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Ptolemaeus Arabus et Latinus

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Prof. Dr. Charles Burnett

Research Partner

General Information

Charles Burnett studied for the BA in Classical in Cambridge University (May 1972) and achieved a PhD in Modern and Medieval Languages in the same university in June 1976. Having been a Junior Research Fellow at St John’s College, Cambridge, 1976-9, and a Senior Research Fellow, Warburg Institute, 1979-82, he was Leverhulme Research Fellow in the Department of History, at the University of Sheffield (1982-4 and 1985), interrupted by a year as Member of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton (1984-5). He was appointed Lecturer in the History of Islamic Influences in Europe at the Warburg Institute, University of London, in April 1985, and promoted to Professor in 1999.

The research on the transmission of texts, techniques and artefacts from the Arab world has led Charles to study Arabic and Latin manuscripts of texts on philosophy, arithmetic, geometry, astrology, astronomy, medicine and magic. He has documented the lives of the Latin translators, their motives, their relationships with Arabic/Islamic culture, and with scholarly communities in the West. He has studied the language of the translations, the role of glosses and commentaries, and the contributions of the translations to European learning, especially in the universities.


Short Curriculum Vitae

Among his major publications are:

The Introduction of Arabic Learning into England (1997) Arabic into Latin in the Middle Ages: The Translators and their Intellectual and Social Context (2009) Numerals and Arithmetic in the Middle Ages (2010) 


Hermann of Carinthia’s De Essentiis (1982)

Scientific Weather Forecasting in the Middle Ages: The Writings of Al-Kindi (with Gerrit Bos, 2000)

Abū Ma‘shar’s On Historical Astrology (2000) and Great Introduction to Astrology (2018), both with Keiji Yamamoto.

A full list of publications is available at