Project icon: lavishly furnished initial letter with a painting of Ptolemy using an astrolab.

Ptolemaeus Arabus et Latinus

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Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, lat. 16200

s. XIIIin (completed in December 1213), with glosses by at least two hands, the first of which copied the Almagesti minor c. 1246-1247 (see below).


copied on an exemplar of St Victor of Paris (f. IIv: ‘Liber iste fuit scriptus et perfectus ad exemplar beati Victoris Pariensis anno domini M°CC°XIII, mense Decembri’ – the date was corrected into ‘M°CC°LXIII’ by a later hand, see Samaran/Marichal). This exemplar might be Paris, BnF, lat. 14738 (see).


Peter of Limoges (the second glossator), who heavily glossed and foliated the MS; college of Sorbonne before 1338 (f. 192r: ‘Iste liber est pauperum magistrorum in domo de Sourbona commorantium, precii VIII lib<rarum>’, which corresponds to no. 52 of the catalogue of 1338, see Delisle, Le cabinet…). Also on f. 192r, but in a different hand: ‘Maistre Johan de Corte. VI lib<rarum>, die intrante Iulio, videlicet kal. Iunii (!)’.

Parchment, II+192 f., a single very neat hand, deluxe MS with superb painted initial representing Ptolemy as a crowned king (f. 1r) and numerous richly decorated initials throughout. The initial on f. 1r was produced by the Parisian illuminator known as the ‘Almagest Master’ (see R. Branner, Manuscript Painting in Paris During the Reign of Saint-Louis. A Study of Styles, Berkeley-Los Angeles-London, 1977, 27-48).

Ptolemaica (single text), except for glosses and added material, including a diagram with mathematical notes in a 13th- or 14th-c. hand (Iv) and the early glossator’s lengthy note ‘Notandum quod Tholomeus ille duos libros de astronomia composuit, scilicet istum quem etiam de motibus stellarum, et alium quem varium (?) Alarbe 4…’ (IIv). Blank: Ir, IIr, 192v.


L. Delisle, Inventaire des manuscrits de la Sorbonne conservés à la Bibliothèque Impériale sous les numéros 15176-16718 du fonds latin, Paris, 1870, 46; L. Delisle, Le cabinet des manuscrits de la Bibliothèque Nationale, III, Paris, 1881, 68 (no. 52), 298; C. Samaran, R. Marichal, Catalogue des manuscrits en écriture latine portant des indications de date, de lieu ou de copiste, III: Bibliothèque Nationale, fonds latin (Nos 8001 à 18613), Paris, 1974, 513; P. O. Kristeller, Iter Italicum, III, London-Leiden, 1983, 238; P. Kunitzsch, Der Sternkatalog des Almagest. Die arabisch-mittelalterliche Tradition, II, Wiesbaden, 1990, 12; D. Jacquart, ‘Les manuscrits des traductions de Gérard de Crémone: quelques caractéristiques formelles’, in Les traducteurs au travail. Leurs manuscrits et leurs méthodes, ed. J. Hamesse, Turnhout, 2001, 207-220: 216-219; D. Jacquart, ‘Les sciences dans la bibliothèque de Saint-Victor’, in L’école de Saint-Victor de Paris. Influence et rayonnement du Moyen Âge à l’Époque moderne, ed. D. Poirel, Turnhout, 2010, 197-225: 205-206; H. Zepeda, The First Latin Treatise on Ptolemy’s Astronomy: The Almagesti minor (c. 1200), Turnhout, 2018, 62-64.


‘Quidam princeps nomine Albuguafe in libro suo quem scientiarum electionem et verborum nominavit… (1va) Bonum scire fuit quod sapientibus non deviantibus visum est — abbreviationem, arrogantiam et collaudationem, tunc iam sequitur et honestum est ut ponamus hic finem libro. Expleta est dictio XIIIa libri Ptolomei et cum ea conpletur liber Almagesti de disciplinalibus. Laus Deo. Amen.’

= Ptolemy, Almagesti (tr. Gerard of Cremona) (A.1.2), Class A. Translator’s preface, 1ra-1va; I, 1va-15ra; II, 15ra-35rb; III, 35rb-46vb; IV, 46vb-63vb; V, 64ra-80va; VI, 80va-97v; VII, 98ra-112r; VIII, 112v-125rb; IX, 125rb-141va; X, 141va-152ra; XI, 152ra-166vb; XII, 166vb-178r; XIII, 178va-191vb. Numbers are given in Roman numerals. Corrections by the scribe and substantial glosses by two 13th-c. hands. The first glossator, who heavily glossed the whole MS and is also responsible for the note f. IIv and for the second Ptolemaic section (below), said that he read the book in 1246 (f. 1r) and left calculations for the year 1247 twice on f. 45v (these calculations are very similar to those for 1246 in MS Paris, BnF, lat. 14738, f. 46r). The second glossator is Peter of Limoges, who glossed mainly, though not only, the first six books and harshly criticised the first glossator (cf. f. 20v: ‘Quicquid dicat iste cecus glosator… Noli verbis seu glosis eius attendere si non vis errare’, f. 56v: ‘Nota quod quicquid dicat iste trufatorius glosator…’ or f. 182r: ‘Quicquid dicat hec nocibilia (?) scripta…’). Peter also refers to his own glosses to the Almagesti minor in Vatican, BAV, Reg. lat. 1261 (see), where he refers in turn to the present copy of the Almagest, so going ‘back and forth between these two manuscripts’ (Zepeda, 64).


‘Formam celi spericam esse. Motus celi circularem circa terram undique… (6ra) Data circuli diametro latera decagoni…’

= Almagesti minor (C.1.4), as glosses to the Almagest by the first glossator (see above). The text is loosely copied and includes many small changes, omissions and additions, as well as a different preface (ed. Zepeda, 609).