Ptolemaeus Arabus et Latinus

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First PAL volume now published!

The First Latin Treatise on Ptolemy’s Astronomy: The Almagesti minor (c. 1200)

by Henry Zepeda

The Almagesti minor is one of the most important works of medieval astronomy. Probably written in northern France circa 1200, it is a Latin summary of the first six books of Ptolemy’s astronomical masterpiece, the Almagest. Also known to modern scholars as the “Almagestum parvum”, the Almagesti minor provides a clear example of how a medieval scholar understood Ptolemy’s authoritative writing on cosmology, spherical astronomy, solar theory, lunar theory, and eclipses. The author incorporated the findings of astronomers of the Islamic world, such as al-Battānī, into the framework of Ptolemaic astronomy, and he altered the format and style of Ptolemy’s astronomy in order to make it accord with his own ideals of a mathematical science, which were primarily derived from Euclid’s Elements. The Almagesti minor had a profound effect upon astronomical writing throughout the 13th-15th centuries, including the work of Georg Peurbach and Johannes Regiomontanus. In this first volume of the Ptolemaeus Arabus et Latinus text series, Henry Zepeda offers not only a critical edition of this little-studied text, but also a translation into English, analysis of both the text and its geometrical figures, and a thorough study of the work’s origins, sources, and long-lasting influence.

Ptolemaeus Arabus et Latinus - Texts 1 (Turnhout, Brepols, 2018, 662 pp.)