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Ptolemaeus Arabus et Latinus

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Work C.4.6

Commentary on Pseudo-Ptolemy's Iudicia

This anonymous commentary on Pseudo-Ptolemy’s Iudicia (B.3) was composed c. 1138. In MS London, BL, Cott. App. VI, it immediately follows Pseudo-Ptolemy’s Iudicia (f. 8rb-20va), here ascribed to Aristotle (‘Liber iste est Aristotelis in scientia ipsius astronomie’), which explains the attribution to Aristotle in the explicit of the commentary. The year 1138 is taken as example for an astronomical calculation (f. 21va). The St Petersburg MS contains only the first two chapters of the preface and its text differs quite significantly from that of the London MS. This fragmentary preface is however undoubtedly connected to the present commentary, for, in a passage omitted in the London MS, the author speaks of Ptolemy’s love for his son (‘Sciendum est tamen Ptholomeum habuisse quendam filium quem non modice diligebat’, opening of the second chapter of the preface, f. 171vb), something which makes sense only in connection to the Iudicia, purportedly written by Ptolemy for his son Ariston, as also recalled in the opening of the commentary (‘filium unius instruens Aristonem’, London MS, f. 23vb). The beginning of the preface is also found in MS Cambridge, Fitzwilliam Museum, McClean 165, s. XII, f. 48r, and in Dominicus Gundissalinus’s De divisione philosophiae (see Burnett), but these bear no obvious connections to the Iudicia.


‘(London, BL, Cotton Appendix VI) Incipit commentum super premissa, scilicet predictum librum. (20va-23vb) [preface] Artem artium, scilicet astronomiam, agredientibus dicendum est primo quid sit ipsa diffinitione, quid sit eius genus, que eius materia — et sciendum est idem esse dictum de Venere si in hac figura subiciatur. (23vb-29rb) [text] Expositio ad litteram superioris tractatus. Ptolomeus, summus philosophus et excellentissimus Egyptiorum rex, necnon fide unitatis minutus (?), filium unius instruens Aristonem, cuius causa hoc opus incepit, ad litteram huius artis accedens, hanc divisionem facit. Signorum alia sunt masculina et alia feminina etc. Hec vero divisio potest vocari naturalis et artificialis — tam bonas quam malas querat. Hic terminatur astronomia Aristotelis cum expositione eius.’


C. Burnett, ‘A New Source for Dominicus Gundissalinus’s Account of the Science of the Stars?’, Annals of Science 47 (1990), 361-374: 364; D. Juste, ‘Les textes astrologiques latins attribués à Aristote’, Micrologus 21 (2013), 145-164: 152 n. 19; C. P. E. Nothaft, Walcher of Malvern, De lunationibus and De Dracone. Study, Edition, Translation, and Commentary, Turnhout, 2017, 66.


The first chapter of the preface is edited by Burnett, 367-368 (from MSS London, BL, Cotton Appendix VI and Cambridge, FM, McClean 165) and 368-369 (from MS St Petersburg, BAN, F. 8).