Ptolemaeus Arabus et Latinus

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Work C.1.1

Thebit Bencora
De hiis que indigent expositione antequam legatur Almagesti

Thābit ibn Qurra’s Tashīl al-Majisṭī (‘Simplification of the Almagest’) translated by Gerard of Cremona. This text is a short introduction to the Almagest, consisting of explanations of essential astronomical concepts. For a commentary on it, see C.1.13.

Note An alternative version is found in two manuscripts: Dijon, BM, 449 (270), f. 58va (beginning only, corresponding to §1-6 in Carmody’s edition), and Milan, BA, A. 183 inf., where the text opens ‘Incipit astrologia Thesbit Bencora super Almagesti. Tesbit Bencorat radiosa mentis speculatione astrologie…’. Burnett (‘Ṯābit ibn Qurra’) examined this version in the Dijon MS and concluded that it was a distinct translation, possibly by Hugo Sanctelliensis. However, the complete copy in the Milan MS shows that it is a variant version (a draft?) of Gerard of Cremonas’s translation, for as the text goes on, the two versions become closer and closer and virtually identical in places. It is also noticeable that in the Milan MS, the text occurs among the other treatises by Thebit in Gerard’s translation.

Text ‘(Paris, BnF, lat. 9335) Liber quem edidit Tebit filius Chore de his que indigent expositione antequam legatur Almagesti. De his que indigent expositione antequam legatur Almagesti (!). Equator diei est circulus maior qui describitur super duos polos orbis ― aut propinqui oppositioni erunt retrogradi. Expletus est liber Tebit filii Chore de his que indigent expositione antequam legatur Almagesti.’

Bibl. F. Wüstenfeld, Die Übersetzungen Arabischer Werke in das Lateinische seit dem XI. Jahrhundert, Göttingen, 1877, 65 (no. 28); M. Steinschneider, Die europäischen Übersetzungen aus dem Arabischen bis Mitte des 17. Jahrhunderts, Wien, 1904, 26 (no. 75); F. J. Carmody, Arabic Astronomical and Astrological Sciences in Latin Translation. A Critical Bibliography, Berkeley-Los Angeles, 1956, 118 (no. 2); F. J. Carmody, The Astronomical Works of Thabit B. Qurra, Berkeley-Los Angeles, 1960, 117-118; F. Sezgin, Geschichte des arabischen Schrifttums, VI: Astronomie, Leiden, 1978, 90 (no. 5a) and 169 (no. 19); R. Morelon, Thābit ibn Qurra: Œuvres d’Astronomie, Paris, 1987, xxxvii-xli; C. Burnett, ‘The Coherence of the Arabic-Latin Translation Program in Toledo in the Twelfth Century’, Science in Context 14 (2001), 249-288: 278 (no. 28) (reprinted in C. Burnett, Arabic into Latin in the Middle Ages. The Translators and their Intellectual and Social Context, Farnham-Burlington, 2009, VII); C. Burnett, ‘Ṯābit ibn Qurra the Ḥarrānian on Talismans and the Spirits of the Planets’, La Corónica 36.1 (2007), 13-40: 33-35; R. Morelon, ‘The Astronomy of Thābit ibn Qurra’, in Thabit Ibn Qurra. Science and Philosophy in Ninth-Century Baghdad, ed. R. Rashed, Berlin-New York, 2009, 601-618: 601-602.

Modern ed. Critical edition by Carmody, The Astronomical Works, 131-139 (from 21 manuscripts). The alternative version (see Note above) has been edited by Burnett, ‘Ṯābit ibn Qurra’, 34-35, from MS Dijon, BM, 449. Critical edition of the Arabic text, with a facing French translation, by Morelon, Thābit ibn Qurra, 1-17.