Ptolemaeus Arabus et Latinus

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Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, lat. 16204

s. XIII2 (third quarter acc. Stefan Georges, private communication, and François Avril, in his ‘fiche bibliographique’ devoted to the MS ( The reference ‘1264, 7 Decembris’, found in a gloss p. 186 (bottom), is to the great conjunction of 1265, which is correctly dated in another gloss on the same page (but in different ink) ‘anni 663 perfecti, mensis unus, dies 27, hore 2, minuta 32, secunda 30’ = 7 December 1265, so making ‘1264’ a mistake in copying or conversion. This reference, however, is of little help in dating the MS, for the glossator proceeds with calculations of the positions of Jupiter and Saturn for the following conjunction of 683 = 1285, implying that he was at work between 1265 and 1285, and even possibly after 1285 if he made restrospective calculations.


northern France, probably Paris (Stefan Georges).


the MS was glossed by John of Murs (Miolo, Le fonds scientifique, I, 674-675); college of Sorbonne before 1338. The MS is generally dated to the first half of the 13th c. and believed to have been commissioned, or at least owned, by Richard of Fournival, but evidence for this is missing. This hypothesis was first put forward by Pingree, who noted that the main part of the MS (pp. 1-552) ‘was copied by a scribe whose hand is identical or at least very similar to that of one employed by Richard of Fournival’, i.e., MS Paris, BnF, lat. 6602, f. 48r- (Pingree, ‘The Diffusion’, 83 and n. 88). Upon examination, however, these two hands are different. It is also noticeable that this MS does not bear the Sorbonne ex-libris characteristic of Richard’s MSS which entered the library in 1272 through Gerard of Abbeville’s bequest. On all this, see also Haynes.

Parchment, 584 pp., two very neat hands (1-552 and 553-584), splendidly executed MS with painted initials and numerous decorated initials throughout.

Astrology: Albumasar, Introductorium maius, tr. John of Seville (1a-183a); Albumasar, De magnis coniunctionibus (183b-302b); Albumasar, De revolutionibus annorum mundi (302b-333b); Albumasar, Flores (333b-353b); Albumasar, De revolutione annorum nativitatum (353b-369b); Alkindi, De mutatione temporum (371a-386a); Jafar, De pluviis et ventis (386a-387b); Messahallah, Epistola de rebus eclipsium (387b-391b); Messahallah, De revolutionibus annorum mundi (391b-404a); Messahallah, Liber receptionis (404a-422b); Messahallah, De cogitatione (422b-424a); Messahallah, Liber interpretationum (424a-428a); ‘Capitulum de scientia locorum si aliquid fuerit in eis aut non. Cum hoc volueris accipe altitudinem…’ (428a-428b); Gergis, De significatione septem planetarum in domibus (428b-432b); Zael, Liber iudiciorum (433a-500a); Thetel, Liber sigillorum (500a-505a); Azareus, De lapidibus (505a-507a); Haly Embrani, De electionibus horarum (507a-534b); Thebit Bencora, De imaginibus (534b-539b); Ptolemaica (539b-543a and 543a-548a); Capitula Almansoris (548a-552b); Ptolemaica (553a-584b). Blank: 370. The MS once contained Aomar’s De nativitatibus and Albohali’s De nativitatibus after p. 370 (see Juste).

