Ptolemaeus Arabus et Latinus

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Work B.4.2

Pseudo-Ptolemy, al-Ḥākimī and Hermes
تقويم الشعرى اليمانيّة
Taqwīm al-shiʿrā al-yamāniyya

Astrometeorological predictions for a given Coptic year based on the position of the Moon in the zodiacal signs at the time of the heliacal rising of Sirius. The text is divided into twelve chapters for the twelve signs. Each chapter is structured as follows: predictions based on the Moon in each decan of that sign; predictions based on the Moon in that sign; a list of things to buy and sell.

The text is a relatively recent representative of the Malḥama-tradition, its sole known manuscript dating from 1822-3 (on this tradition and its witnesses, see Schmidl, who provides further literature). Its ascription to ‘Ḥākimī, Hermes the wise and Ptolemy’ (Kitāb al-Ḥākīmī wa-Hirmis al-ḥakīm wa-Baṭlīmūs) is peculiar in that Hermes and Ptolemy are commonly regarded as authorities in the Malḥama-tradition while the character of al-Ḥākimī is less known. It is possible that the original title was Kitāb al-ḥakīmay Hirmis wa-Baṭlīmūs, and that the scribe misinterpreted al-ḥakīmay as a personal name. However, various astrometeorological treatises preserved in Cairo are ascribed to one ʿAlī l-Ḥākimī l-Baṣrī, ʿAlī l-Ḥākim al-Baṣīr or the like, a name explained by King as a corruption of the epithet al-ḥakīm al-baṣīr. Hence, the mention of al-Ḥākimī in the present manuscript may also be an intended reference to this ʿAlī l-Ḥākimī l-Baṣrī.

Text: [Berlin, SBPK, Wetzstein II 1155]

(ff. 1v–57r) هذا تقويم الشعرى اليمانيّة من كتاب الحاكمي وهرمس الحكيم وبطليموس قالت الحكماء إنّ الشعرة (كذا) كوكب كانت الجاهليّة فيما مضى يعبدونها — آلات الصبغ تشتري في كيهك وتباع في برموده الادهان كلّها تشتري في أبيب وتباع في برمهات.

Bibl.: Wilhelm Ahlwardt, Verzeichniss der arabischen Handschriften der Königlichen Bibliothek zu Berlin, vol. V, Berlin: Asher, 1893, pp. 307–308 (no. 5916); 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. 27 (no. A22); Petra G. Schmidl, ‘Al-Ashraf ˁUmar’s Tabṣira: Chapter xxxiv. Rainbows, Shooting Stars, and Haloes as Signs of the Future’, in Klaus Herbers and Hans-Christian Lehner (eds), Dreams, Nature, and Practices as Signs of the Future in the Middle Ages, Leiden: Brill, 2022, pp. 252–309, here pp. 269–270.

Ed.: None.