Albert’s Biblionomia

  • Paola Zambelli
Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science book series (BSPS, volume 135)


In the thirteenth century, readers must have experienced great difficulties in finding their way through the many Arabic astrological works which had recently been translated into Latin, the compilations from Arabic sources prepared by Latin scholars, or through the questions this tradition had left open. If even today, after the meritorious work of generations of specialists, we find it difficult to identify one or another treatise, and to explain to our students the distinctions between the various parts of astronomy and astrology, we can well appreciate the historical importance of the work known as Speculum astronomiae, or, more rarely, as the De libris licitis et illicitis. The treatise helps the reader to identify various works and distinguish between the various kinds and parts of astrology. It soon became a classic in schools, because it offered a comprehensive view of the structure and problems of the “duae magnae sapientiae” astronomy and astrology (which, from then on, were almost universally referred to with the expression quoted above, following the ordering by Ptolemy and Abu Ma’shar) as well as an introduction to their vast literature.1 Clearly, the aim of the author was to offer a description and outline the philosophical foundation of the two disciplines by eliminating their questionable features. He also wanted to list

almost all of the praiseworthy books which latin culture, impoverished in this [subject], has begged from the riches of other languages by means of translators.2


Thirteenth Century Historical Importance Questionable Feature Arabic Source Chapter Eleven 
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  1. 1.
    It is inevitable to recall in this case the beginning of the Quadripartitum. Cf. Abd Ma’Shar, Introductorium maius, trans. Johannes Hispalensis, ms. Laurent. Plut. XXIX. 12, f. 2v.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Speculum, III/31–33: “quasi omnes libros laudabiles, quos de ea pauper latinitas ab aliarum linguarum divitiis per interpretes mendicavit.” Cf G. R. Evans, “Inopes verbo¬rum sunt latini”. Technical language and technical terms in the writings of St. Anselm and some commentators of the mid-twelfth Century’, Archives d’histoire doctrinale et littéraire du Moyen Age, XLIII, 1976, pp. 113–134.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Speculum, XII/34–35: “fortechwr(133) nondum sunt translati”.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Speculum, XII/106–109: “Si sunt in textu eius nomina ignotae linguae, statim subduntur in littera interpretationes eorum: quod si forte aliquorum interpretationes defuerint, para-tus est vir earum copia exhibere.”Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    De quatuor coaequaevis cit., tr. III, q. xv, a. 1, ed. Jammy, XIX, p. 66b, where he employs the term “assub”; De fato cit., a. 2, p. 70/23–26: “dicit Massehallach, quod caelestis effectus, quem ille alatir vocat iuvatur a sapiente astronome, sicut in producendis terrae¬nascentibus iuvatur aratione et seminatione”; cf. De caelo cit., 1, II, tr. 3, c. 15, p. 378/ 59–60: “alatyr hoc est circulum effectivum” and Summa theologiae cit., P. I, tr. XVII, q. 68, m. 2; ed. Jammy, XVII, p. 384a: “Messeallach praecipuus in astris dicit quod Alkir [sic!] hoc est circulus celestis studio periti viri iuvatur ad effectum”; De causis proprietatum cit., L. I, tr. 2, c. 4 and 9, in Opera omnia, V/2, pp. 67/81–82: “a plenilunio, quod interlunium a quibusdam vocatur, quod Arabes vocant almuhac, usque ad perfectum lunae defectum recedit”; “axem qui meguar sphaerae dicitur”.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Opus tertium cit., p. 90 (and cf all chap. XXV): “vocabula infinita ponuntur in textibus theologiae et philosophiae de alienis linguis, quae non possunt scribi, nec proferri, nec intelligi, nisi per eos qui linguas sciunt. Et necesse fuit hoc fieri propter hoc quod scientiae fuerunt compositae in lingua propria et translatores non invenerunt in lingua latina vocabula sufficientia.”Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Ibid., p. 91, on Gerard of Cremona, Michael Scotus, Alfred of Sarashel, Herman of Carinthia; Compendium studii philosophiae, in Opera quaedam hactenus inedita, ed. Brewer cit., pp. 471–72 where Roger criticized the translators: “Unde cum per Gerardum Cre¬monensem, et Michaelem Scotum, et Alvredum Anglicum, et Hermannum Alemannum, et Willielmum Flemingum data sit nobis copia translationum de omni scientia, accidit tanta falsitas in eorum operibus quod nullus sufficit admirari.”Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    M. Bouyges, `Roger Bacon a-t-il lu des textes arabes?’, Archives d’histoire doctrinale et littéraire du Moyen Age, V, 1930, pp. 311–315; G. Théry, `Note sur l’aventure bélénienne de Roger Bacon’, ibid., XVIII, 1950–51; p. 129 ff. (and see p. 141 n. on Albert who “ne laisse passer aucun terme étranger sans essayer d’en retrouver l’origine”).Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Cf. A. Birkenmajer, `La bibliothèque de Richard de Fournival, poète et érudit français du XIIIe siècle’ [1922], now in his Études d’histoire des sciences et de la philosophie du Moyen Age, Wroclaw-Warszawa-Krakow 1970, pp. 117–210; Birkenmajer reconstructed the ref¬erence in the Biblionomia to several scientific mss. in the Sorbonne, against the thesis defended by L. Delisle that “tous ces volumes [n’]ont jamais été réunis que dans l’imagination de Richard de Foumival”. P. Klopsch, Pseudo-Ovidius de vetula. Untersu¬chungen und Text, Leiden und Köln 1967, p. 90 n., considers the hypothesis that “Rich¬ard habe den Katalog seiner existierenden Bibliothek zugleich als den einer Normbib¬liothek darstellen wollen”, to conclude that the thesis is highly improbable. Besides Birkenmajer, B. L. Ullmann has identified more than one hundred mss. that belonged to Fournival, in `The Sorbonne Library and the Italian Renaissance’, in his Studies in the Italian Renaissance, Roma 1955, pp. 41–53; Id., `The Library of the Sorbonne in the XIVth Century’, in The Septicentennial Celebration of the Funding of the Sorbonne, Chapel Hill 1963, pp. 33–41; M.-T. d’Alvemy, `Avicenna latinus. II’, Archives d’histoire doctrinale et littéraire du Moyen Age, XXXVII, 1962, pp. 227–233; E. Seidler, `Die Medizin in der Biblionomia des Richard de Fournival’, Südhoff’s Archiv, LI, 1967, pp. 44–54; M. Mabille, `Pierre de Limoges copiste de manuscripts’, Scriptorium, 1970, pp. 46–47; R. H. Rouse, `Manuscripts Belonging to Richard de Fournival’, Revue d’histoire des textes, III, 1973, pp. 253–69; P. Glorieux, `Bibliothèques des maîtres parisiens. Gérard d’Abbeville’, Recher¬ches de théologie ancienne et médiévale, XXXVI, 1969, pp. 148–183; Id., `Étude sur la Biblionomia de Richard de Fornival’, Recherches de théologie ancienne et médiévale, XXX, 1963, pp. 206–231 (Glorieux did not consider the Biblionomia a hypothetical library, but a true encyclopedic collection characterized by Richard’s strong interest in astrology. Glo¬rieux deemed however that the collection reflected the cultural situation preceding the diffusion of Averroes, an author not included in the library, whose ideas, according to Glorieux, became known after 1230, even though there were translations of his works available from 1220 ).Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    P. Klopsch, op. cit., pp. 78–79 and the bibliography he lists. Cf. D. M. Robothan ed., The pseudo-ovidian ‘De vetula’, Text with introd. and notes, Amsterdam 1968, pp. 1–14 on the diffusion of the De vetula in medieval libraries and among authors like Roger Bacon, Petrarch, Bradwardine, Pierre d’Ailly etc.