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Meteorology versus/ and Astronomy


The term Meteorology originally (in Aristotle's fundamental notion) designates a huge collection of natural phenomena that have their own laws of prediction and differ from the accurately computeable Astronomy.

The ancient Greek term meteōrologia refers to a broader range of natural phenomena than the modern term does, including ‘lofty’ or astronomical phenomena such as shooting stars and comets, and terrestrial phenomena such as earthquakes, floods and volcanic activities. The daily weather might have seemed unpredictable for ancient people but they definitely knew some laws of seasonal climate - some of them being (almost) forgotten or hidden in religious cults today.

Astronomy was considered the science of exactly predictable appearances of phenomena (such as stars, moon, sun and planets) but occasionally, there were celestial phenomena in the night sky that appeared somehow star-like but were not predictable or even moved differently: e.g. comets, meteors, or possibly even novae and supernovae. 

While it is publicly known that Astronomy is one of the oldest fields of exact sciences, one might assume that Meteorology, as a separate branch, develops due to the rapid progress of modern science, in fact already the Presocratic philosophers raised questions about the weather and the nature and movement of the celestial bodies. The first work that survives on the subject is Aristotle's Meteorologica written in the 4th century BCE in four books. 


This website is dedicated to these most neglected areas of study within the field of ancient Greek and Roman natural philosophy concerning ancient weather and climate knowledge. It provides the results of an ongoing, multidisciplinary research in the history of Meteorology and some selected astronomical phenomena Aristotle would have counted towards Meteorology. 


Astronomical Transients

This website is an outcome of the project GEOANATOMY. The Body as a Model in Greco-Roman Conceptions of the Earth and the Environment, directed by Giouli Korobili.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement no. 897785. 

This website is continuously updated.

Modern astrophysics aims to make use of historical data, in particular with regard to the long-term evolution of stellar systems. In the 1970s, F. Richard Stephenson coined the term "applied historical astronomy" for the branch of astronomy in which transient phenomena are studied with historical sources. 

The project performed by Susanne M Hoffmann was founded by the Free State of Thuringia and the Friedrich Schiller University Jena. 
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