Ptolemaeus Arabus et Latinus

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Work B.1.2

Centiloquium (tr. Plato of Tivoli)

This version, which includes Abū Jaʿfar Aḥmad ibn Yūsuf’s commentary, was translated from the Arabic by Plato of Tivoli in 1136 (‘anno Arabum 530’). The translation is attributed to one ‘Johannes Toletanus’ or ‘Johannes Yspanus’ in two manuscripts (Erfurt, UFB, Amplon. Q. 361: ‘Incipit liber fructuum arboris Ptolomei a magistro Iohanne Tol<etano> translatus ab Arabico in Latinum’; and Salamanca, BU, 189: ‘Explicit liber centum verborum Ptolomei translatus a magistro Iohanne Yspano’) and to Plato of Tivoli in only one manuscript (Vatican, BAV, Vat. lat. 6766, in the title: ‘Centiloquium Ptolomei cum expositione Aly translatum a Platone Tiburtino de Arabico in Latinum’). The attribution to Plato, however, seems very likely, for the colophon – especially the formula ‘Perfecta est huius libri translatio’ and the date given fully in both the Christian and the Islamic calendars – is characteristic of Plato’s translations, as witnessed, inter alia, by his translation of Ptolemy’s Quadripartitum in 1138 (see A.2.1). The date 1136 also falls nicely within Plato’s translating activity. Plato’s translation is the source text of commentaries C.3.2-4, C.3.6, C.3.8-10, C.3.14-15 and C.3.20 (and probably others).

Note 1

Three manuscripts (Boulogne-sur-Mer, BM, 198; Venice, MCC, cod. Cic. 617; and Vienna, ÖNB, 5209) give the name of the commentator (Abū Jaʿfar Aḥmad ibn Yūsuf ibn Ibrāhīm ibn al-Dāya) quite correctly as ‘Abuiafar Hamet filii Ioseph (filii) Abrahe scriptoris’, which became ‘Abugafarus’ in the ‘Iam premisi’ version (B.1.5). Many more manuscripts (at least 14) and the three early printed editions, however, name the commentator ‘Haly’ or ‘Ali’ (typically in the title ‘Centiloquium Ptolomei cum commento Haly’), a name which is also found in several manuscripts of the ‘Mundanorum’ version (B.1.4) and which will become the most common name for the commentator in the Latin tradition. A plausible explanation, suggested by Lemay (‘Origin and Success’, 103-104; Le Kitāb, I, 223), is that this name originated with Haly Embrani [ʿAlī b. Aḥmad al-ʿImrānī], who says, in his De electionibus horarum (a text translated in 1133 by Plato of Tivoli’s close colleague, Abraham bar Ḥiyya alias Savasorda), that he had commented upon the ‘verba Ptholomei’. The commentator is named ‘Haly Berodohan’ (i.e., Haly Abenrudian, the commentator of the Quadripartitum, see A.2.5) in MS Florence, BR, 163, f. 2r, but this is evidently an addition by the scribe of that manuscript.

Note 2

This version (like the ‘Mundanorum’ version, B.1.4) is often accompanied, at the beginning or at the end, by two additional chapters, which also occur independently under Ptolemy’s name: De cometis (B.4) and Dixerunt Ptolomeus et Hermes quod locus Lune… (B.5).

Note 3

About 20 manuscripts offer a ‘threefold’ version (called ‘version agglomérée’ by Lemay, cf. Le Kitāb, I, 283-325), which consists, for each verbum, of the propositions in three versions, i.e., Plato (B.1.2), ‘Mundanorum 1’ (B.1.4) and Adelard of Bath (B.1.1, for v. 1-39), while the preface and the commentary are given in Plato’s translation. The manuscripts in question are Bergamo, BCAM, MA 571; Cambridge, UL, Ii 1.13; Cambridge, UL, Kk 4.7; Cambridge, UL, Mm 4.43; Cambridge, UL, Mm 4.43 (2391); Erfurt, UFB, Amplon. F. 383; Erfurt, UFB, Amplon. F. 395; Erfurt, UFB, Amplon. Q. 361; Limoges, BM, 9; London, BL, Harley 13; Milan, BA, H. 44 inf.; Oxford, BL, Digby 228 (for v. 1-15, the rest being in the ‘Mundanorum’ version only); Oxford, BL, Selden supra 78; Paris, BnF, n.a.l. 1893; Paris, BnF, n.a.l. 3091; Seville, BCC, 7-6-2; Vatican, BAV, Pal. lat. 1811; Vatican, BAV, Reg. lat. 1452; Vatican, BAV, Vat. lat. 6766 (v. 1-15 added in the margin, the rest being in the ‘Mundanorum’ version). MSS Cracow, BJ, 601, and New Haven, YU–BRBML, Mellon 25, as well as the three early printed editions, also give the threefold version, but only for v. 1. This ‘threefold’ version for v. 1 was used by Matthias de Krajna in his Lectures on the Centiloquium (C.3.20).

