Ptolemaeus Arabus et Latinus

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London, British Library, Delhi Arabic 1623

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

completed at the ‘fifth hour’ on Sunday, 17 Rabīʿ al-thānī 〈90〉4/2 December 1498 (250v); 1128/1716 (Stocks and Baker, not confirmed).


unknown; unknown scribe.


a reader’s (?) note presumably dated 〈90〉6/1500-1 (immediately following the colophon, 250v). A central round seal ‘Mīrzā (?) Qādī Ridāʾ, Khādim-i sharīʿat-i Muḥammad’ dated 1141/1728-9 (stamped vertically, 1r). Several old inventory notes with rectangular seals (partially damaged) by at least three different librarians: one by ʿImād … dated 1281/1864-5 in the upper left corner of the seal (1r, center), the others by Muḥammad Naṣir ʿAlīkhān (1r, top right) and Kā… Khān (1r, lower center), both undated. The manuscript was previously part of the Mughal Imperial Library and was acquired by the Government of India in 1859 (stamp ‘DELHI MSS’ on f. 1r). The codex was then transferred to Calcutta, where it was intended for the Indian Museum, but was instead included in the India Office Library in London in 1876 (cf. British Library collection guide: Old shelfmark: ‘Astronomy No. 3’ (front cover).

Cod.: thin paper, I+250 ff. (foliation with Arabic-European numerals stamped in the upper left corner of each recto after the codex was (re)bound; a second, generally identical foliation with Hindu-Arabic numerals by the scribe, also in the upper left corners but occasionally trimmed; ff. 41-47 probably foliated by yet another hand; catchwords in the hand of the scribe). A clear naskh hand with tendency to nastaʿlīq; carefully dotted ductus, at times with vowel marks, no final hamzas or shaddas. Undotted abjad notation in the main text in red ink or with red overlines. Chapter titles as well as paragraph beginnings rubricated; occasional rubricated corrections (e.g., 13r, 19v) and textual dividers in the form of red overlines (e.g., 3r, 25r). No diagrams or horoscopes, spaces reserved for two of the three horoscopes usually found in this work (214r, 216v). Minor water stains, not affecting the readability; severe damage by insects, wormholes throughout the codex, at times affecting the readability; restorations with pasted paper slips, mostly in the fold. Several pages are loose, and a bifolium (originally ff. 148r–149v) is incorrectly inserted after f. 162v (cf. catchwords and the Hindu-Arabic foliation). Dimensions: not provided; mostly 23 lines per page. Bound in a plain brown leather binding with faded frames; the spine is broken and the covers are loose. Type III binding.

Cont.: astrology. — Index: a table of contents in Persian with folio numbers for all chapter beginnings of the Tetrabiblos (Iv, upside down); Ptolemaica (1v–250v).

Bibl.: Peter Stocks and Colin F. Baker, Subject-Guide to the Arabic Manuscripts in the British Library, London: The British Library, 2001, p. 351. British Library Archives and Manuscripts:


\1v\ 〈…〉 قال أبو الحسن علي بن رضوان بن جعفر المتطبّب قصدا (كذا) أن نشرح أقاويل الحكيم بطلميوس في صناعة القضاء بالنجوم على الحوادث فنقول إنّ القضاء النجوم على الحوادث صناعة تنبئ عن مبادئ صادقة بالمتكوّنات المزمعة وذلك أنّ مبادئها الصادقة هي أشياء تبيّن بعضها في العلم الطبيعيّ وبعضها في العلم التعليميّ. — \250v\ فهذه الأشياء قد شرّحتها لك فأنعم النظر فيها وتأمّلها والله يهدي من يشاء إلى صراط مستقيم.

= ʿAlī ibn Riḍwān, Tafsīr al-Maqālāt al-arbaʿ (C.2.3)

. — Title: Sharḥ (Arbaʿ) maqālāt, Baṭlamyūs Ḥakīm (labels on front cover, 1r). — Index: Book I.1, 1v–24r; I.2, 24r–49r; I.3, 49r–68r; II.1, 68v–90r; II.2, 90r–114r; II.3, 114r–130v; III.1, 130v–149v, 163r–164v; III.2, 149v–174r (without 163r–164v); III.3, 174r–199v; IV.1, 199v–218v; IV.2, 218v–239r; IV.3, 239r–250v. — Wrong title (‘al-maqāla al-rābiʿ’) for Chapter III.3. Authorial colophon and dated scribal colophon. Letter fāʾ (for fāʾida) in the margins highlighting some sections of the text (e.g., 44v, 116v, 119v). Several marginal annotations and corrections indicated by siglum , apparently in the scribe’s hand.