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ʾABŪ SAʿĪD AL-SIǦZĪ AND THE “STRUCTURE OF THE ORBS,” THE EARLIEST KNOWN WORK ON HAYʾA

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  03 March 2021

Younes Mahdavi*
Affiliation:
Ph. D. candidate in history of science, University of Oklahoma
*

Abstract

ʾAbū Saʿīd al-Siǧzī was a prominent fourth/tenth century astronomer and mathematician who was one of the first contributors to the new genre of ʿilm al-hayʾa (science of the configuration). However, little is known about the initial steps taken in the formation of the discipline, or its independence from other astronomical writings and practices. In this paper, I will discuss new findings about Siǧzī’s life to determine details of his biography and a more precise time period for his scientific activities. I then describe, for the first time, a composition in theoretical astronomy from the fourth/tenth century, the “Structure of the orbs” (Tarkīb al-aflāk) by Siǧzī to show its place in the formation of the discipline of ʿilm al-hayʾa, comparing Siǧzī’s book to the earlier work of al-Farġānī on the size of the earth and the number of celestial spheres. I conclude that Siǧzī’s Tarkīb al-aflāk is the earliest known example of a book that contains only topics found in later hayʾa and may be the first appearance of the ninth celestial orb that became standard in the later genre.

Résumé

Résumé

ʾAbū Saʿīd al-Siǧzī, astronome et mathématicien du ive/xe siècle, fut l'un des premiers auteurs du genre ʿilm al-hayʾa (la science de la configuration); mais on connaît peu la genèse de cette discipline et sa relation aux autres écrits et pratiques en astronomie. Dans cet article, je présente de nouvelles découvertes permettant de préciser la biographie d'al-Siǧzī. Je décris ensuite, pour la première fois, une composition d'astronomie théorique du ive/xe siècle, la « Structure des orbes » (Tarkīb al-aflāk) d'al-Siǧzī, et je montre sa place dans la formation de la discipline ʿilm al-hayʾa en comparant ce livre à l'ouvrage antérieur d'al-Farġānī sur la taille de la Terre et le nombre des sphères célestes. Je conclus que la Tarkīb al-aflāk d'al-Siǧzī est le plus ancien exemple connu d'un livre traitant des sujets abordés plus tard en hayʾa, et qu'il contient peutêtre la première occurrence du neuvième orbe céleste, classique dans les écrits du genre.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press

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ʾABŪ SAʿĪD AL-SIǦZĪ AND THE “STRUCTURE OF THE ORBS,” THE EARLIEST KNOWN WORK ON HAYʾA
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ʾABŪ SAʿĪD AL-SIǦZĪ AND THE “STRUCTURE OF THE ORBS,” THE EARLIEST KNOWN WORK ON HAYʾA
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ʾABŪ SAʿĪD AL-SIǦZĪ AND THE “STRUCTURE OF THE ORBS,” THE EARLIEST KNOWN WORK ON HAYʾA
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