BornSoli (near Mersin, Turkey), late fourth century BCE
DiedPella, (Macedonia, Greece), before 240 BCE
Aratus is the author of the Phaenomena, a description in poetry of the constellations and the apparent motions of the sky, which was widely read throughout Antiquity and the Middle Ages.
After studying with Stoic (and Peripatetic?) philosophers in Athens, Aratus was invited, in 276 BCE, to the court of Antigonus Gonatas in Pella, where he seems to have spent most of his active career as a scholar and poet. Ancient sources, besides offering many less trustworthy biographical details, ascribe to Aratus occasional poetry (e.g., celebrating Antigonus’ marriage), a collection of “light verse” (Kata lepton), epigrams, hymns, epistolary character sketches, and an edition of Homer.
But Aratus was best known for his didactic poems on anatomical, pharmacological, and especially astronomical subjects. The Kanôn(measuring rod) probably held a mathematical description of the planetary orbits....
- Aratus (1997). Phaenomena, edited with introduction, translation, and commentary by Douglas Kidd. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
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