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.


An alternative version is found in two manuscripts: Dijon, BM, 449 (270) (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.


‘(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.’


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.


Berlin, SBPK, lat. fol. 610, s. XIII, f. 93v-97v

Bernkastel-Kues, CSB, 215, s. XIV, f. 99ra-101rb

Cambridge, GCC, 174 (95), s. XIV, pp. 53b-55b

Cambridge, UL, Ii 3.3 (1767), s. XIII-XIV, f. 90r-93r

Cracow, BJ, 619, s. XIV-XV, f. 4r-7r

Cracow, BJ, 1924, s. XIII, pp. 3a-4a

Cracow, BJ, 1924, s. XIII, p. 202a

Cracow, BJ, 1970, s. XIV, f. 37v-42v

Dijon, BM, 449 (270), s. XV, f. 15va-16va

Dijon, BM, 449 (270), s. XV, f. 58va

Dresden, SLUB, Db. 86, s. XIII, f. 222r-224r

Dublin, TC, 441, s. XIV, f. 112r-115r

Eger, FK, U2 VI 1, s. XV, f. 110r-114r

Escorial, RBMSL, O.II.10, s. XIII-XIV, f. 84v-88r

Florence, BML, Plut. 18 sin. 3, s. XIV, f. 106va-111va

Florence, BML, Plut. 18 sin. 6, s. XIV, f. 85ra-89va

Florence, BNC, II.III.24, s. XIV, f. 219va-221va

Glasgow, UL, Hunterian Museum 461, s. XIV-XV, f. 31v-34r

London, BL, Arundel 268, s. XIV, f. 63va-65va

London, BL, Harley 1, s. XIII, f. 16r-17r

London, BL, Harley 13, s. XIII-XIV, f. 119va-122rb

London, BL, Harley 3647, s. XIII-XIV, f. 91va-94va

Milan, BA, A. 183 inf., s. XIV, f. 76ra-77vb

Milan, BA, Q. 69 sup., s. XIV, f. 39r-40v

Milan, BA, S. 77 sup., s. XVI, f. 399r-405v

Montpellier, BIU, Section de Médecine H 323, s. XIII-XIV, f. 112v-117r

Oxford, BL, Ashmole 1522, s. XIV, f. 114va-118va

Oxford, BL, Ashmole 1796, s. XIV, f. 173r-175v

Oxford, BL, Auct. F.5.28, s. XIII, f. 96v-99r

Oxford, BL, Bodley 463, s. XIII, f. 24ra-26va

Oxford, BL, Bodley 464, s. XIV, f. 92v-95r

Oxford, BL, Bodley 491, s. XIV, f. 111v-116r

Oxford, BL, Digby 168, s. XIV, f. 68ra-69vb

Oxford, BL, Tanner 192, s. XIV, f. 106vb-107vb

Oxford, HC, 3, s. XIV, f. 1vb-3va

Oxford, UC, 41, s. XIV, f. 26r-27v

Paris, BM, 3642, s. XIII, f. 7va-9rb

Paris, BnF, lat. 7195, s. XIV, f. 143va-146vb

Paris, BnF, lat. 7215, s. XIV, f. 168ra-170rb

Paris, BnF, lat. 7267, s. XIII-XIV, f. 27rb-28ra

Paris, BnF, lat. 7298, s. XIII-XIV, f. 84ra-86vb

Paris, BnF, lat. 7333, s. XIII-XIV, f. 65vb-68va

Paris, BnF, lat. 7416B, s. XIV, f. 86va-88ra

Paris, BnF, lat. 9335, s. XIII, f. 23vb-25rbImages

Paris, BnF, lat. 10268, s. XV, f. 133r-138r

Paris, BnF, lat. 14068, s. XV, f. 97v-102v

Paris, BnF, lat. 16211, s. XIII-XIV, f. 104rb-108rb

Paris, BnF, n.a.l. 1893, s. XIV, f. 74rb-76vb

Paris, BS, 595, s. XIV, f. 99ra-102rb

Parma, BP, 984, s. XV, f. 50r-52r

Pommersfelden, GSB, 66 (2640), s. XIII, f. 47va-51rb

Princeton, UL, Garrett 99, s. XIII-XIV, f. 209rb-212vb

Salamanca, BU, 2662, s. XIV, f. 94va-97va

St Petersburg, BAN, F. 8 (XXAb/IIII), s. XIII, f. 20ra-21va

Vatican, BAV, Barb. lat. 182, s. XV, f. 101rb-101vb

Vatican, BAV, Reg. lat. 1241, s. XV, f. 33r-41r

Vatican, BAV, Reg. lat. 1904, s. XV-XVI, f. 57r-61r

Venice, BNM, lat. VIII.69 (3349), s. XV, f. 14v-21v

Venice, BNM, lat. XIV.165 (4254), s. XIV, f. 49va-53rb

Venice, MCC, cod. Cic. 3747 (2712), s. XV, f. 123ra-125ra

Verona, BC, CCXLIV (215), s. XIII, f. 27vb-29vb

Vienna, ÖNB, 2386, s. XIV, f. 6va-7rb

Vienna, ÖNB, 5145, s. XV, f. 47r-51v

Vienna, ÖNB, 5209, s. XVI, f. 133r-145v

Vienna, ÖNB, 5277, s. XVI, f. 302r-305v

Vienna, ÖNB, 5311, s. XIV, f. 18vb-21ra

Vienna, ÖNB, 5392, s. XVI, f. 233r-237r

Vienna, ÖNB, 5498, s. XV, f. 47r-52v

Wolfenbüttel, HAB, 76.1 Aug. 2º (2725), s. XIV, f. 34rb-39vb