Name: EratosthenesOccupation:

From: Cyrene (mod. Shahhat, Libya)Son of: Aglaos

Occupation:

Dates: c. 280-200 BC

Brief biography: Studied in Athens under Ariston at the Lyceum, under Arkesilaus and Apelles at the Academy, and under Bion the cynic. Went to Alexandria c.245 when invited by Ptolemy III Euergetes to become the second Head of the Library and tutor to Ptolemy IV. Recipient of Archimedes'Cattle ProblemandThe Method. Solved the problem of doubling the cube by mechanical means. Devised his 'sieve' for finding prime numbers. Established the system of dating by Olympiads. Was an authority on old comedy, epsecially Aristophanes. Wrote three large poems:Hermes,EripgoneandAnterinys. His most famous work was hisGeography, in which (amongst other things) he computed the circumference of the earth. Later known as 'the pentathlete' and 'beta'. HisGeographywas read by Caesar, who was impressed that he knew of the Hercynian Forest.

Works:

References: D R DicksDSB4.388-93. On dating by Olympiads (and other methods) see A A MosshammerThe Chronicle of Eusebius and Greek Chronographic Tradition(1979) 87. CaesarGallic War5. 24.

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## Last modified: 11 April 2007