Edmond Halley’s Reconstruction of the Lost Book of Apollonius’s Conics

Translation and Commentary

  • Michael N. Fried

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-x
  2. Introduction

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Michael N. Fried
      Pages 3-6
    3. Michael N. Fried
      Pages 7-11
    4. Michael N. Fried
      Pages 13-15
    5. Michael N. Fried
      Pages 23-31
    6. Michael N. Fried
      Pages 33-34
  3. Apollonius of Perga’s On Conics: Book Eight Restored

  4. Synopsis and Appendices

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 115-115
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 127-132

About this book


Apollonius’s Conics was one of the greatest works of advanced mathematics in antiquity.  The work comprised eight books, four of which have come down to us in their original Greek and three in Arabic.  By the time the Arabic translations were produced, the eighth book had already been lost. In 1710, Edmond Halley, then Savilian Professor of Geometry at Oxford, produced an edition of the Greek text of the Conics of Books I-IV, a translation into Latin from the Arabic versions of Books V-VII, and a reconstruction of Book VIII.  

Motivated by such questions as what role did Halley's reconstruction play in the mathematical world of the late 17th and early 18th century? and what did Halley see himself learning from engaging with mathematicians such as Apollonius?, Michael Fried’s work provides the first complete English translation of Halley’s reconstruction of Book VIII with supplementary notes on the text.  The volume also contains an introduction discussing aspects of Apollonius’s Conics, an investigation of Edmond Halley's understanding of the nature of his venture into ancient mathematics, and appendices giving brief accounts of Apollonius’s approach to conic sections and his mathematical techniques.

This book will be of great interest to students and researchers interested in the history of ancient Greek mathematics and mathematics in the early modern period. 


Apollonius’s Conics Edmond Halley Greek Mathematics History of Mathematics History of Science

Authors and affiliations

  • Michael N. Fried
    • 1
  1. 1.Building 72, Marcus Family Campus, Program for Science and Technology EducaBen-Gurion University of the NegevBeer-ShevaIsrael

Bibliographic information