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Ptolemaeus Arabus et Latinus

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Melbourne, State Library of Victoria, RARES 091 P95A (olim *f 091/P95A)

s. XIII1 (possibly early 13th c. acc. Burnett) for f. 1-173, with 14th-c. additions for f. II and 175-193.


northern Italy, perhaps Veneto (f. 1-173).


Lorenzo da Bisticci (d. 1478); Florence, convent of San Marco, by 1500; J. T. Payne c. 1830; Thomas Phillipps in 1833 (no. 6551); bought by the State Library of Victoria from the bookseller William H. Robinson in 1949.

Parchment, II+193+IIa f. The original core of the MS consisted of f. 1-173, copied in a single neat hand and richly decorated, with painted initials at the beginning of each section of the Almagest and decorated initials throughout. F. 176-193 were added by three 14th-c. Italian hands (f. 176ra-182vb, 182vb-183ra and 184ra-193vb). A further 14th-c. hand (15th c. acc. Sinclair), also Italian, added texts f. IIr-IIv and 175r, and heavily glossed both the beginning of the Almagest (f. 1r-6r, 10v and 13r-13v) and the beginning of the Theorica planetarum Gerardi (f. 175v, originally blank, and f. 176ra-177va). The glosses to the Theorica were continued by a contemporary hand f. 177vb-183v. One or several folia are missing after f. 193.

Astronomy and astrology: Campanus of Novara, De figura sectore (IIra, with diagrams IIrb); notes ‘Conclusiones Almagesti. Incipiunt conclusiones prime dictionis. Data circuli dyametro latus decagoni…’ (IIva); Ptolemaica (1ra-173va); incomplete astronomical diagram (174r); astronomical/astrological bibliography ‘Astrologia que de celestibus corporibus facit theoriam pre ceteris scientiis est necessaria…’ (175ra-175rb); Theorica planetarum Gerardi (176ra-183ra, with substantial marginal comm. starting on f. 175v, originally blank, and ending on f. 183va, also originally blank); John of Harelbeke (?), Tractatus de spera solida (184ra-187ra); Petrus de Sancto Audomaro, Semissa (187rb-189vb); Costa ben Luca, Liber de opere spere volubilis (189vb-192rb); Abraham Avenezra, Principium sapientie, tr. Pietro d’Abano, end gone (192va-193vb). Blank: I, 174v, Ia-IIa.


The ‘Conclusiones Almagesti’ f. IIva consists of nine short propositions (21 lines) related to Almagest, I.9.


K. V. Sinclair, ‘An Unnoticed Astronomical and Astrological Manuscript’, Isis 54 (1963), 396-399; K. V. Sinclair, Descriptive Catalogue of Medieval and Renaissance Western Manuscripts in Australia, Sydney, 1969, 382-386 (no. 224); B. L. Ullman, P. A. Stadter, The Public Library of Renaissance Florence: Niccolò Niccoli, Cosimo de’ Medici and the Library of San Marco, Padova, 1972, 208 and 316; F. S. Pedersen, Petri Philomenae de Dacia et Petri de S. Audomaro opera quadrivalia, København, 1983-1984, II, 657; M. M. Manion, V. F. Vines, Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in Australian Collections, London, 1984, 95-96; P. Kunitzsch, Der Sternkatalog des Almagest. Die arabisch-mittelalterliche Tradition, II, Wiesbaden, 1990, 17; C. Burnett, ‘Why Study Ptolemy’s Almagest? The Evidence of MS Melbourne, State Library of Victoria, Sinclair 224’, La Trobe Journal 81 (2008), 127-143.


‘Incipit liber Almagesti. Quidam princeps nomine Albuguafe in libro suo quem scienciarum electionem et verborum nominavit… (1va) Ecce ubi primi capituli prime dictionis initium dedit. Bonum domine hec dicit lectori fuit quod sapientibus non deviantibus visum est — (172va) per prolongationem et abreviationem, tunc iam sequitur et honestum est ut ponamus hic finem libri. Expleta est dictio tercia decima libri Ptolomei et cum ea completur liber Almagesti de disciplinalibus. Bonum, o Sure, fuit quod sapientibus non fallacibus visum est — (173ra) secundum quantitatem nostre virtutis. Bonum, Sure, hoc lectori dicit — studendo in operatione. Capitulum primum in prologo huius libri. Bonum quod fecerunt in eo quod video et illi qui prescrutati — neque consecuti sunt ex eius comprehensione quod oportet.’

= Ptolemy, Almagesti (tr. Gerard of Cremona) (A.1.2), Class B. Translator’s preface, 1ra-1va; I, 1va-13va; II, 13va-33va; III, 33va-44ra; IV, 44ra-57va; V, 57va-73vb; VI, 73vb-89v; VII, 90ra-99r; VIII, 99va-107vb; IX, 107vb-124rb; X, 124rb-134ra; XI, 134ra-149vb; XII, 149vb-161r; XIII, 161va-172va. The explicit is followed by three items: (1) chapter I.1 in al-Ḥajjāj’s version, but in a different recension, perhaps its first draft acc. Burnett, 133 (same in Cambrai, BM, 953, f. 328ra-329rb), 172va-173ra; (2) the beginning of a commentary (11 lines) on chapter I.1, on the basis of its various versions, including item 1 above, 173ra; (3) chapter I.1. in Iṣhāq’s version, 173ra-173va. Glosses by the scribe, sometimes substantial, some of which give the alternative translation from Isḥāq’s version. Very substantial glosses f. 1r-6r, 10v and 13r-13v (see above).