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Ptolemaeus Arabus et Latinus

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Work C.1.19

George of Trebizond
Expositio Magne compositionis Ptolomei

Text

‘(Basel, UB, F.V.22) [introduction] Georgii Trapezuntii ad libros Magne Ptolomei compositionis introductio. Capitulum primum de divisione omnis circuli et precipue zodiaci. Quoniam libros Ptolomei de motibus celestium, quibus nescio an quicquam altius ac rationis et scientie via certius inveniri aut fingi possit ex Greca lingua in Latinam vertimus… [text] (21r) Expositio Magne compositionis Ptolomei a Georgio Trapezunda facta incipit. Coditis huius quem exposituri gratia salvatoris sumus volumina librique xiii sunt, in quibus Ptolomeus intendit erratiacrum stellarum et fixarum motus invenire — (351r) maius inter observationes temporis spatium exigit quam vita hominis sit. Laudetur nomen tuum, qui me hoc opus in die felici salutis nostre absolvere voluisti, Christe benedicte, quod in die quam foelici tue incarnationis incoepi absolvique novem id mensibus, traductionum vero textus mensibus novem diebus 22, cuius rei testis gravissimus est, tempore pontifex summus Nicolaus V, qui volumen traducendum mense Marcii tradidit et mense Decembris anni eiusdem et librum traductum et commentarios vidit absolutos propter quos postea me destruxit, ut cedule ostendunt, per ignorantissimum Iacobum Cremonensem apposite. Deo gratias.’

Content

A full-length commentary on the Almagest. Monfasani, 672, writes: ‘The commentary is the biggest work George ever produced. Apart from the writings of Regiomontanus, it is the largest work by a humanist on mathematics in the Quattrocento.’

Origin

Written in 1451 by George of Trebizond, as he was working on the translation (A.1.4). The text, originally meant for Pope Nicholas V (as in the draft version in MS Torino, BNU, G II 36), was addressed successively to the Venetian patrician Iacopo Antonio Marcello in 1460-1462 (Oxford, BL, Laud. Lat. 111), to Mehmed II in 1466 (Vatican, BAV, Vat. lat. 971) and to Matthias Corvinus in 1467-1468 (St Petersburg, BAN, IV-1-935 and Stuttgart, WL, Math. fol. 24). After George’s death, his son, Andreas, dedicated the text to Pope Sixtus IV in 1480-1481 (Lund, UB, Klass. förf. and Vatican, BAV, Vat. lat. 2058). The text was never printed.

Bibl.

W. Norlind, ‘Georgius Trapezuntius och hans Almagest-kommentar’, Nordisk Tidskrift för Bok-ich-Bibliothesväsen 53 (1966), 19-24; P. L. Rose, The Italian Renaissance of Mathematics. Studies on Humanists and Mathematicians from Petrarch to Galileo, Geneva, 1975, 41-42; J. Monfasani, Collectanea Trapezuntiana: Texts, Documents, and Bibliographies of George of Trebizond, Binghamton (NY), 1984, 671-687 (and 248, 285, 322 786-789 for the prefaces); H. Zepeda, The Medieval Latin Transmission of the Menelaus Theorem, PhD Dissertation, University of Oklahoma at Norman, 2013, 329-334; M. Shank, ‘The Almagest, Politics, and Apocalypticism in the Conflict between George of Trebizond and Cardinal Bessarion’, Almagest 8 (2017), pp. 49-83.

Ed.

None, except for several excerpts edited by Monfasani, 679-687, and for the various prefaces, edited by Monfasani, 248-251 (to Iacopo Antonio Marcello), 286-287 (to Matthias Corvinus), 322-325 (preface to the reader from Torino, BNU, G.II.36) and 796-804 (Andreas of Trebizond to Sixtus IV). Andreas of Trebizond’s preface to Sixtus IV had already been edited by M. Fuiano, ‘Astrologia ed umanesimo in due prefazioni di Andrea di Trebizonda’, Atti dell’Accademia Pontaniana, Nuova Serie 17 (1968), 385-412: 405-412.

MSS

Latin commentaries