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Ptolemaeus Arabus et Latinus

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Work B.2

Pseudo-Ptolemy
Archanum magni Dei de reductione geomancie

Text

‘(Paris, BnF, lat. 15353) Incipit archanum magni Dei revelatum Tholomeo regi Arabum de reductione geomancie. Et hoc presens opus possunt ad orbem cognosci — et alie sunt fallaces. Explicit. Honor virtus est gloria potestas… Translatio magistri Bernardi de Gordonio phisici regnante Bonifacio papa et Adulpho electo in imperatorem et Philippo rege Francie filio quondam Philippi regis Francie et Iacobo rege Maioricarum et Berengario episcopo Magalonensi et Audoardo rege Anglorum et anno XIIIo lecture nostre in phisica in Montepessulano et anno domini MoCCo nonag<inta> quinto die Iovis ante Natale.’

Content

Geomancy.

Origin

Translated by Bernard of Gordon, professor of medicine in Montpellier, on 22 December 1295. Demaitre, 44, notes: ‘We may assume that Bernard made this Latin translation from Provençal, since there is no evidence that he was familiar with any other language’. The original text was written, possibly in Spanish, for the king of Castile (‘Queritur de nomine et vita et statu et regno et tota disposicione regis Castelle usque ad finem vite sue’, MS Paris, BnF, lat. 15353, f. 87r). In a compilation on interrogations extant in MS Montreal, McGill Univ., Bibl. Osleriana, 7513, s. XV, f. 5r-5v, we read: ‘Scire debes quod ad preces serenissimi atque illustrissimi principis regis Castelle atque totius Andaluzie fuit factus quidam novus tractatus pratice iudicialis astronomie per astrologos tunc existentes et fuit intitulatus Archanum magnum Dei. Nam per illum tractatum possunt agnosci exquisite prescientia preterita et futura in omni eo quod radicaliter potest procedere a voluntate hominis in tantum quantum (?) se potest extendere virtus orbis.’

Bibl.

L. Thorndike, ‘Alfodhol and Almadel: Hitherto Unnoted Mediaeval Books of Magic in Florentine Manuscripts’, Speculum 2 (1927), 326-331: 329-330; F. J. Carmody, Arabic Astronomical and Astrological Sciences in Latin Translation. A Critical Bibliography, Berkeley-Los Angeles, 1956, 20 (no. 24); T. Charmasson, Recherches sur une technique divinatoire: la géomancie dans l’Occident médiéval, Geneva-Paris, 1980, 217-220 and 290; L. E. Demaitre, Doctor Bernard de Gordon: Professor and Practictioner, Toronto, 1980, 43-46; D. Jacquart, ‘Bernard de Gordon et l’astrologie’, Centaurus 45 (2003), 151-158: 152.

Ed.

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MSS