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Ibid., p. 79 ff. (Opus maius R. Baconis, ed. Bridges, I, p. 254); more quotations — not identifying the author of the De vetula — are given in the Lamentationes Mathaei [1298], in Walter Burleigh, Richard Bury, Thomas Bradwardine, Robert Holkot; these quotations are taken from representatives of the same British milieu from where the author of the De vetula absorbed the central cosmological theme of the metaphysics of light, clearly de¬rived from Grosseteste. On the latter topic, see the critical remarks by Birkenmajer, `Robert Grosseteste and Richard Fournival’ [1948], now in Études cit., p. 216, and by Klopsch, who emphasized that the authentic writings by Fournival did not dwell upon that theme.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Birkenmajer, `Pierre de Limoges, commentateur de Richard de Fournival’ [1949], now in Études cit., pp. 222–35 (see the ms. Regin. lat. 1261, ff. 59r-60v). Thanks to the courtesy of the late Dr. Alexandra Birkenmajer, I was able to consult the transcription by her father of this “genitura” full of biographical information.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Edited from the ms. Paris, BN, Fond Universitaire 636, by L. Delisle, Le cabinet des manuscrits de la Bibliothèque Nationale, II, Paris 1874, pp. 518–536, and pp. 527–528 in particular. Glorieux, `Études sur la Biblionomia’ cit., has compared it with the Laborinthus by Everardus the German (vv. 599–686 in the Faral edition), with the list of Alexander Neckam (Sacerdos ad altarem accessurus, ed. Haskins, Studies cit., pp. 356–376, who was the first to emphasize its shallowness in astrology), with the “guide” compiled in Paris between 1230 and 1240 (Recipiendarius’ Guide), and lastly with the curriculum studiorum for the Parisian Faculty of Arts established by the decree of 1255 (Chartularium cit., I, n. 246). By comparison with all these documents Glorieux finds the Biblionomia very thor¬ough, especially as far as astronomy was concerned.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Études cit., pp. 155–210. Without discussing the data offered by Birkenmajer, F. Carmody, Astronomical and Astrological Science in Latin Translation, Berkeley and Los Angeles 1956, p. 163 insisted on attributing the work to Geber.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Speculum, II/17–20, already discussed above, ch. 6, n. 8 ff. In the Biblionomia (ed. Delisle cit., pp. 527–554): “Liber extractionis elementorum astrologiae ex libro Almagesti Ptolo¬maei per Galterum de Insula usque ad finem sexti libri ex eo”. It is worth noting that Fournival does not mention the second source (Albategni) underlined by the Speculum. The authorship of Gautier de Chatillon is rightly excluded by M. Pereira, `Campano da Novara autore dell’Almagestum parvum’, Studi medievali, 1978, p. 770, who concludes, p. 776; “ Il passaggio [nell’Almagestum parvum] dalla stretta dipendenza dagli autori classici all’accettazione del ricco apporto fornito dall’astronomia araba [chwr(133)] si accorda anche con l’ipotesi di una composizione dell’opera in due tempi successivi”. This hypo¬thesis would explain the possibility of so early a mention of the Almagestum parvum in the Biblionomia, probably written in ca. 1243. I am very grateful to Prof. A. Paravicini Bagliani whom I consulted on several points concerning Campanus: given the lack of documents on Campanus’s early decades of work, prof. Paravicini Bagliani does not exclude the possibility that the composition of the Almagestum parvum could also be prior to that of the Biblionomia.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Biblionomia cit., n. 53: “Mercurii Trismegisti liber de motu spere celi inclinati, qui intitulatur Nemroth ad Joanton”; Speculum, II/2–6: “primus tempore compositionis est liber quem edidit Nemroth gigas ad Johanton discipulum suum, qui sic incipit: Sphaera caeli etc., in quo est parum proficui et falsitates nonnullae, sed nihil est ibi contra fidem, quod sciam.”Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    C. H. Haskins, Studies cit., cap. XVI: `Nimrod the Astronomer’, pp. 336–354; Th, I, 415; A. Van de Vyver, `Les plus anciennes traductions médiévales’, Osiris, I, 1936, pp. 684687; A. R. Nykl, `Dante, Inferno XXXI/67’, in Estudios dedicatos a Menéndez Pidal, Madrid 1952, III, pp. 321–24; R. Lemay, `Le Nemrot de l’Enfer de Dante’, Studi danteschi, XL, 1963, pp. 57–128; B. Nardi, `Discussioni dantesche: II. Intorno al Nemrot dantesco e ad alcune opinioni di R. Lemay’, L’Alighieri. Rassegna di bibliografia dantesca, VI, 1965, pp. 42–55, and the bibliography there listed; R. Lemay, `Mythologie paîenne éclarent la mythologie chrétienne chez Dante: le cas des Géants’, Revue des études italiennes, XI, 1965, (= Dante et les mythes), pp. 236–279; S. J. Livesey-R. R. Rouse, `Nimrod the Astronomer’, Traditio, 37 (1981), pp. 203–266. The latter scholars re-examine the cone¬spondence between Foumival’s Biblionomia and the first bibliographical item in the Speculum astronomiae. This corresponence has been underlined for the first time in my paper `Da Aristotele a Albumasar’ cit. — which I am reproducing now in these pages — at the International Congress for Medieval Philosophy (Madrid 1972), published for the first time in Physis, XV, 1974, pp. 375–398, and later in Actas del 5° Congreso intemacional de Filosofia Medieval [1972], Madrid 1979, II, pp. 1377–1391, both printed before their pa¬per: it is surprising that they do not acknowledge it.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Biblionomia cit., n. 56: “Geber Hispalensis liber in scientia forme motuum superiorum corporum et cognitionibus orbium eorum et in evasione a quibusdam erroribus inventis in libris Claudii Ptolemai Phudensis (sic!), qui dicitur Elmegisti vel Megasinthasis, quem quidem corrupte nominant Almagesti”.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Speculum, Proem/12–14: “exponens numerum, titulos, initia et continentias singulorum in generali et qui fuerunt eorumdem auctores.”Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Speculum, II/7–9: “quod de hac scientia utilius invenitur est liber Ptolemaei Pheludensis, qui dicitur grece Megasti, arabice Almagesti, latine Maior perfectus, qui sic incipit: Bonum fuit scire etc.”. Albert often uses the name Pheludensis in the De fato cit., p. 66/52 ff. and in the De animalibus, I. I, tr. ii, c. 2, p. 47/20 ss: “Sapiens Ptolemeus Pheludensis dixit quod divinans melius et venus pronuntiat accipiens iudicium a stellis secundis”. This precision and the thoroughness exhibited in the De caelo to provide the content of the Ptolemaic works finds its explanation in the novelty of these texts within the schools, as is confirmed by the ms. Barcellona, Ripoll 109, also called the Recipiendarius’Guide. This guide was discovered by Grabmann and was studied by Van Steenberghen, La philosophie au XIIIe siècle cit., pp. 119, 121–132: “Haec scientia traditur secundum unam sui partem in Ptolomeo, secundum autem aliam partem traditur in Almagesto, et isti libri combusti sunt”. Apart from the interpretative hypotheses put forward by Van Steenberghen, I would like to suggest that in this enigmatic passage the first part relates to judicial astrology, and therefore that Ptolemy is mentioned as author of the Quadripartitum. I am at a loss as to how to interpret the expression “combusti sunt”, if not with the hypothesis that there had been a prohibition followed by a burning at the stake, an episode which would have been recorded only in this Guide, composed in Paris in 1230. Cf R. Lemay, `Libri naturales’ cit. above at ch. 3, n. 16. Fundamental for the translations, mss. and the his¬torical relevance of the Almagest is P. Kunitzsch, Der Almagest. Die Syntaxis Mathematica des Claudius Ptolemäus in arabisch-lateinischer Übersetzung, Wiesbaden 1974, pp. 83–111, § B `Die lateinische Übersetzung aus dem Arabisch’ by Gerard of Cremona, and especially the description of ms. p. 91 ff., where one finds in ms. Paris lat. 14738, and in the printed ed. Venice 1515 (p. 95) as in the cit. passage of the Speculum the wrong incipit “Bonum fuit scire” taken from the Sayings of Ptolemy’ a collection which in many mss. precedes the Almagest itself.