The Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers

2007 Edition
| Editors: Thomas Hockey, Virginia Trimble, Thomas R. Williams, Katherine Bracher, Richard A. Jarrell, Jordan D. MarchéII, F. Jamil Ragep, JoAnn Palmeri, Marvin Bolt

Ulugh Beg: Muḥammad Ṭaraghāy ibn Shāhrukh ibn Tīmūr

  • Benno van Dalen
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-0-387-30400-7_1401

BornSulṭāniyya, (Iran), 22 March 1394

Diednear Samarqand, (Uzbekistan), 27 October 1449

Ulugh Beg (Turkish for “great prince”) was governor of Transoxiana and Turkestan and, during the last 2 years of his life, Timurid Sultan. However, he is mostly remembered as a patron of mathematics and astronomy. In Samarqand, he founded a school and the famous astronomical observatory, where the most extensive observations of planets and fixed stars at any Islamic observatory were made. Ulugh Beg is associated with a Persian astronomical handbook (zīj) that stands out for the accuracy with which its tables were computed.

Ulugh Beg was the first‐born son of Shāhrukh (youngest son of the infamous conqueror Tīmūr or Tamerlane) and his first wife Gawharshād. He was raised at the court of his grandfather and, at the age of 10, was married to his cousin Agha Bīkī, whose mother was a direct descendent of Chingiz Khan. Thus Ulugh Beg could use the epithet Gūrgān, “royal son‐in‐law,” which had...

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Selected References

  1. Bagheri, Mohammad (1997). “A Newly Found Letter of Al‐Kāshī on Scientific Life in Samarkand.” Historia Mathematica 24: 241–256.zbMATHCrossRefMathSciNetGoogle Scholar
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  3. Kary‐Niiazov, T. N. (1950). Astronomicheskaya shkola Ulugbeka (The astronomical school of Ulugh Beg) (in Russian). Moscow: Akademia Nauk SSSR. (Second enlarged edition in Kary‐Niiazov, Izbrannye trudy [Collected works]. Vol. 6. Tashkent: FAN, 1967.)Google Scholar
  4. ——— (1976). “Ulugh Beg.” In Dictionary of Scientific Biography, edited by Charles Coulston Gillispie. Vol. 13, pp. 535–537. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons.Google Scholar
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  8. Knobel, Edward Ball (1917). Ulugh Beg's Catalogue of Stars: Revised from All Persian Manuscripts Existing in Great Britain, with a Vocabulary of Persian and Arabic Words. Washington: Carnegie Institution of Washington.Google Scholar
  9. Krisciunas, Kevin (1992). “The Legacy of Ulugh Beg.” In Central Asian Monuments, edited by H. P. Paksoy, pp. 95–103. Istanbul: Isis. (Includes a bibliography of all publications of parts of the Zīj of Ulugh Beg.)Google Scholar
  10. ——— (1993). “A More Complete Analysis of the Errors in Ulugh Beg's Star Catalogue.” Journal for the History of Astronomy 24: 269–280.ADSGoogle Scholar
  11. Kunitzsch, Paul (1998). “The Astronomer al‐Sūfī as a Source for Uluġ Beg's Star Catalogue.” In La science dans le monde iranien ā l'époque islamique, edited by Ž. Vesel, H. Beikbaghban, and B. Thierry de Crussol des Epesse, pp. 41–47. Tehran: Institut français de recherche en Iran.Google Scholar
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  15. ———(1960). Ghiyâth al‐Dîn al Kâshî's Letter on Ulugh Beg and the Scientific Activity in Samarqand. Ankara: Turkish Historical Society.Google Scholar
  16. Schoy, Carl (1927). Die trigonometrischen Lehren des persischen Astronomen Abū ‘l‐Rayhān Muhammed ibn Ahmed al‐Bīrūnī dargestellt nach al‐Qānūn al‐Mas ҁ ūdī. Hanover: Lafaire. (Reprinted in Schoy, Beiträge zur arabisch‐islamischen Mathematik und Astronomie, edited by Fuat Sezgin, Vol. 2, pp. 629–746. Frankfurt am Main: Institute for the History of Arabic‐Islamic Science, 1988.) (Includes an edition of parts of Ulugh Beg's sine and tangent tables.)Google Scholar
  17. Sédillot, Louis P. E. Amélie (1847). Prolégomènes des tables astronomiques d'Oloug‐Beg. Publiés avec notes et variantes et précédés d'une introduction. Paris: Firmin Didot.Google Scholar
  18. ——— (1853). Prolégomènes des tables astronomiques d'Oloug‐Beg. Traduction et commentaire. Paris: Firmin Didot.Google Scholar
  19. Shevchenko, Mikhail Yu (1990). “An Analysis of Errors in the Star Catalogues of Ptolemy and Ulugh Beg.” Journal for the History of Astronomy 21: 187–201.ADSMathSciNetGoogle Scholar

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  • Benno van Dalen

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