch the video
The Universe model of ancient Rome was based on the Physics of Aristotle, with the Earth at the center of the Universe. The size of the Universe they estimated at that time was about a sextillion (1036) times smaller than what we conceived today.
The Republic: “the eclipse of sunlight was projected and the moon entered the area covered by the earth, because the sun, from that region <of the moon was intercepted by the earth>” and in 2019 Nature publishes how the Antikythera machine does it
The Republic “There was no comparison between the stellar spheres and the size of the Earth, because the Earth itself seemed so small that I was ashamed of our empire occupying almost a single point in it.” How did they know the size of the stars? This surprises me.
The Republic: “I see that you still contemplate the home of men. But if it seems small to you, as it really is, always look at these heavenly things and despise those other human beings ”because the African says that the soul of the righteous resides in the Milky Way.
Unrolled copy of my astronomy thread of the 30/12/2019