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Ptolemaeus Arabus et Latinus

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Work A.2.2

Ptolemy
Quadripartitum (tr. 1206)

Text

‘(Florence, BNC, Conv. Soppr. J.II.10) Incipit Quadripartitum Tholomei. (91r) [preface] Prolixitatis exosa latinitas artium principia prescriptione quadam insignire solicita est ut sequens negotium gratiosius elucescat — reminiscitur post imperii Romani adeptionem. Hiis habitis ad propositum accedamus. (91r-99r) [book i] Liber primus incipit. Primi libri capitula sunt 24. Primum de divisione scientie… (chapter index). Ex stellarum habitudine prescientie perfectio consecuta, Iezuri, tamquam partes maiores et sublimiores in duo consistit distributa — qui modi si defuerint virtute diminuta debiles iudicandi sunt. (99r-105v) [book ii] Incipit liber secundus Quadripartiti. Secundi capitula libri 13. Unum de divisione iudiciali… (chapter index). De divisione iudiciali. Capitulum primum. Post generales partium ordinationes quarum usus in prescientia necessarius ulteriores secundum viam continuationis naturalis precedentibus — ad prescientiam nativitatum prout hic ordini competit secundum viam continuationis maturemus. (105v-113v) [book iii] Incipit liber tertius. Tertii libri capitula 14. Primum de distinctione initiorum nati… (chapter index). Capitulum primum de distinctione initiorum nati. Quoniam accidentium universalium ut premitti dignior investigatio prosecuta est — Mercurius quidem rem publicat, multiplicat et augmentat. (113v-118v) [book iv] Liber quartus.… Quarti libri capitula 9. Primum de possessione nati… (chapter index). Capitulum primum de possessione nati. Desub alibus nati et eius propriis, que nativitatem ipsam communicantur, precedunt et sequntur — Tunc enim natus pro parte maiori, in omnibus vel in prosperitatem pro dispositorum qualitatem inveniet. Quoniam ergo iuxta propositum nostrum in astrorum iudicia viam universalem tradidimus, congruum est ut huic tractatui nostro finem imponamus. Perfecta est huius libri translatio 29 die Augusti anno domini 1206, et 23 die Almihatam, anno Arabum 603. Et Deus melius novit. Explicit Quadripartitum Ptholomei in iudicia astrorum secundum accidentia editum.’

Origin

The translation is dated to 29 August 1206 and the translator speaks of England and, more precisely, Exeter as his homeland (cf. ‘Insule etiam boreales cum suis habitaculis ut Scotia, Ybernia, Maior Britannia in qua patria nostra Excestria [Exeter]…’, ed. Lemay, Le Kitāb, I, 378). Because the translation reproduces some passages of Hermann of Carinthia’s translation of Albumasar’s Introductorium maius (1140), Lemay attributes it to Hermann’s colleague Robert of Chester (meaning Robert of Ketton) and interprets the date 1206 as 1168 following the Spanish era. Burnett (‘Arabic into Latin’, 131) writes: ‘An alternative explanation is that the author of the translation deliberately modelled his preface and style of signature on Hermann’s translation of the Introductorium which seems to have been associated with this translation in the MS. tradition from an early date’. At any rate, the Hijri date (‘23 die Almuharam anno Arabum 603’) does correspond to 29 August 1206, which rules out Hermann’s or Robert’s authorship.

Bibl.

C. H. Haskins, Studies in the History of Mediaeval Science, Cambridge, 1927 (2nd ed.), 110-111; F. J. Carmody, Arabic Astronomical and Astrological Sciences in Latin Translation. A Critical Bibliography, Berkeley-Los Angeles, 1956, 18 (no. 10b); R. Lemay, Abu Ma‘shar and Latin Aristotelianism in the Twelfth Century. The Recovery of Aristotle’s Natural Philosophy through Arabic Astrology, Beirut, 1962, 19-20 n. 4; C. Burnett, ‘Arabic into Latin in Twelfth Century Spain: The Works of Hermann of Carinthia’, Mittellateinisches Jahrbuch 13 (1978), 100-134: 130-132; R. Lemay, Abū Ma‘šar al-Balḫī [Albumasar]: Liber introductorii maioris ad scientiam judiciorum astrorum, Napoli, 1995-1996, VII, 34-37 and 107-109; R. Lemay, Le Kitāb at-Tamara (Liber fructus, Centiloquium) d’Abū Ja’far Aḥmad ibn Yūsuf [Ps.-Ptolémée], New York, 1999, I, 378-380; D. Juste, ‘The Impact of Arabic Sources on European Astrology: Some Facts and Numbers’, Micrologus 24 (2016), 173-194: 186-187 (no. 9).

Ed.

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MSS