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Ptolemaeus

Arabus et Latinus

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Work C.2.11.1

Anonymous
Greek Commentary on the Tetrabiblos (tr. Giorgio Valla)

Text

‘(ed. Venice 1502) Georgii Vallae Placentini In Ptolemaei ad Syrum Apotelesmata commentarium. (Aiir) [preface] Ptolemaeus mathematicorum omnium facile princeps ut quidam scripsere Adriani vixit temporibus ad Antoniumque — historicusque non invenustus. (Aiir-Ciiv) [book i] Exordium igitur in hoc opere sibi assumit Ptolemaeus in illos qui astronomiam artem — significat refrigerationem impedimentumque coitus. (Ciiv-Diiir) [book ii] Georgii Vallae Placentini Enarratio in Ptolemaei Apotelesmatum volumen secundum distributiones universalis considerationis. Maxime praecipua cunctorum in tabulis expositorum cuncta introductoria praecepta — dicere ad illaque te remittendo concludit orationem. (Diiir-Fiiiv) [book iii] Georgii Vallae Placentini Commentatio in tertium Ptolemaei Apotelesmaton librum delectu eorum quae praecessere universalia. Componit sese in tertii libri exordio ad demonstrandum ordinem et iteratam commemorationem ex divisione dictorum — et si prius dictum ob celerem mobilitatem omnium quae diximus causa efficitur. (Fiiiv-[Giv]r) [book iv] Georgii Vallae Placentini in quartum volumen Ptolemaei Apotelesmaton commentarium. Cum ea quae genesim praecedunt absolverit tertiumque volumen non simpliciter neque ut casus tulit imposuit finem — ex eo quod infertur ex ablatione ascensionum rectae sphaerae capitulo 16 omnium centrorum habebimus primordia.’

Origin

Translated by Giorgio Valla (1447-1500), professor of Greek and Latin in Pavia (1466-1485) and Venice (1485-1500). In the unique extant witness (ed Venice 1502), the text is presented as Valla’s own commentary, something which irritated Cardano who knew the Greek text and accused Valla of appropriating the commentary for himself (cf. In Ptolemaei librorum de iudiciis astrorum commentaria (C.2.24), Prooemium expositoris, ed. Basel 1554, sig. 2: ‘Mirum est autem quod a tam paucis tam celebris utilisque liber [i.e., the Tetrabiblos] sit expositus, ut vix praeter authorem ignotum qui Graece scripsit, quenque Georgius Valla vertit impudenter illius commentaria sane satis frigida sibi ascribens, quae Emarus Ranconetus nobis largitus est, apud quem etiam Graecus codex, ut vidi, extabat, et Haly Heben Rodoan Arabem alium sciam qui prodierit in lucem tanto authore dignus’). The same accusation was repeated by the publisher of the editio princeps of the Greek text (cf. Basel 1559, sig a2r: ‘Nuper etiam cum in commentationes in Cl<audii> Ptolemaei Quadripartitum Venetiis anno 1502 editas et Georgio Vallae inscriptas incidissem, vehementer fui exhilarates. Nam a tanto viro nihil non eximium expectabam. Sed cum paulum progressus fuissem legendo, facile deprehendi id opus et Vallae falso esse inscriptum et ab ipso haudquaquam emendatum, sed e Graeco transcriptum duntaxat esse’). It should be noted, however, that the text was published posthumously by Valla’s son, Giampietro Valla, who may as well be responsible for the attribution of the commentary to his father. The Greek MS used by Valla has been identified as Modena, BEU, α.T.9.6 (Gr. 40) (Caballero-Sánchez). My thanks to Craig Martin for drawing my attention to Cardano’s passage.

Bibl.

J. L. Heiberg, Beiträge zur Geschichte Georg Valla’s und seiner Bibliothek, Leipzig, 1896, 38-39; R. Caballero-Sánchez, ‘Historia del texto del Comentario Anόnimo al Tetrabiblos de Tolomeo’, MHNH 13 (2013), 77-198: 83-84 and 134-135.

EDS