Stars and Numbers: Astronomy and Mathematics in the Medieval Arab and Western Worlds, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Stars and Numbers

Astronomy and Mathematics in the Medieval Arab and Western Worlds, 1st Edition

By Paul Kunitzsch


360 pages

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Hardback: 9780860789680
pub: 2004-09-20
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The studies brought together in this second collection of articles by Paul Kunitzsch continue the lines of research evident in his previous volume (The Arabs and the Stars). The Arabic materials discussed stem mostly from the early period of the development of Arabic-Islamic astronomy up to about 1000AD, while the Latin materials belong to the first stage of Western contact with Arabic science at the end of the 10th century, and to the peak of Arabic-Latin translation activity in 12th century Spain. The first set of articles focuses upon Ptolemy in the Arabic-Latin tradition, followed by further ones on Arabic astronomy and its reception in the West; the final group looks at details of the transmission of Euclid's Elements.


'Many the of the brightest stars in the heavens today have Arabic names - testimony to the great influence of medieval Arab and Islamic astronomy on European science… Paul Kunitzsch has done more to document and study this important influence than almost any other living scholar… Some of Kunitzsch's most interesting work is in German and published in hard-to-find journals, but the Variorum series helps give his studies wider exposure.' Saudi Aramco World

Table of Contents

Contents: Preface; Ptolemy in the Arabic-Latin Tradition: Gerard's translations of astronomical texts, especially the Almagest; Gerhard von Cremona als Ãœbersetzer des Almagest; Ãœber einige Spuren der syrischen Almagestübersetzung; Die astronomische Terminologie im Almagest; A hitherto unknown Arabic manuscript of the Almagest; The second Arabic manuscript of Ptolemy's Planisphaerium; The role of al-Andalus in the transmission of Ptolemy's Planisphaerium and Almagest; Fragements of Ptolemy's Planisphaerium in an Early Latin Translation; Das Arabische als Vermittler und Anreger europäischer Wissenschaftssprache; Erfahrungen und Beobachtungen bei der Arbeit mit Texten der arabisch-lateinischen Ãœbersetzungsliteratur (Mathematik/Astronomie). Arabic Astronomy: The chapter on the fixed stars in Zaradusht's Kitab al-Mawalid; The astronomer al-Sufi as a source for Ulug Beg's Star Catalogue (1437); Al-Sufi and the astrolabe stars; An Arabic celestial globe from the Schmidt Collection, Vienna. Arabic Astronomy in the West: Les relations scientifiques entre l'Occident et le monde arabe à l'époque de Gerbert; Traces of a 10th-century Spanish-Arabic astrolabe; La table des climats dans le corpus des plus anciens textes latins sur l'astrolabe; The stars on the rete of the so-called 'Carolingian astrolabe'; Three dubious stars in the oldest European table of astrolabe stars; The chapter on the stars in an early European treatise on the use of the astrolabe (ca. AD 1000); A note on Ascelinus' Table of Astrolabe Stars; On six kinds of astrolabe: a hitherto unknown Latin treatise; Zur Problematik der Astrolabsterne: eine weitere unbrauchbare Sterntafel; Coronelli's great celestial globe made for Louis XIV: the nomenclature; Rätselhafte Sternnamen. Mathematics And Numbers: Findings in some texts of Euclid's Elements (mediaeval transmission, Arabo-Latin); 'The Peacock's Tail': on the names of some theorems of Euclid's Elements; Letters in geometrical diagrams, Greek - Arabic - Latin; The transmission of Hindu-Arabic numerals reconsidered; Indexes.

About the Author

Paul Kunitzsch is Emeritus Professor of Arabic Studies in the Institute of Semitic Studies, the University of Munich, Germany.

About the Series

Variorum Collected Studies

The first title in the Variorum Collected Studies series was published in 1970. Since then well over 1000 titles have appeared in the series, and it has established a well-earned international reputation for the publication of key research across a whole range of subjects within the fields of history.

The history of the medieval world remains central to the series, with Byzantine studies a particular speciality, but the range of titles extends from Hellenistic philosophy and the history of the Roman empire and early Christianity, through the Renaissance and Reformation, up to the 20th century. Islamic Studies forms another major strand as do the histories of science, technology and medicine.

Each title in the Variorum Collected Studies series brings together for the first time a selection of articles by a leading authority on a particular subject. These studies are reprinted from a vast range of learned journals, Festschrifts and conference proceedings. They make available research that is scattered, even inaccessible in all but the largest and most specialized libraries. With a new introduction and index, and often with new notes and previously unpublished material, they constitute an essential resource. 

For further information about contributing to the series please contact Michael Greenwood at [email protected]

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General