Taḥrīr kitāb al-majisṭī تحرير كتاب المجسطي Ptolemy بطلميوس Ṭūsī, Naṣīr al-Dīn Muḥammad ibn Muḥammad طوسي، نصير الدين محمد بن محمد

Royal MS 16 A VIII

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The record is made up of Codex A collection of pages, usually gathered into quires, and bound between covers. ; ff. iv+192+iv. It was created in 15th-16th century. It was written in Arabic. The original is part of the British Library: Western Manuscripts.

About this record


The Almagest (كتاب المجسطي), an Arabic version of the Μαθηματικῆς σύνταξις of Ptolemy (Claudius Ptolemaeus; c 90-c 168), in the annotated edition (تحرير) of Naṣīr al-Dīn Muḥammad ibn Muḥammad al-Ṭūsī (نصير الدين محمد بن محمد الطوسي; d. 1274). This was the most influential and enduring astronomical text to have survived from the ancient world and its Arabic translation, and al-Ṭūsī's annotated edition in particular, had an immense impact on the medieval world view in both Christian and Islamic lands.

The text is divided into thirteen chapters (مقالات) further subdivided into sections (فصول), and contains numerous diagrams and tables.


  • Chapter One (المقالة الأولى; ff. 2r-23r);
  • Chapter Two (المقالة الثانية; ff. 23r-39v);
  • Chapter Three (المقالة الثالثة; ff. 39v-51v);
  • Chapter Four (المقالة الرابعة; ff. 51v-67v);
  • Chapter Five (المقالة الخامسة; ff. 67v-85r);
  • Chapter Six (المقالة السادسة; ff. 85r-100v);
  • Chapter Seven (المقالة السابعة; ff. 100v-114v);
  • Chapter Eight (المقالة الثامنة; ff. 115r-130v);
  • Chapter Nine (المقالة التاسعة; ff. 130v-150r);
  • Chapter Ten (المقالة العاشرة; ff. 150v-155v);
  • Chapter Eleven (المقالة الحادية عشر; ff. 155v-169r);
  • Chapter Twelve (المقالة الثانية عشر; ff. 169r-178v);
  • Chapter Thirteen (المقالة الثالثة عشر; ff. 178v-191v).

Begins (f. 1v, lines 2-9):

أحمد الله مبدأ كلّ مبدأ وغاية كلّ غاية ومفيض كلّ خير وولي كلّ ميدانه

وأرجو حسن توفيقه في كلّ بداية ونهاية وأصلّي على عباده المخصوصين

بالعناية والدراية سيّما على محمد وآله الموسومين بالنبوة والولاية

المنقذين من كلّ عماية وغواية وبعد فقد كنت برتبه (؟) من الزمان

عان ما على أن أحرّر لنفسي ولطلبته العلم من الإخوان كتاب المجسطي

المنسوب إلى بطلميوس القلوذي الذي هو الدستور العظيم لأصحاب

صناعة الهيئة والتنجيم تحريرًا لا يفوته مقاصد ذلك الكتاب النظرية

ومناهجه العليّة ...

Ends (f. 191v, lines 5-10):

... وأقول وإذ وفقني

الله تعالى أيضًا لا تمام ما قصدته وإنجان ما وعدته

فلا قطع الكلام حامدًا له على آلائه ومصليًّا

على جميع أوليائه خصوصًا على خاتم

أنبيائه والبردة من آله وأحبّائه

Extent and format
Codex A collection of pages, usually gathered into quires, and bound between covers. ; ff. iv+192+iv
Physical characteristics

Physical characteristics:

Material: Paper (beige with some light red leaves)

Dimensions: 199 x 123 mm leaf [127 x 59 mm written]

Foliation: Pagination in pencil of even-numbered pages in Western Arabic numerals (above) and British Museum foliation in pencil (below)

Ruling: none visible; 23 lines per page; vertical spacing 18 lines per 10 cm

Script: Naskh

Ink: Black ink, with headings, tables and figures in gold and some table text in red

Decoration: Text area on all pages bordered in gold; frontispiece in blue, green, red, black and gold (f. 2v)

Binding: British Museum binding in brown leather with gilt-tooled double border and decorations on edges of boards; initials M.B. (Museum Britannicum) gilt-tooled on left board; marbled paper pastedowns

Condition: Excellent; some water damage and foxing towards back of volume

Marginalia: Interlinear Latin glosses in pencil (ff. 1v-2r)

Seals: f. 1r

Written in
Arabic in Arabic script

Archive information for this record

Access & Reference

Original held at
British Library: Western Manuscripts
Access conditions


Archive reference
Royal MS 16 A VIII

History of this record

15th-16th century (CE, Gregorian)
  • Semi-legible seal, undated (f. 1r);
  • A note reading 'This booke belonged to Sultan Ahmed, ye Turkish Empr, and cost about an 100 crownes at ye [?] first' (f. 1r).
Immediate source of acquisition

Presented to the British Museum by George II in 1757 as part of the Old Royal Library.

Related material

Finding aids

Cureton, William and Charles Rieu, Catalogus codicum manuscriptorum orientalium qui in Museo Britannico asservantur. Pars secunda, codices arabicos amplectens (London: The British Museum 1846-71), Item 391, pp. 187

Select Bibliography

Edition of Greek original:

  • Claudii Ptolemaei Opera quae exstant omnia, vol. 1, pt 1, Syntaxis mathematica. Libros I-VI continens , ed. by Johan Ludvig Heiberg (Leipzig: Teubner, 1898)

Translation of Greek original:

  • Ptolemy's Almagest , trans. by G.J. Toomer (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1998)


  • Kunitzsch, Paul, Der Almagest: die Syntaxi Mathematica des Claudius Ptolemaus in arabisch-lateinischer Überlieferung (Wiesbaden: O. Harrassowitz, 1974)
  • Ragep, F. Jamil, 'Ṭūsī: Abū Jaʿfar Muḥammad ibn Muḥammad ibn al-Ḥasan Naṣīr al-Dīn al-Ṭūsī' in The Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers , Thomas Hockey et al., eds., (New York: Springer, 2007) pp. 1153-55

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Taḥrīr kitāb al-majisṭī تحرير كتاب المجسطي Ptolemy بطلميوس Ṭūsī, Naṣīr al-Dīn Muḥammad ibn Muḥammad طوسي، نصير الدين محمد بن محمد, British Library: Western Manuscripts, Royal MS 16 A VIII, in Qatar Digital Library <https://www.qdl.qa/archive/81055/vdc_100000001598.0x0000f0> [accessed 20 July 2024]

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