Almagest: Its Reception and Transmission in the Islamic World

  • Paul Kunitzsch
Reference work entry

Around AD 150, Ptolemy wrote his great handbook of astronomy called Mathematike Syntaxis(The Mathematical Composition) in the original Greek. Because of its importance, it soon received wide attention throughout the Hellenistic world. Its fame seems to have radiated into the Middle East, because there are hints that the work was known, and perhaps even translated partially or completely, into Middle‐Persian (Pahlavi) under the Sassanian ruler Shāhpur I (reigned AD 241–272). A second period of intensive contact of the Persians with Greek science was in the middle of the sixth century, after the closing of the Academy in Athens (AD 529), when several Greek scholars sought refuge in Persia. At this point Ptolemy's work may again have been brought to the attention of Persian scholars. However this was, the first knowledge of the Arabs (who conquered the Middle East and established the Islamic empire of the caliphs around the middle of the seventh century) about Ptolemy and his work...

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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg New York 2008

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  • Paul Kunitzsch

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