Ptolemaeus Arabus et Latinus

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Work B.13

Inerrantium stellarum significationes

An astrometeorological parapegma arranged according to the twelve months from January to December. The text was translated from the Greek by Niccolò Leonico Tomeo (1456-1531) and first published in Venice in 1516. The Latin version is consistently attributed to Ptolemy (in the title) and was included in Ptolemy’s Opera omnia published in Basel 1541 and Basel 15512. Whereas it shares the subject matter with the parapegma contained in Book II of the Phaseis (A.4), this text, however, has nothing to do with Ptolemy, as Denis Petau had already recognised in his notes to his translation of the Phaseis (A.4.2, see ed. Paris 1630, sig. 415-416). Instead it is a translation of the so-called ‘Clodius Tuscus parapegma’, attributed to Ptolemy in at least one Greek manuscript, Vatican, BAV, Ott. gr. 231: Πτολεμαίου ἐπισημασίαι ἀστέρων ἀπλανῶν. As noted by Bianchi (Der Kalender, 10-11), this Greek manuscript (or its model) was certainly the exemplar used by the translator, for it ends incomplete on 23 December, like all manuscripts and editions listed below (with the exception of Schwäbisch Hall 1539, whose editor added the entries for 24-31 December from another Greek manuscript, as these entries correspond to the complete Greek text). The extraordinary editorial success of Inerrantium stellarum significationes is due to the fact that it was published together with Ovid’s Fasti and other works by Ovid. The exceptions are Basel 1533 (astrological compendium), Wittenberg 1534 (stand-alone), Basel 1541 (Ptolemy’s Opera omnia), Basel 1542 (with Ambrogio Calepino’s Latin dictionary), Basel 15512 (Ptolemy’s Opera omnia), Basel 15513 (astrological compendium) and Paris 1630 (Denis Petau’s Uranologion).

Note The early printed editions listed below are those I have been able to see. Additional editions, whose existence is attested by their identification number EDIT16 (Italian) or VD16 (German-speaking), include in chronological order: Florence, Philippus Junta, 1525 (EDIT16: CNCE 53293); Venice, Bernardinus Staginus, 1531 (EDIT16: CNCE 33367); Basel, Henricus Petri, 1544 (VD16 ZV 22164); Rome, Jacobus Tornerius & Jacobus Biricchia, 1586 (EDIT16: CNCE 34457); Rome, Jacobus Tornerius & Bernardus Donangelus, 1586 (EDIT16: CNCE 64436); Venice, Joannes Baptista Bonfadinus, 1587 (EDIT16: CNCE 68945); Venice, Matthaeus Zanettus & Cominus Praesenius, 1594 (EDIT16: CNCE 39076); Rome, Nicolaus Mutius, 1596 (EDIT16: CNCE 60635). It is certain that there are more sixteenth-century editions, in particular printed in France and in the Low Countries, and no attempt has been made to locate post-1600 copies.

Text ‘(ed. Venice 1516) Cla<udii> Ptolemaei inerrantium stellarum significationes per Nicolaum Leonicum e Graeco translatae. Ianuarius. K<al.>. Sol elevari incipit, longiusculi fiunt dies, Aquila et Corona occidunt, tempestatemque efficiunt. IIII. Sol magis ascendit, Cancri medium occidit, ventique ponunt — (December) XI. Aquila exoritur vesperi. X. Capella matutino emergit. Reliquum deficit.’

Bibl. C. Wachsmuth, Iohanni Laurentii Lydi Liber de ostentis et calendaria Graeca omnia, Leipzig, 1897 [first ed. Leipzig, 1863], viii; L. Bianchi, Der Kalender des sogenannten Clodius Tuscus, Heidelberg, 1914, 3-4 and 10-11; F. J. Carmody, Arabic Astronomical and Astrological Sciences in Latin Translation. A Critical Bibliography, Berkeley-Los Angeles, 1956, 17 (no. 6).

Modern ed. None. Critical edition of the Greek text by Wachsmuth, 117-157, and Bianchi, 22-48. Wachsmuth’s Greek text is reproduced, together with an English translation, by D. Lehoux, Astronomy, Weather, and Calendars in the Ancient World. Parapegmata and Related Texts in Classical and Near-Eastern Societies, Cambridge, 2007, 343-375.