Note 4

The manuscripts listed below are those where Plato’s translation prevails, but it should be noted that most manuscripts of the ‘Mundanorum’ version preserve various, sometimes substantial, sections of Plato’s translation (see B.1.4 and manuscript entries). Most of the text of Plato’s translation also occurs together with George of Trebizond’s translation (B.1.7) in MS Gloucester, CL, 15. The proposition of v. 51 was copied together with Pseudo-Ptolemy’s Dixerunt Ptolomeus et Hermes quod locus Lune… (B.5) in MS London, BL, Arundel 88.

Note 5

At least six manuscripts (Florence, BNC, Magliabech. XX.22; Salamanca, BU, 2051; Vatican, BAV, Reg. lat. 1452; Vatican, BAV, Vat. lat. 7616; Venice, BNM, Fondo antico lat. Z. 344; Vienna, ÖNB, 3105) contain substantial glosses opening ‘Sensus huius littere’ or ‘Sensus huius capituli’, which are reminiscent of Gerard of Cremona’s commentaries. Just like in the case of the Quadripartitum, however, it is unclear whether Gerard wrote a continuous and stand-alone commentary on the Centiloquium (see C.2.1).

Note 6

Besides the manuscripts listed below, a copy of this version once existed in MS Paris, BnF, lat. 7320 (see).


