, a celebrated Greek philosopher and astronomer, was a native of the city of Samos; but of what date is not exactly known; it must have been, however, before the time of Archimedes, as some parts of his writings and opinions are cited by that author, in his Arenarius: he probably, therefore, flourished about 420 years B. C. He held the opinion of Pythagoras as to the system of the world, but whether before or after him, is uncertain, teaching that the sun and stars were fixed in the heavens, and that the earth is moved in a circle about the sun, at the same time that it revolved about its own centre or axis. He taught also, that the annual orbit of the earth, compared with the distance of the fixed stars, is but as a point. On this head Archimedes says, “Aristarchus the Samian, confuting the notions of astrologers, laid down certain positions, from whence it follows, that the world is much larger than is generally imagined; for he lays it down, that the fixed stars and the sun are immoveable, and that the earth is carried round the sun in the circumference of a circle.” On which account, although he did not suffer persecution and imprisonment, like Galileo, yet he did not escape censure for his supposed impiety; for it is said Cleanthus was of opinion, that Aristarchus ought to have been tried for his opinions respecting the heavenly bodies and the earth. Aristarchus invented a peculiar kind of sun-dial, mentioned by Vitruvius. There is extant of his works only a treatise upon the magnitude and distance of the sun and moon; this was translated into Latin, and commented upon by Commandine, who first published it with Pappus’s explanations, in 1572, Pisaur, 4to. Dr. Wallis afterwards published it in Greek, with Commandine’s Latin version, in 1688, at Oxford, and which he inserted again in the third volume of his mathematical works, printed in folio at Oxford, in 1699. In 1644 was published, at Paris, a work entitled “De Mundi Systemate, cum notis Bl. P. Roberval,” 8vo, which goes under the name of Aristarchus; but it has been supposed to be a fiction. 2


Bayle,Hutton’s Math, Dict. Bailly‘ Hist, de l’Astronomie, 1779.