Mathematician:Eratosthenes of Cyrene

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Greek geometer and astronomer best known for his estimate of the size of the Earth.

Also famous for:

his Sieve of Eratosthenes
his measurement of the obliquity of the ecliptic.

Famously a correspondent with Archimedes of Syracuse, who addressed the preamble of his The Method to him.

Custodian of the Library of Alexandria.

Went blind in his old age, and it is said that he committed suicide by starving himself to death.




  • Born: c. 276 BCE, Cyrene, North Africa (now Shahhat, Libya)
  • Died: c. 194 BCE, Alexandria, Egypt

Theorems and Topics

Results named for Eratosthenes of Cyrene can be found here.


  • Platonicus (on the philosophy of Plato)
  • Hermes

Other works

These works are referred to by other ancient writers, but are now believed lost:

  • On the measurement of the Earth
  • On means (now lost: recognised by Pappus as one of the great works of geometry)

Critical View

... a good mathematician but quite a fop.
-- 1937: Eric Temple Bell: Men of Mathematics: Chapter $\text{II}$: Modern Minds in Ancient Bodies

Also known as

Ancient Greek: Ἐρατοσθένης.