‘(Florence, BR, 163) (2r) [title] Incipit Liber centiloquii compositus a prudentissimo Ptholomeo super iudicia astrorum ad Iesurem discipulum suum. [preface] Dixit Ptholomeus: Iam scripsi tibi, Iesure, libros de hoc quod operantur stelle in hoc mundo et sunt libri multe utilitatis illis qui prescire volunt futura. Et hic est fructus illorum librorum omnium et qui probatus est multociens. Qui etiam non diligetur nisi ab eis qui in aliis libris laboraverunt et multas alias scientias cognoverunt. Accipe igitur cum bono omine. [1] Capitulum primum Centiloquii. Scientia stellarum ex te et illis est. Astrologus autem non debet dicere rem specialiter sed universaliter… [comm.] Expositio Haly Berodohan. Quod dixit Ptholomeus, ‘ex te et illis’, significat quod qui res futuras prenoscere desiderat… (2v) [2] Verbum 2. Dixit Ptholomeus: Quando eligit elector melius non erit inter ipsum et eum qui habet hoc ex natura differentia. [comm.] Expositio. Multi homines putaverunt quod Ptolomeus loqueretur hic de electionibus… [3] Verbum 3. Dixit Ptholomeus: Ille qui facit aliquod opus ex natura inveniet in nativitate sua planetam fortem ex natura operis illius. [comm.] Expositio. (3r) Docebit te Ptolomeus in libro isto, capitulo 86, quod tales sunt stelle et fortitudines ex eis manantes… [4] Verbum 4. Dixit Ptholomeus: Anima que ex natura dat iudicia iudicabit super secundas stellarum eritque eius iudicium melius quam illius qui iudicabit per ipsas stellas. [comm.] Expositio. Iam docui te quomodo hoc habet anima ex natura… [5] Verbum 5. Dixit Ptholomeus: Astrologus optimus multum malum prohibere poterit quod secundum stellas venturum est… [comm.] Expositio. Videmus quod idem opus non est equale suscipientibus… [6] Verbum 6. (3v) Dixit Ptholomeus: Tunc electiones proficiunt cum fortitudo temporis maior fuerit… [comm.] Expositio. Significatio nativitatis et fortitudo electionis est in significatione boni … [7] Verbum 7. Dixit Ptholomeus: Non poterit dare iudicia secundum stellarum complexionem nisi homo qui vim anime… [comm.] Expositio. Complexio stellarum est hoc quod operantur earum nature in coniunctionibus et aspectibus… (4r) [8] Verbum 8. Dixit Ptholomeus: Anima sapiens ita adiuvat opus stellarum quenadmodum seminator fortitudines naturales. [comm.] Expositio. Sapiens anima est illa que scit illud quod diximus et eius adiutorium est… [9] Verbum 9. Dixit Ptholomeus: Vultus huius seculi sunt subiecti vultibus celestibus… [comm.] Expositio. In hoc capitulo vult Ptholomeus multa ymaginum secreta patefacere… (4v) [10] Verbum 10. Dixit Ptholomeus: Uti oportet infortuniis in electionibus sicut periti medici utuntur venenosis… [comm.] Inperiti astrologi omitunt significatores in omnibus suis electionibus fortunas… (14r) [51] Verbum 51. Dixit Ptholomeus: Locus Luna (!) in nativitate est ipse gradus ascendens de circulo hora casus spermatis, et locus Lune hora casus spermatis est gradus ascendens hora nativitatis. [comm.] Expositio. In hoc concordati sunt physici quod more natorum in uteris matrum sunt diverse… (16r) [60] Verbum 60. Dixit Ptholomeus: Alboharam sunt determinationes sane et certe et sunt hore quibus declarantur mutationes morborum ad bonum vel ad malum velociter super loca Lune… [comm.] Expositio. Ptholomeus in hoc verbo docuit nos causam dierum determinabilium et qui sunt et quid etiam determinantur de bono seu de malo… (25r) [99] Verbum 99. Dixit Ptholomeus: Alnaeçic et habentes comas sunt de secundariis stellarum et non sunt de illis stellis. [comm.] Expositio. Iam patefecimus in premissis quod secundaria siderum sunt res que contingunt a stellis in aere et alnaçic sunt ex his que fiunt in aere. Et vocant eas Arabes absuhub et alnaçic, et sunt iacula, eo quod assimilentur illis in velocitate motus, et certum est quod de secundariis et non de illis sint. [100] Verbum 100. Dixit Ptholomeus: Alnaeçic significant siccos vapores. Cum ergo fuerint in una parte, significabunt ventos accidentes in eadem parte — si vero fuerint immobiles, erit proditor ex aliqua civitatum eiusdem climatis. [comm.] Expositio. Iam patefecit Aristotiles in libro De operibus altis quod vapores aridi, quociens perveniunt ad etherem — intravit igitur filius Alchalig post hoc brevi tempore et prefuit Egipto et eius partibus. [finis] Dixit Ptholomeus: Hoc est quod ego malui exponere in hoc libro et credo quod ydoneum sit suis rationibus et quod perfecta sit eius expositio. Dico tibi etiam hoc dignum esse ut commictas eum illi qui deceat (!) et removeas eum ab illo cuius intentio est solummodo ut eum habeat et qui putat eum scire cordetenus si in theca sua positus fuerit. Difficile est enim illi laborare ut addiscat eum. Quapropter removendus est ab hoc libro et ab huic simili. Maximus namque error foret si traderetur illi. Et ego Deum precor ut te diligat. Perfecta est huius libri translatio 17 die mensis Martii, 12 die mensis Iumedi secundi, anno Arabum 530. Explicit Liber Ptholomei qui dictus est centum verba.’


