Ptolemaeus Arabus et Latinus

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Work C.1.30.4

Theon of Alexandria
〈Commentum in Almagesti〉 (tr. Giovanni Battista Teofilo)

This translation, which includes Theon’s preface and Books I-IX (with Book III in Nicolaus Cabasila’s version and Book V in Pappus’s version, see C.1.30), was made by Giovanni Battista Teofilo (Johannes Baptista Theophilo), physician at Urbino and a student of Federico Commandino. The translation is dated 1571 by Vincenzo Viviani, in a note added on the last page of Teofilo’s autograph copy (MS Paris, BnF, lat. 7263), which Viviani owned and gave to Louis XIV in 1686. However, the translation was apparently not yet completed in 1574, for, in a letter dated 30 July 1574, Commandino asked Teofilo whether he had finished it. This letter is extant in the same MS Paris, BnF, lat. 7263, f. VIIIr-IXv (see Rose, 300 and edition, 306-307), among other documents which highlight the history of the text. One of these documents, an anonymous letter to Jacomo Tassoni, nephew of Teofilo, dated 1595, informs us about the prospect of publishing the translation (f. IVr-Vr, see Rose, 300). In 1717, a copy of the autograph was made for Pope Clement XI. This copy was later acquired by Baldassarre Boncompagni (=MS ZZ – Unknown location, Boncompagni, 219), who also had in his library a copy made in 1658 by Jacopo Tassono, great grandson of Teofilo – in all likelihood a different person from the above-mentioned Jacomo Tassoni (=MS ZZ – Unknown location, Boncompagni, 218) (see Rome and Rose, 301 and n. 8). Commandino also had his own copy of the text, or at least part of it, now MS Urbino, BU, Fondo del Comune – Busta 120 (28).

Text ‘(Paris, BnF, lat. 7263) Persaepe ab auditoribus admonitus (sus. Frequentibus auditorum exhortationibus impulsus), mi (?) Epifani fili, ut in (sus. ad) ea quae in Mathematica Ptolemaei constructione obscura est — angulus eorundem erit 25. 21. 33.’

Bibl. N. Halma, Commentaire de Théon d’Alexandrie sur le premier livre de la composition mathématique de Ptolémée, Paris, 1821, x-xiii; A. Rome, Commentaires de Pappus et de Théon d’Alexandrie sur l’Almageste, I, Vaticano, 1931, vi-vii; P. L. Rose, ‘Plusieurs manuscrits autographes de Federico Commandino à la Bibliothèque Nationale de Paris’, Revue d’Histoire des Sciences 24 (1971), 299-307: 300-301; M. N. Boyer, ‘Pappus Alexandrinus’, in Catalogus translationum et commentariorum: Mediaeval and Renaissance Latin Translations and Commentaries, eds P. O. Kristeller et al., II, Washington D.C., 1971, 212.

Modern ed. ---