Project icon: lavishly furnished initial letter with a painting of Ptolemy using an astrolab.

Ptolemaeus Arabus et Latinus

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Vatican, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Pal. lat. 1365

s. XIVex (copy completed on 19 October 1385, cf. colophon).


copied by Mengotus Itelbrot (cf. colophon), in France (Kunitzsch, Schuba).


Johannes Virdung of Hassfurt annotated the MS, which probably corresponds to the ‘Almagestum Ptholomei’ in his inventory of the mathematical books in the library of the Church of the Holy Spirit in Heidelberg (MS Vatican, BAV, Pal. lat. 1439, f. 203v – see Schuba, xviii); Heidelberg, Bibliotheca Palatina; Vatican library in 1623.

Parchment, I+206 f., a single neat hand, large painted initials on f. 1r and at the beginning of each book of the Almagest, numerous decorated initials.

Ptolemaica (single text), except for added title by a 16th-c. hand ‘Ptolomei Almagestum Gerardo Cremonensi interprete ex Arabico, scriptum anno 1385’ (Ir) and a miniature representing Mary’s coronation (Iv). Blank: 206v.


Inventarium manuscriptorum Latinorum Bibliothecae Palatinae (handwritten catalogue), 487; P. Kunitzsch, Der Sternkatalog des Almagest. Die arabisch-mittelalterliche Tradition, II, Wiesbaden, 1990, 15; L. Schuba, Die Quadriviums-Handschriften der Codices Palatini Latini in der Vatikanischen Bibliothek, Wiesbaden, 1992, 57.


‘Incipit prologus super Almag<esti>. Quidam princeps nomine Albuguafe in libro suo quem scientiarum electionem et verborum nominavit… (2r) Bonum fuit scire quod sapientibus non deviantibus visum est — abbreviationem, arrogantiam et collaudationem, tunc iam sequitur et honestum est ut ponamus hic finem libro. Explicit liber Ptolomei Pheludiensis qui dicitur Almagesti, totum continens astronomiam. Hunc librum Gerardus Cremonensis transtulit de Arabico in Latinum. Et hic liber est perfectus per manus Mengoti Itelbrot anno domini M°CCC°LXXXV° feria quinta post Gali [19 October] et a nativitate sua anno quadragesimo imperfecto.’

= Ptolemy, Almagesti (tr. Gerard of Cremona) (A.1.2), Class A. Translator’s preface, 1r-1v; Book I, 2r-15r; II, 15r-34r; III, 34r-49r; IV, 49r-64r; V, 64r-84v; VI, 84v-104v; VII, 104v-116r; VIII, 116r-126r; IX, 126r-142r; X, 142r-155r; XI, 155r-172r; XII, 172r-187v; XIII, 187v-206r. Substantial glosses by the scribe (some quoting Jordanus), a selection of which have been edited by H. Zepeda, The Medieval Latin Transmission of the Menelaus Theorem, PhD Dissertation, University of Oklahoma at Norman, 2013, 390-397 (see also H. Zepeda, The First Latin Treatise on Ptolemy’s Astronomy: The Almagesti minor (c. 1200), Turnhout, 2018, 83). Three marginal notes to the star catalogue (f. 114v), perhaps in a different hand, give the precessional increment for 1394 and 1414. Marginal notes by Johannes Virdung, mainly the subject matters (e.g. 6r, 7r, 9v-10r, 11r, 13v-14v, 18v-19r, 29v, 30v, 31r, 43r-44v, 47v, 48v, 81r).