F. Wüstenfeld, Die Übersetzungen Arabischer Werke in das Lateinische seit dem XI. Jahrhundert, Göttingen, 1877, 27-28 (no. 3); M. Steinschneider, Die hebraeischen Uebersetzungen des Mittelalters und die Juden als Dolmetscher. Ein Beitrag zur Literaturgeschichte des Mittelalters, Berlin, 1893, II, 529; M. Steinschneider, Die europäischen Übersetzungen aus dem Arabischen bis Mitte des 17. Jahrhunderts, Wien, 1904, 41 (no. 36); C. H. Haskins, Studies in the History of Mediaeval Science, Cambridge, 1927 (2nd ed.), 68-69; F. J. Carmody, Arabic Astronomical and Astrological Sciences in Latin Translation. A Critical Bibliography, Berkeley-Los Angeles, 1956, 16 (no. 3b); R. Lemay, ‘Origin and Success of the Kitāb Thamara of Abū Jaʿfar Aḥmad ibn Yūsuf ibn Ibrāhīm from the Tenth to the Seventeenth Century in the World of Islam and the Latin West’, in Proceedings of the First International Symposium for the History of Arabic Science (Aleppo, April 5-12, 1976), Aleppo, 1978, II, 91-107: 101-104; E. R. McCarthy, ‘A Lexical Comparison of Four Twelfth Century Versions of Ptolemy’s Centiloquium from the Arabic’, in Actas del V Congreso Internacional de Filosofía Medieval, II, Madrid, 1979, 991-997; R. Lemay, Abū Maʿšar al-Balḫī [Albumasar]: Liber introductorii maioris ad scientiam judiciorum astrorum, Napoli, 1995-1996, I, 240; G. Dell’Anna, Dies critici. La teoria della ciclicità delle patologie nel XIV secolo, Galatina, 1999, 2 vols, I, 83-90 (on verbum 60); R. Lemay, Le Kitāb aṯ-Ṯamara (Liber fructus, Centiloquium) d’Abū Jaʿfar Aḥmad ibn Yūsuf [Ps.-Ptolémée], 1999 [unpublished], I, 231-283 (and 283-325 for the ‘threefold’ version); M. Rinaldi, Le Commentationes in Ptolemaeum di Giovanni Giovano Pontano: fonti, tradizione e fortuna del Centiloquio pseudo-tolemaico dalla Classicità all’Umanesimo, PhD dissertation, Università degli Studi di Napoli “Federico II”, 2002, 63-65; J.-P. Boudet, ‘Astrology Between Rational Science and Divine Inspiration. The Pseudo-Ptolemy’s Centiloquium’, in Dialogues among Books in Medieval Western Magic and Divination, eds S. Rapisarda, E. Niblaeus, Firenze, 2014, 47-73: 51-52; J.-P. Boudet, ‘Nature et contre-nature dans l’astrologie médiévale. Le cas du Centiloquium du Pseudo-Ptolémée’, in La nature comme source de la morale au Moyen Âge, ed. M. van der Lugt, Firenze, 2014, 383-410: 386-387; D. N. Hasse, ‘Stylistic Evidence for Identifying John of Seville with the Translator of Some Twelfth-Century Astrological and Astronomical Texts from Arabic into Latin on the Iberian Peninsula’, in Ex Oriente Lux. Translating Words, Scripts and Styles in Medieval Mediterranean Society, eds C. Burnett, P. Mantas-España, Córdoba-London, 2016, 19-43: 28-30; J.-P. Boudet, ‘Causalité et signification dans le Centiloquium du pseudo-Ptolémée’, in Orbis disciplinae. Liber amicorum Patrick Gautier Dalché, eds N. Bouloux, A. Dan, G. Tolias, Turnhout, 2017, 607-624: 608; J.-P. Boudet, ‘Naissance et conception: autour de la proposition 51 du Centiloquium attribué à Ptolémée’, in De l’homme, de la nature et du monde. Mélanges d’histoire des sciences médiévales offerts à Danielle Jacquart, Genève, 2019, 165-178: 167-169; J.-P. Boudet, ‘The Medieval Latin Versions of Pseudo-Ptolemy’s Centiloquium: A Survey’, in Ptolemy’s Science of the Stars in the Middle Ages, eds D. Juste, B. van Dalen, D. N. Hasse, C. Burnett, Turnhout, 2020, 283-304: 284 and passim.


Lemay, Le Kitāb (unpublished). Samples have been edited by Dell’Anna, II, 7-9 (v. 60, together with commentary C.3.3, from MS Cambridge, PC, 204); and, from a selection of manuscripts, by Boudet, ‘Naissance et conception’, 168 (v. 51), and ‘The Medieval Latin Versions’, 287-288 (v. 8) and 294-295 (v. 51). A critical edition is in preparation by Emanuele Rovati.


