Kitāb al-Majisṭī كتاب المجسطي Ptolemy بطلميوس

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The record is made up of Codex A collection of pages, usually gathered into quires, and bound between covers. ; ff. i+183+ii. It was created in 686. It was written in Arabic. The original is part of the British Library: Oriental Manuscripts.

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Content

Books One to Six of the Almagest (كتاب المجسطي), an Arabic version of the Μαθηματικῆς σύνταξις of Ptolemy (Claudius Ptolemaeus; c 90-c 168), thought to have been translated by al-Ḥajjāj ibn Yūsuf ibn Maṭar (786-830). This was the most influential and enduring astronomical text to have survived from the ancient world and its Arabic translation had an immense impact on the late antique and medieval world view in both Christian and Islamic lands.

The copy is defective at the beginning, missing most of the introduction to Book One (القول الأوّل), and beginning abruptly just before the beginning of Section One (النوع الأوّل) of Book One. It is also defective at the end, and the colophon Section at the end of a manuscript text. of Book Six breaks off in the middle of the pious formula حسن عونه, before giving the date (see f. 183v, line 19, transcribed below).

The contents of the volume are as follows:

  • Book One (defective at beginning; ff. 1r-23r);
  • Book Two (ff. 23v-55v);
  • Book Three (ff. 56r-79v);
  • Book Four (ff. 79v-105v);
  • Book Five (ff. 105v-154v);
  • Book Six (ff. 154v-183v).

The first 23 folios of the text have been vocalised, interlinear variant readings and some corrections have been added, and there are extensive marginal notes. In the remaining folios, there is minimal vocalisation and few marginalia. The text is heavily illustrated by diagrams and tables.

The manuscript was completed shortly after 28 Jumādá I 686 (11 July 1287) by an anonymous maghribī scribe (see colophon Section at the end of a manuscript text. of Book Five, f. 154v, line 7, transcribed below).

Begins (defective at beginning; f. 1r, lines 1-4):

القسي التي فيما بين فلك معدل النهار وبين وسط فلك البروج التي هي الميل

النوع الرابع عشر في معرفة أقدار قسي معدل النهار التي تطلع في الكرة

المستقيمة مع قسي فلك البروج المفورضة. وهذا حين أبدأ بالنوع الأول من القول الأول ...

Colophon Section at the end of a manuscript text. : Book Two (f. 55v, lines 18-19):

كمل القول الثاني بحمد الله وحسن عونه

والصلاة على محمد وعلى آله وصحبه وسلم تسليمًا 26 3 686

Colophon Section at the end of a manuscript text. : Book Three (f. 79v, lines 7-8):

كمل القول الثالث بحمد الله وعونه وصلى الله على محمد وعلى آله

وصحبه وسلم تسليمًا. يوم ج 3 من 5 سنة 686

Colophon Section at the end of a manuscript text. : Book Four (f. 105v, lines 2-3):

كمل القول الرابع من كتاب المجسطي بخمد الله تعلى وخسن عونه

وصلى الله على محمد وعلى آله وصحبه وسلم تسليمًا عشية يوم د 11 5 686

Colophon Section at the end of a manuscript text. : Book Five (f. 154v, lines 6-7):

كمل القول الخامس من كتاب المجسطي بحمد الله وحسن عونه وصلى الله

على محمد وعلى آله وصحبه وسلم تسليمًا نصف نهار يوم ز 28 من 5 سنة 686

Ends (f. 183v, lines 13-18):

... وأما في آخر كمال

كسوف الشمس وأول كمال كسوف القمر فيكون موضع قطعة المطلع

إلى ناحية الشمال وأما آخر كمال كسوف القمر فيكون موضع قطعة

المغيب إلى ناحية الشمال وجزء فلك الأفق الذي نميزه من هذا التقويم يكون

هو الجزء الذي إليه يكون ميل الخرافات أحد النيرين المقابلة لأوائل وأواخر

مبادي الكسوفات والكمالات.

Colophon Section at the end of a manuscript text. : Book Six (defective; f. 183v, line 19):

كمل القول السادس من كتاب المجسطي بحمد الله وحسن

Illustrations:

The text contains numerous tables and geometrical diagrams in red and black ink. The tables on ff. 53v-55r have not been filled in; those on ff.18r, 43v, 52v, 53r, 62v, 63r and 183r have been partially filled in; the diagrams on ff. 38v, 39r, 40v, 43r, 47v, 48r, 49r are incomplete; and folios 44r, 85v, 86r, 133v and 157v have been left entirely blank.

Extent and format
Codex A collection of pages, usually gathered into quires, and bound between covers. ; ff. i+183+ii
Physical characteristics

Material: Paper

Dimensions: 271 x 182 mm leaf [181 x 120 mm written]

Foliation: British Museum foliation in pencil

Ruling: Misṭarah; 19 lines per page; vertical spacing 11 lines per 10 cm

Script: Maghribī

Ink: Black ink, with rubrications, overlinings, diagrams, tables and some interlinear notations in red

Decoration: Numerous diagrams and tables, many left incomplete

Binding: Red leather much repaired, with remains of mandorla and double frames of three lines each visible

Condition: Excellent condition; light foxing and some waterstains in lower margin

Marginalia: Numerous on ff. 1r-23v; fewer thereafter

Written in
Arabic in Arabic script
Type
Manuscript

Archive information for this record

Access & Reference

Original held at
British Library: Oriental Manuscripts
Access conditions

Unrestricted

Archive reference
Add MS 7474

History of this record

Date(s)
686 (AH, Hijri qamari)
Provenance

There are three seals in upper margin of f. 1r (from right to left):

  • محمد توفيق الـ... (the rest illegible; 'Muḥammad Tawfīq al-...', undated);
  • محمد أمين الله 1086 ('Muḥammad Amīn Allāh 1086 [AH]', AD 1675-76);
  • Mostly illegible, undated.

Related material

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)

Study of Arabic versions:

  • Kunitzsch, Paul, Der Almagest: die Syntaxi Mathematica des Claudius Ptolemaus in arabisch-lateinischer Überlieferung (Wiesbaden: O. Harrassowitz, 1974)

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Kitāb al-Majisṭī كتاب المجسطي Ptolemy بطلميوس, British Library: Oriental Manuscripts, Add MS 7474, in Qatar Digital Library <https://www.qdl.qa/node/304> [accessed 21 March 2019]

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