Project icon: lavishly furnished initial letter with a painting of Ptolemy using an astrolab.

Ptolemaeus Arabus et Latinus

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Istanbul, Süleymaniye Kütüphanesi, Ayasofya 4830

[Colour scans of the entire collection, including front cover and binding.]

Collection: Arabic. Date:

Shaʿbān 626 to Rajab 627/1229-30; the Ptolemaic part was copied in Ramaḍān 626/July-August 1229.


Damascus; unknown scribe.


seal of Sultan Maḥmūd I (r. 1730-1754, 2r); statement of endowment in favour of Sultan Maḥmūd I, received by Aḥmad Shaykh Zāda, inspector of endowments “in the two Holy Shrines”, with his seal (2r); ownership statement by Ibn ʿAlī ibn al-Ḥusayn ibn Jarawba al-Shībānī (2r); undated seal of ownership of Sultan Bāyazid II (r. 1481-1512) (2r); current shelfmark (twice) and microfilm number 1684 (2r).


paper, I+235+Ia ff. (foliated with both Hindu-Arabic numerals in black ink and European-Arabic numerals in pencil, running entirely parallel; quire numbers 3 to 8 on ff. 11r, 19r, …, 51r). A single clear naskh hand in black; book headings and titles in Kufic (‘early ʿAbbāsid’) script, some work and chapter titles in red; mostly dotted ductus. Extensive marginalia in another hand in black between ff. 87r-108v and 162v-180v, otherwise hardly any marginalia. A third hand (same as the European-Arabic foliation) adds complete titles in pencil (ff. 183r, 191r, 200v, 228r). Diagram lines in red with letters in black. Moisture and severe mold stains on the edges, text not affected. 23 lines per page. Decorated with illuminated titlepieces filled with arabesque patterns (provided for most books in red, gold and black, displaying Mamluk characteristics). Brown leather cover pasted on a dark leather cover of a later period, decorated with a central blind tooled mandorla and pendants surrounded by an elaborated frame (13th c., probably Mamluk).


mathematics and astronomy. — Index: table of contents in a different hand (1r); Apollonius, Kitāb fī Qaṭʿ al-khuṭūṭ ʿalā l-nisab, incomplete (2r-52v); Ptolemaica (53r-80v); al-Kindī, Risāla fī Istikhrāj al-aʿdād al-muḍmara (81r-86v); unknown mathematical work (86v-89r); Agathon, Kitāb al-Mafrūḍāt (89v-102v), fragment of Theodosius, Kitāb fī l-Ukar (102v, not listed in the table of contents); Agathon (?), Risāla fī l-Mafrūḍāt (103r-108v, not listed in the table of contents); Thābit ibn Qurra, Kitāb fī l-Aʿdād al-mutaḥābba (110r-121v); Ibn al-Ṣalāḥ, Sabʿ maqālāt (122r-160v); al-Qūhī, Rasāʾil handasiyya (161r-182v); collection of anonymous aʿmāl, some incomplete (182v-200r, see Charette-Schmidl); al-Ṣabāḥ, Risāla fī ʿAmal Muḥammad ibn al-Ṣabāḥ li-l-sāʿāt al-mabsūṭa bi-l-handasa fī ayy iqlīm aradta (200v-204r); al-Kindī, Risāla fī Īḍāḥ wijdān abʿād mā bayna al-nāẓir wa-marākiz aʿmidat al-jibāl wa-ʿulū aʿmidatihā wa-ʿilm ʿumq al-ābār wa-ʿurūḍ al-anhār wa-ghayr dhālika wa-hiya tusammā mūrsīṭas (204v-210v); Abū Bakr ibn Abī ʿĀbas, Kitāb fī Akhadh al-abʿād (210v-214v); Ibn Ḥātim al-Nayrīzī, Kitāb fī Maʿrifat ālāt tuʿlam bihā abʿād […] (215r-224v); Abū Muḥammad al-Rāzī, Kitāb fī Akhadh al-abʿād (225r-227v); anonymous, Maʿrifat saʿat al-mashriq fī kull balad ʿalā mā ʿamala Baṭlamiyūs min quṭr al-falak […] (228v-231r); al-Khwārizmī, ʿAmal al-sāʿāt fī basīṭ al-rukhāma (231v-235r). Blank: 1v, 228r, 235v.


Max Krause, ‘Stambuler Handschriften islamischer Mathematiker’, Quellen und Studien zur Geschichte der Mathematik, Astronomie und Physik, Abteilung B: Studien 3 (1936), pp. 437–532, here p. 449; Franz Rosenthal, ‘Al-Kindī and Ptolemy’, in Studi orientalistici in onore di Giorgio Levi della Vida, Roma: Istituto per l’Oriente, 1956, vol. II, pp. 436–456, here pp. 436-437; Yvonne Dold-Samplonius, Kitāb al-Mafrūḍāt li-Aqāṭun. Book of Assumptions by Aqāṭun. text-critical edition, PhD dissertation, University of Amsterdam, 1977, p. 1; Ashraf A. Akhmedov, Jamal al-Dabbāgh and Boris A. Rozenfeld, ‘Istanbul Manuscripts of al-Khwārizmī’s Treatises’, Erdem 3/7 (1987), pp. 163–186; François Charette and Petra G. Schmidl, ‘Al-Khwārizmī and Practical Astronomy in Ninth-Century Baghdad. The Earliest Extant Corpus of Texts in Arabic on the Astrolabe and Other Portable Instruments’, SCIAMVS 5 (2004), pp. 101–198, here pp. 107-109; Islamic Scientific Manuscripts Initiative, ‘Ayasofya_4830’, (consulted on 14 December 2020), (consulted on 4 June 2020).


\53v\ قال يعقوب بن إسحق الكندي لأحوال ولا قوّة إلّا بالله وحده لا شريك له. كتب يعقوب ابن إسحق الكندي إلى ابنه أحمد بن يعقوب في الصناعة العظمى التي أخذ من حدد رسمه منها اليونانيون الكتاب المنسوب إلى بطلميوس القلوذي المسمّى المجسطي — \80v\ فإذ قدّمنا ما يجب تقديمه من هذه الصناعة ممّا هو كالأوائل لها فلنكمل هذا الفنّ من كتابنا ولنتله بما يتلوا ذلك تلوًّا طبيعيًا.

= al-Kindī, Kitāb fī l-Ṣināʿa al-ʿuẓmā (C.1.0860). — Title: Kitāb Yaʿqūb ibn Isḥaq al-Kindī fī l-Ṣināʿa al-ʿuẓmā, 1r, 53r — Index (cf. Rosenthal): author’s preface with Chapter 1, 53v-58r; Chapter 2, 58r-58v; Chapter 3, 58v-60r; Chapter 4, 60r-69r; Chapter 5, 69r-75r; Chapter 6, 75r-76v; Chapter 7, 76v-79r; Chapter 8, 79r-80v; scribal colophon. Only few marginal corrections, no glosses.