Bibl. L. Delisle, Inventaire des manuscrits de la Sorbonne conservés à la Bibliothèque Impériale sous les numéros 15176-16718 du fonds latin, Paris, 1870, 46-47; L. Thorndike, ‘Notes on Some Astronomical, Astrological and Mathematical Manuscripts of the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris’, Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 20 (1957), 112-172: 150-151; P. O. Kristeller, Iter Italicum, III, London-Leiden, 1983, 238; D. Pingree, ‘The Diffusion of Arabic Magical Texts in Western Europe’, in La diffusione delle scienze islamiche nel Medio Evo Europeo (Roma, 2-4 ottobre 1984), Roma, 1987, 57-102: 81-87 and 100-102; R. Lemay, Abū Maʿšar al-Balḫī [Albumasar]: Liber introductorii maioris ad scientiam judiciorum astrorum, Napoli, 1995-1996, IV, 6-26; R. Lemay, Le Kitāb aṯ-Ṯamara (Liber fructus, Centiloquium) d’Abū Jaʿfar Aḥmad ibn Yūsuf [Ps.-Ptolémée], 1999 [unpublished], I, 352-372; B. Roy, ‘Richard de Fournival, auteur du Speculum astronomiae?’, Archives d’Histoire Doctrinale et Littéraire du Moyen Age 67 (2000), 159-180: 178-179; D. Juste, Catalogus Codicum Astrologorum Latinorum, II: Les manuscrits astrologiques latins conservés à la Bibliothèque nationale de France à Paris, Paris, 2015, 228-233; L. Miolo, Le fonds scientifique d’un collège de théologie: le cas de la bibliothèque de Sorbonne 1257-1500, PhD dissertation, Université Lumières Lyon 2, 2017, I, 370-380, 674-675 and passim; G. Bohak, C. Burnett, Thābit ibn Qurra On Talismans and Ps.-Ptolemy On Images 1-9, Together with the Liber prestigiorum Thebidis of Adelard of Bath, Firenze, 2021, 88-89; J. Haynes, ‘Roger Bacon and the Pseudo-Ovidian De vetula’, The Journal of Medieval Latin 32 (2022), 21-63: 28 n. 35.


‘Liber Ptholomei de ymaginibus super facies signorum. Opus ymaginum Ptholomei et est omnibus modis propior et veracior in probatione, quoniam eius effectus constitutus est super facies signorum 12. Dixit Alburabeth Benfeliz quia omnes orientales operabantur per has ymagines — et impetrabis a Deo quod animus tuus desiderat. Explicit liber Ptholomei de ymaginibus super facies signorum.’


‘Hic est liber quem edidit Ptholomeus Phludensis in quo continentur C verba ex electissimis sententiis iudiciorum astrorum et est expositio ex commentario Hali medici magni. Verbum primum. Mundanorum ad oc (!) et ad illud mutatio celestium corporum — ex aliqua civitatum eiusdem climatis.’


‘Hic est liber quem edidit Ptholomeus Phludensis in quo continentur C verba electissimis sententiis iudiciorum astrorum et est expositio ex commentario Hali medici magni. Verbum primum. Mundanorum ad hoc et ad illud mutatio celestium corporum mutatione causas rerum rimaturus primo celestia contemplare. Scientia namque astrorum ex te et illis est. Dixit Ptholomeus, mundanorum etc, premittens quasi fundamentum totius scientie iudiciorum astrorum… Quod autem dixit Ptholomeus, ex te et illis, significat quod res futuras prenoscere desiderat… (553b) Verbum secundum (!). Et non oportet peritum illorum iudicare secundum formam… Hoc quod dixit Ptho<lome>us, astrologus non debet dicere rem specialiter sed universaliter… (569b-570a) Dixerunt Pth<olome>us et Hermes quod Lune locus in hora… et hoc expertus fuit multociens — civitatum eiusdem climatis. Explicit liber centum verborum Ptholomei… et quanto melius quivimus exposuimus. Explicit expositio ex commentario Haly medici.’

= Abuiafar Hamet filii Joseph, 〈Commentum in Centiloquium〉 (‘Mundanorum’ version) (C.3.1.3)

. V. 1 is spread over two verba (1 and 2) and, consequently, v. 2 is called ‘verbum tercium’ etc., up to v. 97 and 98, which are both labelled ‘98’ (there are further irregularities in verba numbers). The text includes Pseudo-Ptolemy’s Dixerunt Ptholomeus et Hermes quod locus Lune… (B.5) after the commentary of v. 51 on pp. 569b-570a (see below). No glosses. A couple of corrections by the scribe or a similar hand pp. 554 and 555.


‘Dixerunt Pth<olome>us et Hermes quod Lune locus in hora et hoc expertus fuit multociens.’

= Pseudo-Ptolemy, Dixerunt Ptolemeus et Hermes quod locus Lune... (B.5)

, inserted after v. 51 in the Centiloquium above. No glosses.