Fī raf‘ al-ashyā’ al-thaqīlah في رفع الأشياء الثقيلة Hero of Alexandria إيرن الإسكندراني

Add MS 23390, ff 3r-50r

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The record is made up of ff. 3r-50r. It was created in 17th century. It was written in Arabic. The original is part of the British Library: Oriental Manuscripts.

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Arabic version of the Mechanica (Μηχανικά) by the mathematician and engineer Hero of Alexandria (Ἥρων ὁ Ἀλεξανδρεύς; إيرن; fl. 1st century). Only fragments of the original Greek text survive. The beginnings of Chapters Two and Three (ff. 18r, line 2 and 39v, line 2) give the title of the Arabic version as ' On Lifting Heavy Things (في رفع الأشياء الثقيلة)', while in the colophon Section at the end of a manuscript text. of Chapter Three (f. 50r, line 3) it is given as ' On Hauling the Heavy (في جر الثقيل)'. This copy is defective at the beginning, missing the first three paragraphs of the printed edition, and beginning with paragraph four ( Les mécaniques, Carra de Vaux, ed. and trans., 1988, p. 5 of Arabic text).

The treatise contains numerous diagrams illustrating machines for moving stones and other heavy objects.

It is divided into three chapters:

Chapter One (المقالة الأولى; ff. 3r-17v [defective at beginning]);

Chapter Two (المقالة الثانية [mistakenly called (sic) المقالة الثالث in its colophon Section at the end of a manuscript text. ]; ff. 18r-38v);

Chapter Three (المقالة الثالثة; ff. 39v-50r)


Begins (f. 3r, lines 1-2, defective at beginning):

فلتكن الدوائر غير المتساوية وليكن مراكبها على علامتي أ ب وليكن أعظم الدوائرتين

الدائرة التي مركزها على علامة أ ففي هذه الدوائر لا يتم الترتيب الذي في الدوائر المتساوية

Ends (f. 49v, line 21-f. 50r, lines 1-3):

... فيكون قد

حفرنا اللولب الإثنى الحفر الذي تريد عمله وبعد بعد (!) صورة الشكل فراغنا

من جميع المقالة الثالثة من كتابنا هذا وهو الكتاب والصورة في الصفحة

الأخرى تمت المقالة الثالثة من كتاب إيرن في جر الثقيل

Colophon Section at the end of a manuscript text. (f. 50r, lines 3-7):

... وتم الكتاب

وكلمت (!) أشكاله بجميعا (!) بحمد الله تعالى

وحسن توفيقي وصلواته

على سيدنا محمد وآله


Extent and format
ff. 3r-50r
Written in
Arabic in Arabic script
Manuscript item

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Original held at
British Library: Oriental Manuscripts
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Archive reference
Add MS 23390, ff 3r-50r

History of this record

17th century (CE, Gregorian)

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Edition and translation:

  • Hero of Alexandria, Les mécaniques: ou, l'élévateur des corps lourds. Héron d'Alexandrie; texte arabe de Qusṭā Ibn Lūqā, B. Carra de Vaux, ed. and trans., (Paris : Les Belles Lettres, 1988)

Edition and translation of fragmentary original Greek text:

  • Hero of Alexandria, Opera quae supersunt omnia; Vol 2-Fasc I; Mechanica et Catoptrica , Wilhelm Schmidt, ed., Ludwig Leo Michael Nix, trans., (Leipzig: Teubner, 1900)


  • van de Velde, Hans, 'From Qusṭā b. Lūqā to Carra de Vaux. On the History of the Edition and Translation of the Barulcus, also called 'Mechanic', by Heron of Alexandria' Journal of Islamic Manuscripts , 1 (2010), 95-100

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Fī raf‘ al-ashyā’ al-thaqīlah في رفع الأشياء الثقيلة Hero of Alexandria إيرن الإسكندراني, British Library: Oriental Manuscripts, Add MS 23390, ff 3r-50r, in Qatar Digital Library <https://www.qdl.qa/archive/81055/vdc_100023587816.0x000001> [accessed 28 February 2024]

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