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Cf. D. Pingree, `The diffusion of Arabic Magical Texts in Western Europe’, in La diffusion delle scienze islamiche nel Medioevo europeo, Convegno intern. Accademia Lincei, Roma 1987, pp. 81–83: “the Speculum astronomiae [chwr(133)] probably was written in the late 1260’s. If Albert was not its author, the only other candidate that can be seriously considered is Roger Bacon, who was in Paris from 1257 till his death in about 1292; but we shall see that the magical texts named by him are different from those known to the author of the Speculum. [chwr(133)] If indeed his elaborate presentations of the incipits of many works [in Chapter 11 of the Speculum] were due solely to memory, he did truly possess a most remarkable faculty; notes on the manuscripts, presumably made in or near Paris, but used in Cologne or in Italy, furnish a more plausible explanation of the fact that he no longer had access to all the texts that he had seen [chwr(133)] the De ymaginibus by Thabit ibn Qurra and the Opus ymaginum ascribed to Ptolemy [chwr(133)] are also found, one after the other, in this same order [in the Speculum] on pp. 534–543 or Paris, BN lat. 16204 [chwr(133)] which was almost certainly, since it was copied by a scribe, whose hand is identical or at least very similar to that employed by Richard of Fournival, in the room of ”tractatus secreti“ in his library at Amiens. I would even argue that the author of the Speculum, whom I believe to be Albert, saw these books and most of the others that he describes in chapter 6 to 11 in that very room. This argument is strengthened when, following the splendid lead of Prof. Zambelli, one compares chapter 2 of the Speculum, on the astro¬nomical books of the ancients, with the Biblionomia”. Pingree, Ibid. pp. 99–100, has drawn up a list of the items present in both the Speculum and the Biblionomia, and it is worth reproducing here: SpeculumGoogle Scholar
  22. 1.
    liber quem edidit Nemroth gigas ad Iohanton.Google Scholar
  23. 2.
    liber Ptolemaei Pheludensis, qui dicitur graece Megasti, arabice Almagesti, latine Maior perfectusGoogle Scholar
  24. b. in commento Geber super Almagesti.Google Scholar
  25. 3.
    in libro Messehalla De scientia motus orbis.Google Scholar
  26. 4.
    ab Azerbeel hispano, qui dictus est Al-bategni, in libro suo.Google Scholar
  27. 5.
    ex his quoque duobus libris collegit qui¬dam vir librum secundum stilum Euclidis, cuius commentarium continet sententiam utriusque, Ptolemaei scilicet atque Albategni.Google Scholar
  28. 6.
    apud Thebit motus sphaerae stellarum fixarum in libro.Google Scholar
  29. 7.
    apud Ioannem vel Gebum Hispalensem motus Veneris et Mercurii in libro quem nominavit Flores suos.Google Scholar
  30. 8.
    apud alium quendamchwr(133) super figura kata coniuncta atque disiuncta in libello.Google Scholar
  31. 9.
    Alpetragius corrigere principia et suppo¬sitiones Ptolemaei.Google Scholar
  32. 10.
    liber eiusdem Ptolemaei, qui dictus est arabice Walzagora, latine Planisphaerium. See 56 opposite 7 below.Google Scholar
  33. 55.
    Machometi Albateignychwr(133) Acharram li¬ber.Google Scholar
  34. 54.
    Liber extractionis elementorum astro¬logie ex libro Almagesti Ptolomei per Gal-terum de Insula usque ad finem sexti libri ex eo.Google Scholar
  35. c. Thesbich filii Chorechwr(133) liber de motu accessionis capitum Arietis et Libre.Google Scholar
  36. 56.
    Geber Hyspalensis liber in scientia for¬me motuum superiorum corporum et cogn¬itionibus orbium eorum et in evasione a quibusdam erroribus inventis in libro Clau¬dii Ptolomei Phudensis, qui dicitur Elme¬gesti vel Megasinthasis.Google Scholar
  37. b. Thesbich filii Chorechwr(133) liber super fi¬gura alkara.Google Scholar
  38. b. Avenalpetraugy liber de astrologia possibili et radicibus probabilibus loco ea-rum Ptolomei.Google Scholar
  39. a. Claudii Ptolomei Pheluden sis liber Wal¬zagore, id est plane spere.Google Scholar
  40. 11.
    apud Alfraganum Tiberiadem eaedem conclusiones, quae in Almagesti demon-stratae sunt.Google Scholar
  41. 12.
    in libro Thebit De definitionibus.Google Scholar
  42. 13.
