Ptolemaeus Arabus et Latinus

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Work B.6.1

كتاب المجالس
Kitāb al-Majālis

A short text for establishing the places where a person seeking an audience and the ruler or official granting it should sit; their relative positions are taken as indicating one of the eight cardinal directions, each of which is associated with a planet or the lunar nodes and with a particular outcome of the audience. The text is attributed to Ptolemy in the title of the only surviving manuscript and is organised in a very brief introduction, a compass rose detailing the association of cardinal directions and planets, and two sets of eight conditional sentences; the first describes where the inquirer wishing for a successful audience should sit based on the position of the ruler or official, the second where the ruler or official should sit based on the desired outcome of the audience. Both sets are organised in a tabular frame occupying a whole page. Sezgin (p. 46, no. 9)) considered the present work to include the collections of astronomical and astrological chapters following it in the only known manuscript (ff. 2v–22v), but this is improbable since its title pertains to ff. 1r–2r only.

Origin: Sezgin (p. 94, no. 2) drew attention to the great similarities between this work and a text ascribed to the Indian astrologer Junnah (or Ḥinna). The exact origin of the two works remains unknown. D’hulster has edited a copy of Junnah’s work in Istanbul, Süleymaniye, Ayasofya 2836, f. 125v (in an anonymous astrological compilation put together before 1512) and observed that the association of cardinal directions and planets common to Junnah’s and Pseudo-Ptolemy’s works matches that found in the vāstu śāstra, a traditional architectural system in Hinduism (Dhulster:2023). Further copies of Junnah’s text are found in MS Cairo, Dār al-Kutub, mīqāt Muṣṭafā Fāḍil 54{ff. 9v–10r} (cf. GAS VII, p. 94 (no. 2); King, Fihris, vol. I, p. 376, and vol. II, p. 181 (no.; King, A Survey, p. 28, A30), and in Cairo, Dār al-Kutub, mīqāt 817, ff. 59v–60r, as part of a set of astrological texts composed for the Rasulid sultan al-Muʾayyad (r. 1296–1321) (cf. King, Fihris, vol. I, p. 145, and vol. II, p. 148 (no.; King, A Survey, p. 132 (E11); for the dating, see Johannes Thomann, ‘Reverse Engineering Applied to Ephemerides. Analysis and Edition of the Arabic Ephemeris of 1326/7 CE (MS Cairo, Dār al-Kutub, mīqāt 817)’, in Matthieu Husson Clemency Montelle and Benno van Dalen (eds), Editing and Analysing Numerical Tables: Towards a Digital Information System for the History of Astral Sciences, Turnhout: Brepols, 2021, pp. 469–510, p. 493).

Text: [Cairo, Dār al-kutub, mīqāt 122]

[Introduction] (1r) هذا كتاب المجالس لبطليموس الحكيم المشهور. إذا أردت الدخول على سلطان أو أحد من الناس فاعرف دخولك وأين يجلس الجالس إذا دخل على سلطان وكذلك المدخول عليه يعرف أين يجلس في مثل ما قد بيّنّاه في هذه الزائرجة. [Diagram] خطّ الجنوب يتولّاه المرّيخ. ما بين المشرق والجنوب تتولّاه الزهرة — ما بين المغرب والجنوب. يتولّاه الجورهر. شرح هذا الجدول في الصفحة التي تليه فافهم ذلك. [First table] (1v) إذا كان صاحب المجلس جالسًا في حدّ زحل وهو في خطّ المغرب فاعتمد بالجلوس في حدّ الزهرة أو حدّ القمر دون سائر الحدود. — إذا كان صاحب المجلس جالسًا في حدّ الجوزهر وهو ما بين المغرب والجنوب فاعتمد الجلوس في حدّ المشتري وهو ما بين المشرق والشمال أو حدّ الزهرة أو حدّ القمر. [Second table] (2r) إذا أراد صاحب المجلس إيقاع الخدع والمكر والمكايد والظفر وطلب الشرّ والخصام والمكر فاعتمد الجلوس في حدّ زحل في جهة المغرب. — إذا أراد صاحب المجلس التنافس والرتبة العالية وارتفاع المحلّ فيعتمد بالجلوس في حدّ الجوزهر ما بين المغرب والجنوب.

Bibl.: GAS VIIFuat Sezgin, Geschichte des arabischen Schrifttums. Vol. VII: Astrologie – Meteorologie und Verwandtes bis ca. 430 H., Leiden: Brill, 1979, p. 46 (no. 9) and p. 94 (no. 2); David A. King, Fihris al-makhṭūṭāt al-ʿilmiyya al-maḥfūẓa bi-Dār al-Kutub al-Miṣriyya, 2 vols, Cairo: General Egyptian Book Organisation, 1981–1986, vol. I, pp. 145 and 376; vol. II, p. 148 (no., p. 181 (no. and p. 656 (no.; David A. King, A Survey of the Scientific Manuscripts in the Egyptian National Library, Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns / Cairo: The American Research Center in Egypt, 1986{p. 28 (A30), p. 132 (E11), and p. 293).

Ed.: Reproduction of MS mīqāt 122, f. 1r (next to MS mīqāt Muṣṭafā Fāḍil 54, f. 9v) in King, A Survey, p. 293.