Ptolemaeus Arabus et Latinus

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Vatican, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Barb. lat. 182

s. XV (perhaps ‘1452’, written in the top margin of f. 1r, but this need not be a date; added horoscope for 17 July 1456 on f. 1v – the date is noted in the central panel and the horoscope was cast for one 17 July (Sun at 2° Leo), but the other planetary positions are wrong for 1456 and do not lead to any other recognisable date).


northern Italy, probably Florence.


Filippo di Cenni d’Aiuto, professor of medicine at the University of Florence (cf. f. 2vb: ‘Magistri Filippi Cennii de Florentis’); Carlo Strozzi (d. 1671), cf. f. 3r: ‘Caroli Strozzae Thomae filii 1635’; Cardinal Francesco Barberini (1597-1679).

Paper and parchment, 138 f. The MS originally consisted of five texts copied by a neat hand (f. 3r-99r, 103r-124r, 125r-133ra), with painted initial on f. 3r. Later on, a second, rather careless, hand glossed the MS and added numerous texts and notes in the margins of f. 103r-110v and 132r-133r, and on pages which had been left blank (f. 1r-2v, 99v-102v, 124v, 133v-139r). It cannot be ruled out, however, that both hands belong to one and the same scribe, for both sign in a similar fashion, e.g. ‘Omnipotenti gratiarum actiones referendo’ (first hand, f. 99rb) and ‘Deo omnipotenti gratias’ (second hand, f. 100rb).

Astronomy and astrology: the five original texts included Ptolemaica (3ra-99rb); Campanus of Novara, Theorica planetarum (103ra-119va); Theorica planetarum Gerardi (119va-124rb); Haly Embrani, De electionibus horarum (125ra-132ra); and Gergis, De significatione septem planetarum in domibus (132rb-133ra). The added texts and notes include, among others, a set of sortes at least partly related to the Prognostica Socratis Basilei (1ra-2v); excerpts from Thebit Bencora’s De imaginibus (99va-99vb) and of Pseudo-Albertus Magnus’s Speculum astronomie (100va-101rb); Ptolemaica (101rb-101vb); excerpts from Alcabitius’s Introductorius (102ra-102vb); Alkindi (?), Saturnus in Ariete sub radiis… (132rb-133rb); Astronomia Ypocratis (133rb-133vb); Albumasar, Flores (136rb-137rb); Capitula Almansoris (137va-138rb); and Zael, Quinquaginta precepta (138rb-138va).

Bibl. Inventarium codicum manuscriptorum Bibliothecae Barberinae (handwritten catalogue), I, 259-260; T. Silverstein, Medieval Latin Scientific Writings in the Barberini Collection, Chicago, 1957, 57-60; P. O. Kristeller, Iter Italicum, II, London-Leiden, 1977, 443; P. Kunitzsch, Der Sternkatalog des Almagest. Die arabisch-mittelalterliche Tradition, II, Wiesbaden, 1990, 22; P. O. Kristeller, Iter Italicum, VI, London-Leiden, 1992, 388; S. Georges, Glosses as a Source for the History of Science. The Case of Gerard of Cremona’s Translation of Ptolemy’s Almagest (forthcoming).


‘Prologus primus in Almagesto Ptholomei Pheludensis. Quidam princeps nomine Albuguafe in libro suo quem scientiarum electionem et verborum nominavit… (3rb) Capitulum primum in quo huius scientie ad alias excellentiam et finis eius utilitatis dicit. Bonum fuit scire quod sapientibus non deviantibus visum est — abbreviationem, arrogantiam et collaudationem, tunc iam sequitur et honestum est ut ponamus hic finem libro. Deo laus. Expleta est dictio XIIIa libri Ptholomei et cum ea completur liber Almagesti de disciplinalibus. Omnipotenti gratiarum actiones referendo.’

= Ptolemy, Almagesti (tr. Gerard of Cremona) (A.1.2)

, Class A. Preface, 3ra-3rb; I, 3rb-10vb; II, 10vb-22ra; III, 22ra-28rb; IV, 28va-37rb; V, 37rb-46ra; VI, 46ra-54rb; VII, 55ra-57vb; VIII, 62ra-64rb; IX, 64rb-73ra; X, 73ra-78rb; XI, 78rb-86ra; XII, 86ra-92ra; XIII, 92ra-99rb. F. 58-61, meant to contain the star catalogue, have been left blank. A few short marginal notes by the second hand, especially f. 3r-5v.


‘Ysagoge Tebit in astrologiam. Equator diei est circulus maior qui describitur (?) super duos polos ― aut propinqui oppositioni erunt retrogradi. Tebit finit introductorius necessarius ad expositionem Almagesti antequam legatur.’

= Thebit Bencora, De hiis que indigent expositione antequam legatur Almagesti (C.1.1)

. Two short notes by the scribe in the margin of f. 101v.