Venice, Erhardus Ratdolt, 1484, sig. [f6]v-[i4]r

Venice, Bonetus Locatellus, 1493, sig. 107r-116v

Venice, Octavianus Scotus, 1519, sig. 97r-106r


Augsburg, UB, Cod. II.1.4º 77, s. XV, f. 2r-3v

Barcelona, BC, 634, s. XV, f. 79v-83v

Basel, UB, F.III.25, s. XIII, f. 45ra-51rb

Bergamo, BCAM, MA 571 (Delta I sopra 11), s. XIV, pp. 1a-24b

Berlin, SBPK, lat. fol. 192 (963), s. XV, f. 111rb-119va

Berlin, SBPK, lat. fol. 646 (Boncompagni 306), s. XV, f. 3r-19r

Berlin, SBPK, lat. qu. 510, s. XIII, f. 191r

Bernkastel-Kues, CSB, 208, s. XIV, f. 58vb-68ra

Boulogne-sur-Mer, BM, 198, s. XIII, f. 52v-70r

Bruges, OB, 523, s. XIII, f. 66r-78v

Cambridge, PH, 52, s. XIII-XIV, f. 115va-118vb

Cambridge, UL, Ii 1.13 (1705), s. XIV, f. 109v-120v

Cambridge, UL, Ii 3.3 (1767), s. XIII-XIV, f. 220ra-239va

Cambridge, UL, Kk 4.7 (2022), s. XIV, f. 124ra-131va

Cambridge, UL, Mm 4.43 (2391), s. XIV, f. 225ra-249(5)va

Cesena, BCM, Plut. S.XXVII.1, s. XV, f. 210r-222r

Cracow, BJ, 578, s. XV, pp. 375b-418a

Cracow, BJ, 601, s. XV, f. 32r-44r

Cracow, BJ, 805, s. XV, f. 393va-396va

Cracow, BJ, 1859, s. XV, f. 185v-205v

Cracow, BJ, 2490, s. XVI, f. 1r-10v

Darmstadt, HLHB, 739, s. XIV, f. 166ra-181va

Dublin, TC, 397, s. XV, f. 11r-39v

Dublin, TC, 441, s. XV, f. 60r-63v

Erfurt, UFB, Amplon. F. 380, s. XIV, f. 131r-140r

Erfurt, UFB, Amplon. F. 383, s. XIV, f. 117ra-126vb

Erfurt, UFB, Amplon. F. 383, s. XIV, f. 141ra-154rb

Erfurt, UFB, Amplon. F. 395, s. XIV, f. 106ra-121ra

Erfurt, UFB, Amplon. Q. 361, s. XIV, f. 41ra-47rb

Escorial, RBMSL, e.III.15, s. XIII-XIV, f. 13ra-22vb

Florence, BML, Ashburnham 203 (129/135), s. XVI, f. 25r-31r and 59r-66v

Florence, BNC, Conv. Soppr. J.X.20 (San Marco 163), s. XIV-XV, f. 1r-17v

Florence, BNC, Magliabech. XX.22, s. XIV, f. 1ra-18vb

Florence, BR, 163, s. XIII, f. 2r-25vImages|Text

Florence, BR, 885, s. XIII-XIV, f. 351r-368v

Frankfurt/M., SUB, Fragm. lat. VIII.32, s. XIV, f. 1va-1vb

Frankfurt/M., SUB, Praed. 48, s. XV, f. 115rb-125va

Ghent, UB, 5 (416), s. XV, f. 27r-41v

Göttingen, NSUB, Philos. 62c, s. XV, f. 221r-222v

Leiden, UB, Voss. lat. O.3, s. XV, f. 143r-169v

Leipzig, UB, 1463, s. XV, f. 88va-103va

Leipzig, UB, 1472, s. XV, f. 1r-53v

Limoges, BM, 9 (28), s. XV, f. 272r-289r

London, BL, Arundel 268, s. XIV, f. 23va-40ra

London, BL, Harley 13, s. XIII-XIV, f. 141ra-164vb

London, UC, lat. 16, s. XV, f. 3ra-17ra

Madrid, BN, 10015 (olim Toledo 98-17), s. XIII, f. 20ra-25va

†Metz, BM, 286, s. XIV, item no. 1

