Ptolemaeus Arabus et Latinus

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Work C.1.2

رسالة في ذات الحلق
Risāla fī Dhāt al-ḥalaq

A work on the construction and use of the armillary sphere as described by Ptolemy in Book V of the Almagest. Al-Kindī addresses the introduction to an anonymous contemporary who demanded a proper explanation of the instrument. He refers to the obscurity of Ptolemy’s style of writing and the difficulties in translating his works into Arabic in order to make clear why such an explanation is necessary. In the following, the treatise is divided into two parts (called juzʾ in the introduction and fann in the respective sections), the first on the construction of the instrument (Ṣanʿat dhāt al-ḥalaq), the second on its use (Fī kayfiyyat istiʿmāli-hā bi taʾyīd dhī l-qūwa).

Fragments of the second part of this work (paraphrases as well as literal quotations) are preserved in the treatise Maʿrifat kayfiyyat al-arṣād wa-l-ʿamal bi-dhāt al-ḥalaq attributed to Ḥabash al-Ḥāsib (see Celentano, pp. 17 and 19; the manuscripts of this work used by Celentano are Istanbul, Süleymaniye Kütüphanesi, Ayasofya 1654, ff. 105v–110v, and Istanbul, Topkapı Sarayı Müzesi, Ahmet III 3475, ff. 89r–97v).

Text: [Paris, BnF, ar. 2544]

[Incipit] (56v) حاطك الله أيّها الأخ بصنعة وسدّدك بتوفيقه ووهب لك علمًا نافعًا يحرسك به من الزلل ويهديك إلى أزكى عمل. سألت أيّها الأخ المحمود أن أرسم لك الآلة التي ذكرها بطلميوس في أوّل القول الخامس من كتاب المجسطي عندما اشتبه عليك من وصفه إياها والعمل بها. [Explicit] (60r) وهذا فيما سألت كاف كفاك الله المهمّ من أمر الدنيا والآخرة بمنه وكرمه نجزت رسالة الكندي في صنعة آلة توجد بها مواضع الشمس والقمر وسائر الكواكب.

Bibl.: Ibn al-Nadīm, Fihrist (ed. FlügelGustav Flügel, Kitâb al-Fihrist, 2 vols, Leipzig: Vogel, 1871–1872, vol. I, p. 257; English tr. DodgeBayard Dodge, The Fihrist of al-Nadīm. A Tenth-Century Survey of Muslim Culture, 2 vols, New York / London: Columbia University Press, 1970, p. 617, entirely misunderstands the title of the treatise). — GAS VIFuat Sezgin, Geschichte des arabischen Schrifttums. Vol. VI: Astronomie bis ca. 430 H., Leiden: Brill, 1978, pp. 153 and 175; MAOSICBoris A. Rosenfeld and Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu, Mathematicians, Astronomers, and other Scholars of Islamic Civilization and their Works (7th–19th c.), Istanbul: Research Centre for Islamic History, Art and Culture (IRCICA), 2003, p. 40 (no. 79, A5). — Guiseppe Celentano, L’epistola de al-Kindī sulla sfera armillare, Napoli: Istituto Orientale di Napoli, 1982.

Ed.: Edition in Celentano, pp. 21–33, with an Italian translation on pp. 44–53.