    Liber canonum Ptolemaei.Google Scholar
  43. 14.
    Canones Machometus Alchoarithmi.Google Scholar
  44. 15.
    librum Auxigeg, hoc est cursuum, Hu-menid magister filiae regis Ptolemaei, quem vocavit Almanach.Google Scholar
  45. 16.
    Azarchel Hispanus in libro suo.Google Scholar
  46. 17.
    demonstrationem planisphaerii [chwr(133)] quem transtulit Ioannes Hispalensis.Google Scholar
  47. 18.
    alius Hermanni.Google Scholar
  48. a. Ameti filii Ameti, qui dictus est Alphraganus, liber de aggregationibus scientie stellarum et principiis celestium motuum per viam narrationis super conclu¬sionibus Ptholomei.Google Scholar
  49. a. Thesbich filii Chore liber de diffinitio¬nibus.Google Scholar
  50. 60.
    Alzerkel Hyspani liber tabularum.Google Scholar
  51. c. Iohannis Hyspalensis atque Linensis liber de opere astrolabii secundum Masce-lamach.Google Scholar
  52. e. Hermanni Secundi de compositione astrolabii.Google Scholar
  53. 19.
    alius Messehalla.Google Scholar
  54. 20.
    alius secundum Ioannem Hispalensem de utilitatibus et opere astrolabii.Google Scholar
  55. 22.
    We should not fail to mention a difficulty arising from not admitting a direct consultation of the manuscripts, and from refusing to date the composition of the Speculum astronomiae before the controversy at the University of Paris between the regulars and the seculars. At the time of the dispute, Albert was not living in Paris, but after teaching his Dionysian and philosophical courses when in Cologne, he came in 1264 to the papal court in Anagni where, besides discussing the unity of the intellect and of fate, and contributing to the defense of the mendicant orders, he could have met Campanus and other scientists. On the other hand, Gérard d’Abbeville, the heir of Foumival’s manuscripts, was, with Guil¬laume de Saint Amour, among the strongest supporters of the seculars, and kept his stand up to the latest phases of their polemic; when he died, he gave his manuscripts to the Sorbonne on condition that the regulars could never have access to them. Cf. A. Teetaert, ‘Deux questions inédites de Gérard d’Abbeville en faveur du clergé séculier’ [1266–1271], in Mélanges A. Pelzer cit., Louvain 1947, pp. 347–388. The author of the Speculum made use of several mss. not included in the library, and we cannot exclude that the Biblionomia today preserved in the single copy of the original catalog could have been loaned or given to be copied to some authoritative contemporary, who did not visit the library itself. It is, however, less difficult to suppose that Albert consulted both the manuscripts and their catalog soon after the death of Fournival, during his first stay in Paris (that is, after 1243 and before 1248), when Gérard did not have any reason, yet, to keep the regulars out of his library or in 1256–1257 or 1264 at the papal court, where Fournival had lived from 1239 on as `familiaris’ of Cardinal Robert of Sommercotes (cf. A. Paravicini Bagliani, Cardinali di Curia, Padova 1972, pp. 138–140) and perhaps made a copy of the Bibliono¬mia: it is thus possible that Albert took from the ordering of Richard’s astronomical books the first idea and the first notes for the Speculum. This text however is much richer than the Biblionomia in the field of astrology.Google Scholar
  56. 23.
