Your historical analysis is accurate, if somewhat skewed and misleading. Ptolemy did NOT invent the epicyclic or eccentric theories of planetary motion; they were arrived at by predecessors over five hundred years before him. He perfected the theories, of course, but the celestial mechanics he demonstrates are not in any way illogical, ill-founded, or "silly." In fact, when the first telescopes were invented, Tycho and Kepler made hyperaccurate measurements of the positions of the planets. They discovered that Ptolemy's predictions of planetary movement (based on the so-called "wrong" geocentric theory) were in fact MORE ACCURATE than Copernicus'. Ptolemy's system, out of style though it may be, is actually still the best naked-eye system for predicting where the planets will travel.

I should also point out that Copernicus did not eliminate the epicycles from his heliocentric cosmos. In Book IV of his Revolutions of Heavenly Spheres, he puts his theory of the outer planets (Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn) forth as "quasi-circles" with epicycles traveling on them! He copied Ptolemy's theory and system almost exactly, with the exception of removing the equant point. Incidentally, it was Copernicus' denial of an equant point that destroyed the veracity of his predictions. Insofar as he disagreed with Ptolemy, his predictions were wrong!

--Ben Speakmon