Three treatises on musical organs by Mūrisṭus مورسطس

Or 9649

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The record is made up of Codex A collection of pages, usually gathered into quires, and bound between covers. ; ff. iii+13+xxii. It was created in 19th century. It was written in Arabic. The original is part of the British Library: Oriental Manuscripts.

About this record


Three technical treatises (رسالات) on the construction of musical organs attributed to author Mūrisṭus (مورسطس), variously and tentatively identified as Ariston (the dedicatee of the Pneumatica of Philo of Byzantium, d. c 220 BC), Ameristos (an early Greek mathematician mentioned in Proclus' [d. 485] commentary on Euclid's Elements ), and Ctesibius (d. c 222 BC; see Farmer, Organ of the Ancients , 1931, pp. 16-20). The treatises have been edited by Cheikho ('Thalāth maqālāt ‘arabīyah al-munaghghimah', 1906) and the first two treatises have been translated into English by Farmer ( Organ of the Ancients , [treatise two] pp. 63-70 and [treatise one] 128-135).


  • (1) Ṣan‘at al-arghīn al-būqī (صنعة الأرغين البوقي; ff. 1v-5r);
  • (2) Ṣan‘at al-arghīn al-zamarī (صنعة الأرغين الزمري; ff. 6v-10v);
  • (3) Ṣan‘at al-juljul (صنعة الجلجل; ff. 11v-13r).

One diagram at the end of each treatise: ff. 5r, 10v and 13r. Folios 1r, 5v, 6r and 11r are blank.

Extent and format
Codex A collection of pages, usually gathered into quires, and bound between covers. ; ff. iii+13+xxii
Physical characteristics

Material: Paper

Dimensions: 240 x 174 mm leaf [166 x 80 mm written]

Foliation: British Museum foliation in pencil

Ruling: Misṭarah ; 13 lines per page; vertical spacing 8 lines per 10 cm

Script: Naskh

Ink: Black ink, with rubricated titles, headings and references to numbers in diagrams, and diagrams in red

Binding: British Museum binding

Condition: Excellent condition

Written in
Arabic in Arabic script

Archive information for this record

Access & Reference

Original held at
British Library: Oriental Manuscripts
Access conditions


Archive reference
Or 9649

History of this record

19th century (CE, Gregorian)
Immediate source of acquisition

Purchased from Dr A.S. Yahuda, 10 October 1925

Related material

Select Bibliography


  • Cheikho, Louis, 'Thalāth maqālāt ‘arabīyah fī al-ālāt al-munaghghimah', Al-Machriq , 9, (1906), 18-28

Translation and study:

  • Farmer, Henry George, The Organ of the Ancients from Eastern Sources: Hebrew, Syriac, Arabic (London: William Reeves, 1931)

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Three treatises on musical organs by Mūrisṭus مورسطس, British Library: Oriental Manuscripts, Or 9649, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 4 October 2023]

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