What Is Ptolemy Writing About?
Instructions: Read the assigned text through carefully. The following questions are meant to help focus your attention as you wade through this primary source. Use them to help you write your response paper. (A response paper should consist of at least one double-spaced page, and no more than about three.) Some questions may require, or suggest, that you do some additional research. Feel free to do so, but not obligated to make a big deal out of it. We will be discussing these questions together in class, so give them a bit of thought.
Summarize this text in your own words. What is Ptolemy writing about? (By the way, who is Ptolemy?) What kind of book was this? Whom was it written for? What genre is it in? How would you describe it?
How and why is world cartography “mathematical” according to Ptolemy? (See the last paragraph on page 2.) And what does Ptolemy mean by “mathematical” in this context anyway? (Hint: see the footnote!)
Reread section 22 (pages 11-12) on how to make a map of the known world on a globe. Do you think a mapmaker could have done so using Ptolemy’s instructions alone? Why or why not?