Abū Ma˓shar

  • Richard Lemay
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-4425-0_9412

Arabic sources such as the Kitāb al‐Fihrist give the date of Abū Ma˓shar al‐Balkī's death as 273 of the Hegira, which is AD 886, stating that he was over 100‐years old. Since he was of Persian (Afghan) origin these may well be solar years rather than the lunar years of the Muslim calendar. Therefore his age at his death could have been reckoned as “over” 100 years if counted in lunar years in Muslim fashion, or else as 100 solar years. David Pingree claimed to have found the exact date of his birth to be August 10, 787 in a natal horoscope in Abū Ma˓shar's Nativities. The trouble with this calculation is that Abū Ma˓shar himself, in Mudhākarāt (Recollections), lamented the fact that he did not know the exact date of his birth and had to rely therefore on a “universal” horoscope he had drawn up. The Mudhākarāt then supplies the basic elements of this universal horoscope. Matching these data with Pingree's, it is probably safe to consider the year 171 H/AD 787 as his birth date.


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Primary Sources

  1. Abū Ma˓shar. Albumasaris Flores astrologiae. Augsburg: Erhard Ratdolt, 1488.Google Scholar
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Secondary Sources

  1. Dunlop, D. M. The Mudhākarāt fi˓Ilm an‐nujūm (Dialogues on Astrology) attributed to Abū Ma˓shar al‐Balkhī (Albumasar). Iran and Islam, in Memory of the Late Vladimir Minorsky. Ed. C. E. Bosworth. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1971. 229–46.Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg New York 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard Lemay

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