The Medieval Tradition of Dimension of the Circle, Prop. 1

  • Wilbur Richard Knorr


Just as among the ancient commentators the Dimension of the Circle was the most familiar and frequently cited of Archimedes’ works, so also did this writing attract a wide range of translations, commentaries and adaptations in the Middle Ages. The source of the Arabic tradition was a translation made in the 9th century, presumably by Thâbit ibn Qurra.1 Adaptations were presented by the Banû Mûsâ (9th century), Abu ’l-Rashîd cabd al-Hâdî (12th century?), Nasîr al-Dîn al-Tûsî (13th century), and others.2 A Hebrew version, perhaps due to Qalonymos b. Qalonymos (early 14th century), was based on the same Arabic.3 In the same textual line were two Latin versions from the 12th century, one attributed to Plato of Tivoli, the other to Gerard of Cremona.4 Gerard’s version spawned a host of expanded versions and commentaries among the Latin scholastics.5 Another Latin version, falling directly in the line of the Greek tradition of the text, was included by Willem of Moerbeke in 1269 among his series of Archimedes translations; his Greek source has been shown to be the same manuscript (Heiberg’s A) underlying the Renaissance copies on which the extant text of the corpus is based.6


Arabic Version Arabic Text Hebrew Version Arabic Translator Bisection Procedure 
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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Boston 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wilbur Richard Knorr
    • 1
  1. 1.Program in the History of ScienceStanford UniversityStanfordUSA

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