Book Series Contact and Transmission, vol. 4

Mastering Nature in the Medieval Arabic and Latin Worlds

Studies in Heritage and Transfer of Arabic Science in Honour of Charles Burnett

Ann Giletti, Dag Nikolaus Hasse (eds)

  • Pages: 292 p.
  • Size:156 x 234 mm
  • Illustrations:8 b/w, 9 col., 6 tables b/w.
  • Language(s):English, Latin, Arabic
  • Publication Year:2023

Temporarily Out of Stock
  • ISBN: 978-2-503-60448-0
  • Hardback
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  • ISBN: 978-2-503-60449-7
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Brings together studies on medieval Arabic science and European engagement with it, with themes ranging from climate and geography to astrology and magic.


Ann Giletti (Oxford, UK) is a medieval intellectual historian focusing on Latin reception of Aristotelian philosophy, science-religion conflicts and heresy, and philosophy in inter-faith dialogue.

Dag Nikolaus Hasse (Würzburg, Germany) is a historian of philosophy focusing on Arabic and Latin philosophy and science and the transmission of knowledge from Arabic to Latin circles.


Understanding and influencing nature were preeminent aims of medieval Arabic science, and attracted European fascination with its accomplishments. This volume draws together studies on central themes, presenting a world of enquiry into the earth and the heavens, and ways to harness this information for divination and the occult sciences. It gives examples of how Arabic science travelled to Latin Europe through texts and instruments, and how it underwent transformation there as diverse fields were put to use and reinterpreted. The studies introduce a range of learning and perspectives: astrology conducted with planetary lots; a geography where features of the earth's surface move over time; knowledge of the elements and climates which Adelard of Bath learned from Arab masters; Avicenna’s meteorology explaining the extremes of fire storms and catastrophic floods; debates about the eternity or creation of the world; evaluations of magic as a rational, intellectual discipline, or alternatively a danger needing censorship and linked to female witchcraft; and a precious astrolabe which in the Renaissance was reused and inspired new theoretical writings. Together these studies sketch a landscape of medieval Arabic science and Latin European engagement with this new frontier.



Abū Maʿshar and the Tradition of Planetary Lots in Astrology —DORIAN GIESELER GREENBAUM

The Ikhwān al-Ṣafāʾ on the Ṣūrat al-Arḍ: A Geography in Motion— GODEFROID DE CALLATAŸ

Adelard of Bath on Climates and the Elements: An Adaptive View on Nature — PEDRO-MANTAS ESPAÑA

Avicenna’s On Floods (De diluviis) in Latin Translation: Critical Edition with an English Translation of the Arabic — DAG NIKOLAUS HASSE

Latin Scholastics on the Eternity of the World and Eternal Creation on the Part of the Creature: Did They Amount to the Same Thing? — ANN GILETTI

Whitewash for ‘Black Magic’: Justifications and Arguments in Favour of Magic in the Latin Picatrix — DAVID PORRECA

Censorship, maleficia, and the Medieval Readers of the Liber vaccae — SOPHIE PAGE

The Transmission of Materialized Knowledge: A Medieval Saphea with Islamic Projections, Re-engraved in the Renaissance — KOENRAD VAN CLEEMPOEL

Bibliography of Works by Charles S. F. Burnett