• Hubert L. L. Busard
  • Menso Folkerts
Part of the Science Networks · Historical Studies book series (SNHS, volume 8)


In 1880 H. Weissenborn published an article on Adelard’s translations of Euclid’s Elements in which he described the so-called Version II of Adelard of Bath1. This was the first serious work on Adelard’s translations of the Elements. Until 1953 there was little progress, apart from A. A. Björnbo’s discovery (1901) of the translation by Gerard of Cremona2. In 1953 M. Clagett published his fundamental article ‘The Medieval Latin Translations from the Arabic of the Elements of Euclid, with Special Emphasis on the Versions of Adelard of Bath’3. In it he distinguished for the first time three principal versions of the Elements which were attributed to Adelard of Bath. According to Clagett, all of these versions can be traced back to the twelfth century. Version I is obviously a close translation from the Arabic of the Elements of Euclid, including books XIV and XV, which were added by Hypsicles4. Version III, referred to by Roger Bacon as an editio specialis, constitutes a paraphrase or an edition in which the enunciations were borrowed from version II, but in which the proofs are given in a complete, characteristic and formal way. Version II called by Clagett an ‘abridgement’ was by far the most popular of the three versions ascribed to Adelard of Bath. Its popularity is shown not only by the number of extant manuscripts, but also by the fact that — according to Clagett — the enunciations of version II were used by numerous scholars of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries (including Campanus) who wished to make commentaries on Euclid or rework the proofs in their own style.


Twelfth Century Arabic Text Arabic Word Greek Text Bodleian Library 
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Copyright information

© Springer Basel AG 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hubert L. L. Busard
    • 1
  • Menso Folkerts
    • 2
  1. 1.VenloNetherlands
  2. 2.Institut für Geschichte der NaturwissenschaftenMuseumsinselGermany

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