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Ptolemaeus Arabus et Latinus

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Work B.1


The Καρπός (‘Fruit’), Kitāb al-Thamara (‘Book of the Fruit’) or Centiloquium is a collection of 100 astrological aphorisms attributed to Ptolemy in all versions and in all languages until at least the sixteenth century. Boll (Boll, ‘Studien’) was the first to demonstrate that the text was not by Ptolemy and his conclusion has not been challenged since. There is, however, no consensus as to the origin of the text. Because there are no testimonies or quotations in ancient sources and because there are no Greek manuscripts prior to the fourteenth century (the Syriac fragment referred to by Nau is excerpted from a thirteenth-century text), the question arises whether the text existed in Antiquity at all. In 1978, Lemay put forward the hypothesis that the text had been forged around 922 by the Egyptian mathematician and astronomer Abū Jaʿfar Aḥmad ibn Yūsuf ibn Ibrāhīm ibn al-Dāya, who is also the most famous commentator of the work, but this hypothesis is now being questioned (see in particular Martorello/Bezza, 12-18, and Boudet, ‘The Medieval Latin Versions’, 283). Abū Jaʿfar Aḥmad ibn Yūsuf is known in Latin as ‘Abuiafar’, ‘Abugafarus’ or ‘Haly’ among the readers of the Centiloquium (see B.1.2) and as ‘Ametus filius Josephi’ among the readers of his mathematical works translated by Gerard of Cremona (Liber de proportione et proportionalitate and De arcubus similibus).


M. Steinschneider, Die hebraeischen Uebersetzungen des Mittelalters und die Juden als Doltmetscher. Ein Beitrag zur Literaturgeschichte des Mittelalters, Berlin, 1893, II, 527-531; F. Boll, ‘Studien über Claudius Ptolemäus. Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der griechischen Philosophie und Astrologie’, Jahrbücher für Classische Philologie, Suppl. 21 (1894), 49-244: 180-181; F. Nau, ‘Un fragment syriaque de l’ouvrage astrologique de Claude Ptolémée intitulé le Livre du fruit’, Revue de l’Orient Chrétien 28 (1931-1932), 197-202; E. Boer, Καρπός. Pseudo-Ptolemaei Fructus sive Centiloquium, Leipzig, 1952 (revised edition Leipzig, 1961) [Claudii Ptolemaei opera quae exstant omnia, III.2]; W. Gundel, H. G. Gundel, Astrologumena. Die astrologische Literatur in der Antike und ihre Geschichte, Wiesbaden, 1966, 211; M. Ullmann, Die Natur- und Geheimwissenschaften im Islam, Leiden, 1972, 283-284; R. Lemay, ‘Origin and Success of the Kitāb Thamara of Abū Ja’far Aḥmad ibn Yūsuf ibn Ibrāhīm from the Tenth to the Seventeenth Century in the World of Islam and the Latin West’, in Proceedings of the First International Symposium for the History of Arabic Science (Aleppo, April 5-12, 1976), Aleppo, 1978, II, 91-107; E. R. McCarthy, ‘A Lexical Comparison of Four Twelfth Century Versions of Ptolemy’s Centiloquium from the Arabic’, in Actas del V Congreso Internacional de Filosofía Medieval, II, Madrid, 1979, 991-997; F. Sezgin, Geschichte des arabischen Schrifttums, VII: Astrologie-Meteorologie und Verwandtes, Leiden, 1979, VII, 44-46 (no. 2) and 157; P. Kunitzsch, review of Sezgin’s Geschichte des arabischen Schrifttums VII, Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenländischen Gesellschaft 132 (1982), 175-177; D. Pingree, review of Sezgin’s Geschichte des arabischen Schrifttums VII, Journal of the American Philosophical Society 102 (1982), 559-561; R. Lemay, Abū Ma‘šar al-Balḫī [Albumasar]: Liber introductorii maioris ad scientiam judiciorum astrorum, Napoli, 1995-1996, I, 115-116 and 269; IV, 15-19, 90-92 and 173-175; VII, 15-19; 58-62 and 105-106; R. Lemay, Le Kitāb at-Tamara (Liber fructus, Centiloquium) d’Abū Ja’far Aḥmad ibn Yūsuf [Ps.-Ptolémée], New York, 1999, 5 vols [unpublished]; F. Martorello, G. Bezza, Aḥmad ibn Yusūf ibn al-Dāya: Commento al Centiloquio tolemaico, Milano-Udine, 2013; O. Pompeo Faracovi, ‘Une nuova edizione del Centiloquio’, Bruniana & Campanelliana 20 (2014), 641-644; M. Rinaldi, El libro delle cento parole di Ptholommeo. Volgarizzamento inedito del Centiloquim pseudo-tolemaico, Roma, 2021. In Latin (see also B.1.1-B.1.10): R. Lemay, ‘Le Centiloquium du pseudo-Ptolémée (Abû Ja’far Ahmad ibn Yûsuf) chez quelques grands scolastiques du XIIIe siècle: Robert Grosseteste – Albert le Grand – Guillaume d’Auvergne’, Scientiarum Historia 29 (2003), 133-146; D. Juste, ‘The Impact of Arabic Sources on European Astrology: Some Facts and Numbers’, Micrologus 24 (2016), 173-194: 185 (no. 2); J.-P. Boudet, ‘The Medieval Latin Versions of Pseudo-Ptolemy’s Centiloquium: A Survey’, in Ptolemy’s Science of the Stars in the Middle Ages, eds D. Juste, B. van Dalen, D. N. Hasse, C. Burnett, Turnhout, 2020, 283-304.


Critical edition of the Greek text by Boer. English translation of Boer’s edition by J. H. Holden, Five Medieval Astrologers, Tempe, 2008, 71-87. Critical edition of the Arabic text, together with Abū Ja’far Aḥmad ibn Yūsuf’s commentary, by Martorello/Bezza. There is an unpublished critical edition of the Arabic text (also together with Abū Ja’far’s commentary) and of the five main medieval Latin translations (B.1.1-5) by Lemay, Le Kitāb.