Milan, BA, H. 44 inf., s. XIV, f. 124rb-143ra

Milan, BA, M. 28 sup., s. XIV, f. 79r

Munich, BSB, Clm 228, s. XIV, f. 262va-265ra

Munich, BSB, Clm 14111, s. XIV-XV, f. 198vb-211va

Munich, BSB, Clm 27001, s. XV, f. 1v

Munich, BSB, Clm 29248(1 (olim Clm 29044), s. XV, f. 3r-10v

New Haven, YU-BRBML, Mellon 25, s. XV-XVI, f. 77ra-99ra

Oxford, BL, Auct. F.3.13, s. XIII, f. 49r-66v

Oxford, BL, Bodley 463, s. XIII, f. 59ra-74vb

Oxford, BL, Bodley 472, s. XV, f. 1ra-20ra

Oxford, BL, Canon. Misc. 554, s. XV, f. 196r-225r

Oxford, BL, Digby 75, s. XV, f. 73r-91v

Oxford, BL, Selden supra 78, s. XIV, f. 1r-25r

Oxford, CCC, 101, s. XV, f. 173ra-191ra

Paris, BnF, lat. 7198, s. XIV-XV, f. 111ra-122ra

Paris, BnF, lat. 7306, s. XV, f. 1r-14v

Paris, BnF, lat. 7307, s. XIII, 1r-17v

Paris, BnF, lat. 7316, s. XV, f. 157r-167r

Paris, BnF, lat. 7348, s. XIV, f. 21ra-21vb

Paris, BnF, lat. 7350, s. XVI, f. 71v-73v

Paris, BnF, lat. 7437, s. XIV, f. 79v-87v

Paris, BnF, n.a.l. 1893, s. XIV, f. 109va-138ra

Paris, BnF, n.a.l. 3091, s. XIII, f. 92va-104ra

Pommersfelden, GSB, 66 (2640), s. XIII, f. 84ra

Prague, NKCR, VIII.G.27 (1609), s. XV, f. 60r-72v

Rome, BV, F 86, s. XIII, f. 1v-23v

Salamanca, BU, 189, s. XIV, f. 21vb-28va

Salamanca, BU, 2051, s. XIII, f. 26va-33vb

Seville, BCC, 7-6-2, s. XIII, f. 63v-120v

Seville, BCC, 7-7-30, s. XV, f. 118v-144v

Uppsala, UB, C 653, s. XIV, f. 157r-172v

Vatican, BAV, Barb. lat. 328, s. XV, f. 137v-142r

Vatican, BAV, Barb. lat. 328, s. XV, f. 171r-194v

Vatican, BAV, Borgh. 312, s. XIII-XIV, f. 18ra-24vb

Vatican, BAV, Pal. lat. 1369, s. XV, f. 89va-100ra

Vatican, BAV, Pal. lat. 1408, s. XIV, f. 39r-39v

Vatican, BAV, Pal. lat. 1811, s. XIV, f. 47ra-64vb

Vatican, BAV, Reg. lat. 1285, s. XIII, f. 42ra-42va

Vatican, BAV, Reg. lat. 1452, s. XIV, f. (115va-120vb)

Vatican, BAV, Reg. lat. 1452, s. XIV, f. 33ra-45vb

Vatican, BAV, Reg. lat. 1692, s. XIII-XIV, f. 272rb-289vb

Vatican, BAV, Vat. lat. 6766, s. XIII, f. 60ra-66va

Vatican, BAV, Vat. lat. 7616, s. XIII, f. 45va-61rb

Venice, BNM, Fondo antico lat. Z. 344 (1878), s. XIII, f. 155ra-173va

Venice, BNM, lat. VIII.16 (3382), s. XV, f. 104va-116ra

Venice, MCC, cod. Cic. 617 (1261), s. XIV, f. 1r-37r

Verona, BC, CCXLIV (215), s. XIII, f. 16rb-27vb

Vicenza, BCB, 208 (132), s. XV, f. 213r-256r

Vienna, ÖNB, 3105, s. XV, f. 37ra-51rb

Vienna, ÖNB, 5209, s. XVI, f. 5r-72v

Vienna, ÖNB, 5239, s. XIV, f. 128ra-145rb

Warsaw, BN, Rps 12634 II, s. XV, f. 2r-20v

Wolfenbüttel, HAB, 444 Helmst. (479), s. XV, f. 190ra-200rb