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On this page: Cleomedes – Cleomfnes I




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CLEOMEDES (KAeowi^s), author of a Greek treatise in two books on the Circular Theory of the Heavenly Bodies (Ku/cAi/oys ©ecoptas Merecopa?!/ Bi^Ata 5uo). It is rather an exposition of the system of the universe than of the geometrical principles of astronomy. Indeed,- Cleomedes be-traj^s considerable ignorance of geometry (see his account, p. 28, of the position of the ecliptic), and seems not to pretend to accuracy in numerical de­tails. The first book treats of the universe in gene­ral, of the zones, of the motions of the stars and planets, of day and night, and of the magnitude and figure of the earth. Under the last head, Cleomedes maintains the spherical shape of the earth against the Epicureans, and gives the only detailed account extant of the methods by which Eratosthenes and Poseidonius attempted to mea­sure an arc of the meridian. The second book contains a dissertation on the magnitudes of the sun and moon, in which the absurd opinions of the Epicureans are again ridiculed ; and on the illumi­nation of the moon, its phases and eclipses. The most interesting points are, the opinion, that the moon's revolution about its axis is performed in the same time as its synodical revolution about the earth ; an allusion to something like almanacs, in which predicted eclipses were registered ; and the suggestion of atmospherical refraction as a possible explanation of the fact (which Cleomedes however professes not to believe), that the sun and moon are sometimes seen above the horizon at once dur­ing a lunar eclipse. (He illustrates this by the experiment in which a ring, just out of sight at the bottom of an empty vessel, is made visible by pouring in water.)

Of the history of Cleomedes nothing is known, and the date of his work is uncertain. He pro­fesses (ad fin.}, that it is compiled from various sources, ancient and modern, but particularly from Poseidonius (who was contemporary with Cicero); and, as he mentions no author later than Poseido­nius, it is inferred, that he must have lived before, or at least not much after Ptolemy, of whose works he could hardly have been ignorant if they had been long extant. It seems, also, from the eager­ness with which he defends the Stoical doctrines against the Epicureans, that the controversy be­tween these two sects was not obsolete when he wrote. On the other hand, Delambre has shewn that he had nothing more than a second-hand knowledge of the works of Hipparchus, which seems to lessen the improbability of his being ig­norant of Ptolemy. And Letronne (Journal des Savans, 1821, p. 712) argues, that it is unlikely that Cleomedes should have known anything of refraction before Ptolemy, who says nothing of it in the Almagest (in which it must have appeared if he had been acquainted with it), but introduces the subject for the first time in his Optics. The same writer also endeavours to shew, from the longitude assigned by Cleomedes (p. 59) to the star Aldebaran, that he could not have written earlier than a. d. 186. Riccioli (Almag. Nov. vol, i. pp. xxxii. and 307) supposes, that the Cleomedes who wrote the Circular Theory lived a little after Poseidonius, and that another Cleomedes lived about a. d. 390.

A treatise on Arithmetic and another on the re^ attributed to a Cleomedes, are said to exist


in MS. Vossius (de Nat. Art. p. 180, b.) conjec­tures that Cleomedes wrote the work on Harmonics attributed to Cleonides or Euclid. [euoleides.]

The KuKAf/o) @eo?pta was first printed in Latin by Geo. Valla, Yen. 1498, fol.; in Greek by Con­rad Neobarius, Paris, 1539 ; in Gr. and Lat. with a commentary, by Rob. Balfour, Burdigal. 1605, 4to. The two latest editions are by Janus Bake, with Balfours commentary, &c., Lugd. Bat, 1820, 8vo., and C. C. T. Schmidt, Lips. 1832, 8vo. (a reprint of Bake's text, with select notes).

(Delambre, Hist, de PAstron. Ancienne, vol. i. chap. 12; Weidler, Hist. Astron. p. 152; Voss. de Nat. Art. p. 117, a.; Fabric. Bibl. Grace. iv* p. 41.) [W. F. D.]

CLEOMFNES I. (KAeoju&^s), 16th king of Sparta in the Agkl line, was born to Anaxandrides by his second wife, previous to the birth by his first of Dorieus, Leonidas, and Cleombrotu*. [anaxandrides.] He accordingly, on bis fa­ther's death, succeeded, not later it would seem than 519 b. c., and reigned for a period of 2.9 years. (Clinton, F. H. ii. p. 208.)

In b. c. 519 we are told it was to Cleomenes that the Plataeans applied when Sparta, declining to assist them, recommended alliance with Athens. (Herod, vi. 108.) And not much later, the visit of Maeandrius occurred, who had been left in possession of Samos by the death of Polycrates, but had afterwards been driven out by the Per­sians with Syloson. Maeandrius twice or thrice in conversation with Cleomenes led the wav to


his house, where he took care to have displayed certain splendid goblets, and, on Cleomenes ex­pressing his admiration, begged he would accept them. Cleomenes refused; and at last, in fear for his own or his citizens' weakness, went to the ephors and got an order for the stranger's depar­ture. (Herod, iii. 148.)

In 510 Cleomenes commanded the forces by whose assistance Hippias was driven from Athens, and not long after he took part in the struggle be­tween Cleisthenes and the aristocratical party of Isagoras by sending a herald with orders, pointed against Cleisthenes, for the expulsion of all who were stained Avith the pollution of Cylon. He fol­lowed this step by coming and driving out, in person, 700 households, substituting also for the new Coun­cil of 500 a body of 300 partisans of Isagoras. But his force was small, and having occupied the acro­polis with his friends, he was here besieged, and at last forced to depart on conditions, leaving his allies to their fate. In shame and anger he hur­ried to collect Spartan and allied forces, and set forth for his revenge. At Eieusis, however, when the Athenians were in sight, the Corinthians re­fused to proceed; their example was followed by his brother-king Demaratus; and on this the other allies also, and with them Cleomenes, withdrew. When in the acropolis at Athens, he is related to have attempted, as an Achaean, to enter the tem­ple, from which Dorians were excluded, and to have hence brought back with him to Sparta a variety of oracles predictive of his country's future relations with Athens; and their contents, says Herodotus, induced the abortive attempt winch the Spartans made soon after to restore the tyranny of Hippias. (Herod, v. 64, 65, 69-76, 89-91.)

In 500, Sparta was visited by Aristagoras, a petitioner for aid to the revolted lonians. His brazen map and his accompanying representations

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