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Ptolemy’s Science of the Stars in the Middle Ages

D. Juste, B. van Dalen, D. N. Hasse, C. Burnett (eds.)
approx. X+500 p., 11 b/w ill. + 51 geometrical diagrams, 24 b/w tables, 156 x 234 mm, 2020
ISBN: 978-2-503-58639-7
Languages: English
The publication is in production.The publication is in production. (05/2020)
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This volume offers 16 contributions dedicated to the transmission and influence of Ptolemy’s astronomy and astrology in the Islamic world and in Christian Europe from the Middle Ages to the seventeenth century.

Claudius Ptolemy (c. 100-170 AD) is one of the most influential scholars of all time. While he is also the author of treatises on geography, optics and harmonics, his fame primarily stems from two works on the science of the stars, dealing with mathematical astronomy (the Almagest) and astrology (the Tetrabiblos). The Almagest and the Tetrabiblos remained the fundamental texts on the science of the stars for some 1500 years. Both were translated several times into Arabic and Latin and were heavily commented upon, glossed, discussed, and also criticised and improved upon, in the Islamic world and in Christian Europe. Yet, the reception of Ptolemy in medieval cultures is still to a large extent a terra incognita of the history of science. The Arabic and Latin versions of the Almagest and the Tetrabiblos are for the most part unavailable in modern editions, their manuscripts remain largely unexplored and, generally speaking, their history until the seventeenth century has never been systematically investigated.

This volume gathers together 16 contributions dealing with various aspects of the reception of Ptolemy’s astronomy and astrology in the Islamic world and in Christian Europe up to the seventeenth century. Contributions are by José Bellver, Jean-Patrice Boudet, Josep Casulleras, Bojidar Dimitrov, Dirk Grupe, Paul Hullmeine, Alexander Jones, Richard L. Kremer, Y. Tzvi Langermann, Ma José Parra, H. Darrel Rutkin, Michael H. Shank, Nathan Sidoli, Carlos Steel, Johannes Thomann and Henry Zepeda.

David Juste is Research Leader of the Ptolemaeus Arabus et Latinus Project at the Bayerische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Munich
Benno van Dalen is Research Leader of the Ptolemaeus Arabus et Latinus Project at the Bayerische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Munich
Dag Nikolaus Hasse is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Würzburg
Charles Burnett is Professor of the History of Islamic Influences in Europe at the Warburg Institute, London

Table of Contents
Introduction by the Editors
1. The Ancient Ptolemy (Alexander Jones, Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, New York University)
2. Mathematical Methods in Ptolemy’s Analemma (Nathan Sidoli, Waseda University, Tokyo)
3. A Note on Ptolemy’s So-called Ninth Sphere (Paul Hullmeine, Bayerische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Munich)
4. ‘Fort recte’: Witnesses to the Text of Ptolemy’s Tetrabiblos in the Near Eastern Transmission (Bojidar Dimitrov, University of Bologna)
5. Making a Catalogue of Arabic Ptolemaic Manuscripts (Ma José Parra, private scholar)
6. The Oldest Translation of the Almagest Made for al-Ma’mūn by al-Ḥasan ibn Quraysh: A Text Fragment in Ibn al-Ṣalāḥ’s Critique on al-Fārābī’s Commentary (Johannes Thomann, University of Zurich)
7. Thābit ibn Qurra’s Version of the Almagest and Its Reception in Arabic Astronomical Commentaries (Dirk Grupe, private scholar)
8. Revamping Ptolemy’s Proof for the Sphericity of the Heavens: Three Arabic Commentaries on Almagest I.3 (Y. Tzvi Langermann, Bar-Ilan University)
9. The Arabic Versions of Jābir b. Aflaḥ’s al-Kitāb fī l-Hay’a (José Bellver, University of Louvain-la-Neuve)
10. The Astrological Computations Attributed to Ptolemy and Hermes in Medieval Arabic Sources (Josep Casulleras, University of Barcelona)
11. Glosses on the Almagest by Campanus of Novara and Others in Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, lat. 7256 (Henry Zepeda, Wyoming Catholic College)
12. A Discussion on Ptolemy’s Authority. Henry Bate’s Prologue to His Translation of Ibn Ezra’s Book of the World (Carlos Steel, University of Leuven)
13. The Medieval Latin Versions of Pseudo-Ptolemy’s Centiloquium: A Survey (Jean-Patrice Boudet, University of Orléans)
14. Regiomontanus versus George of Trebizond on Planetary Order, Distances, and Orbs (Almagest 9.1) (Michael H. Shank, University of Wisconsin)
15. Optimus Malorum: Giovanni Pico della Mirandola’s Complex and Highly Interested Use of Ptolemy in the Disputationes adversus astrologiam divinatricem (1496): A Preliminary Survey (H. Darrel Rutkin, University Ca’ Foscari, Venice)
16. Longomontanus on Mars: The Last Ptolemaic Mathematical Astronomer Creates a Theory (Richard L. Kremer, Dartmouth College)
Index of Names
Index of Manuscripts
Series Branch:
Ptolemaeus Arabus et Latinus
Ptolemaeus Arabus et Latinus - Studies
Interest Classification:
Sciences & Technology
History of Science
Medieval & Renaissance History (c.400-1500)
Medieval European history (400-1500) : main subdisciplines
Cultural & intellectual history

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