    Pingree, `The diffusion’ cit., pp. 84–88, 100–102 (where Appendix B compares the Speculum with the Paris and Oxford ms. cit. in this note): examining manuscripts which could have belonged to Richard or anyway been used for the Speculum Pingree has discovered that “70% of Albert’s catalogue of astrological books is based on what is now found in one manuscript — Paris, BN lat. 16204”. This manuscript, in fact, originally included “twenty-four separate items”, all mentioned — except for two — in the Speculum, and “it seems to have been copied by one of Fournival’s scribes”. Pingree concludes that “everything points to the conclusion that the Speculum astronomiae depends almost exclusively on the notes that Albert took of the manuscripts in the library of Richard de Fournival at Amiens”. There is another codex (Oxford, Corpus Christi 248, 13th Century) which was already studied by Thomdike, `John of Seville’, Speculum, 34, 1959, pp. 37–38 and `Notes on Manuscripts of the BN’, Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, XX, 1957, pp. 150–151: Thomdike observed “a strikingly close resemblance between portions of BN 16204” and this Corpus Christi 248, exactly with f. 82r, which contains a list (it looks to me like an offer for further copies of astrological treatises, like that of Albumasar’s Introductorium which precedes fols. 3r-81r). Pingree has examined deeply this list of “books of Arabic authors which have perhaps been translated into Latin by John of Seville”, and which, according to Thomdike, “represent copies made from the same ex¬emplar of a collection of Arabic astrology in Latin translation” as BN 16204 or from this very codex. Pingree observed that to the eleven items listed in both manuscripts, the list in Corpus Christi 248 adds two works not contained in BN 16204, but present in the Speculum concerning Abu Ma’shar’s De revolutione annorum nativitatum, which was item 5 of the Parisinus ms., one reads in ms. Corpus Christi 248: “Sequitur quod non habeo de sine [?] revolutione annorum ex libro Albumasar in revolutione nativitatis extracte”. This note corresponds to the fact that “the entire subject of anniversary horoscopes” is omitted in the Speculum. Pingree observes that this Corpus Christi manuscript is not only based directly on Paris, BN lat. 16204 before it was deprived of *Aomar and Abu Ali, but written by the author of the Speculum astronomiae who notes correctly that he has not included in the Speculum an item of the Parisinus; so Pingree concludes that “if our hypothesis is correct, the Corpus Christi catalogue was written by Albertus Magnus him¬self or by a close associate”.Google Scholar
  57. 24.
    Pingree, `The diffusion’ cit., pp. 86–87.Google Scholar
  58. 25.
    R. Lemay, `De la Scholastique à l’Histoire par le truchement de la Philologie’, in La diffitsione delle scienze islamiche cit., p. 487: “Soit dit en passant, le Speculum n’est pas expressément reclamé comme son oeuvre propre par Albert, qui semble plutôt l’avoir composé sur l’injonction du Pape et en vue de procurer un guide `orthodoxe’ des libri naturales, qui permettrait d’éliminer comme `par la bande’ et sans un décret spécial les fameuses condamnations des libri naturales d’Aristote portées en 1210 et restées formelle¬ment en vigueur jusque là”. Prof. Lemay concludes here: “Un moment capital de ce désengagement de la philosophie naturelle d’Aristote d’avec les ouvrages arabes d’astrologie fut la composition certainement par Albert le Grand et aux environs de 1250, du Speculum astronomiae”. I am unable to check all the suggestions given by Prof. Lemay (“sur l’injonction du Pape”, relationship with Aristotle’s condemnations etc.) and I am proposing to date the Speculum several years later, but I consider Prof. Lemay’s inter¬pretation extremely valuable and interesting. See also his `The Teaching of Astronomy in mediaeval Universities, principally at Paris in the 14th Century’, Manuscripta, XX, 1976, pp. 197–217 and his articles cit. above, n. 3 § II/1. He has now consecrated to the Speculum Appendix VI of `De la Scholastique’ cit., p. 526 ff.: “S’il y a encore des médiévistes pour soutenir que le Speculum astronomiae n’est pas d’Albert, ce ne peut être que par suite de l’influence délétère des préjugés d’un Mandonnet, mais aussi par un manque de familiarité avec les réalités de l’astronomie-astrologie médiévale [chwr(133) pour] s’ériger sans motif sérieux contre l’opinion universelle des savants latins du moyen age”.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paola Zambelli
    • 1
  1. 1.Dipartimento di FilosofiaUniversitá di FirenzeItaly

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