Ptolemaeus Arabus et Latinus

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(formerly) Tehran, private collection of Fakhr al-Dīn Naṣīrī, 789

[Colour photographs of the textblock.]
Single work: Arabic. Date:

Monday, 4 Muḥarram 671/1 August 1272, from the date of completion of Book XII (120v; Kunitzsch, Der Sternkatalog, vol. III, p. 200, read the year incorrectly as 677 Hijra).


unknown, probably Persian considering the cursive hand; unknown scribe. A close comparison with a manuscript copied by Quṭb al-Dīn al-Shīrāzī (namely, MS Istanbul, Nuruosmaniye, 2941), invalidates Sezgin’s (GAS VI) assumption (adopted by Kunitzsch) that al-Shīrāzī was the copyist.


eight seals, mostly fainted (1r). Shelfmark ‘789’ (128v). In April 2018, this manuscript was offered for sale by an unknown private owner at Sotheby’s in London (‘Arts of the Islamic World’, lot 31).

Cod.: paper, 128 ff. (foliation with Arabic-European numerals in the bottom left corner of rectos; foliation with Hindu-Arabic numerals in the top left corner of rectos, repeating ‘29’ and accordingly from there on one less than the Arabic-European foliation; as the Hindu-Arabic foliation makes clear, the correct order of the wrongly bound ff. 33–36 is 36–34–35–33; quire signatures of the form tāsiʿat al-Majisṭī (f. 80r) at the top of rectos, mostly cut off because of trimming of the manuscript; no catch words). A single cursive naskh hand; occasional ligatures and prolongation of letters under the next word, the inclined stroke in letter kāf almost always missing, kasra written with a vertical stroke; ductus consistently dotted, substantial shaddas and hamzas, substantial vowels, including desinential inflections. Title in red (f. 1v); heading of Book I (f. 4r) in bold red naskh, heading of Book III (f. 30r) in black thuluth with lām-alif muḥaqqaq, chapter headings up to III.4 (f. 36v) in bold black naskh; the spaces for all other book and chapter headings were left empty (but the one for Chapter XI.1 on f. 107v was filled in by a different hand). Numbers in black and overlined (mostly in abjad notation, but also frequent use of Hindu-Arabic numerals). Substantial diagrams with lines and labels in red and geometrical points in black. Substantial tables with lines in red and headings in red and black; only two tables on ff. 68v and 88r are complete, all coordinates and magnitudes are missing from the star catalogue (ff. 69v–83r), and in all other tables only the values in the first and last rows are provided. Dimensions: 23.5×16 cm; 22 lines per page. Few moisture stains; worm-eaten throughout, with extensive restorations.

Cont.: astronomy. — Index: Ptolemaica (1v–128v). Blank: 66r.

Bibl.: This manuscript is not included in the selection of manuscripts from the Naṣīrī collection in RIMARevue de l’Institut des Manuscripts Arabes (Majalla Maʿhad al-Makhṭūṭāt al-ʿArabiyya), 58 vols, Cairo, 1955–2014, vol. III, pp. 37–55. GAS VIFuat Sezgin, Geschichte des arabischen Schrifttums. Vol. VI: Astronomie bis ca. 430 H., Leiden: Brill, 1978, p. 89; Paul Kunitzsch, Claudius Ptolemäus. Der Sternkatalog des Almagest. Die arabisch-mittelalterliche Tradition, 3 vols, Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 1986–1991, vol. II, p. 171 (Nachtrag zu vol. I, p. 4); vol. III, p. 200; Paul Kunitzsch, ‘A Hitherto Unknown Arabic Manuscript of the Almagest’, Zeitschrift für Geschichte der Arabisch-Islamischen Wissenschaften 14 (2001), pp. 31–37, here pp. 31–32; Dirk Grupe, ‘Thābit ibn Qurra’s Version of the Almagest and Its Reception in Arabic Astronomical Commentaries (based on the presentation held at the Warburg Institute, London, 5th November 2015)’, in David Juste, Benno van Dalen, Dag Nikolaus Hasse and Charles Burnett (eds), Ptolemy’s Science of the Stars in the Middle Ages, Turnhout: Brepols, 2020, pp. 139–157, here pp. 142–145.


\1v\ [title] قال بطلميوس نعم ما فعل فيما أرى الذين استقصوا علم الفلسفة يا سورس في إفرادهم جزء الفلسفة النظريّ عن العمليّ لأنه وإن كان الجزء العملي من قبل أن يكون عمليّا فهو نظري فإن ما يوجد من الخلاف منهما عظيم ليس من قبل أن الفضائل الخلقية — \127v\ ولذلك حسبنا الأبعاد من الشمس لظهورات الكواكب واختفائها إذا كانت في 〈…〉 بروج وصمّناها جدولا ليكون لنا ميسّرًا عند الحاجة. وهذا هو الجدول. في وضع جداول لظهورات الكواكب واختفائها.

= 〈Mukhtaṣar〉 al-Majisṭī (Thābit version) (C.1.34)

. — Title: Majisṭī Baṭlamyūs al-taʿālīmī fī l-taʿālīm (1v). — Additional title: Kitāb al-Majisṭī (1r). — Index: preface, 1v–2r; table of contents, 2v–4r; Book I, 4r–17v; II, 17v–29v; III, 30r–33v; IV, 33v–46r; V, 46r–56r; VI, 56r–65v; VII, 66v–83r; VIII, 83v–87r; IX, 87v–101r; X, 101r–107v; XI, 107v–115v; XII, 115v–120v; XIII, 120v–128v. — No authorial or scribal colophons; the last folio of the manuscript containing the epilogue and the colophon(s) may be missing. Few marginal additions. No glosses. Few trimmed marginal notes (for instance, on ff. 52r and 53r), which indicates that the manuscript has been resized.