Thābit ibn Qurra

  • Boris Rosenfeld
Reference work entry

Abū'l‐Ḥasan Thābit ibn Qurra ibn Marwān al‐Ḥarrānī al‐Ṣābi˒ (836–901) was a Syrian mathematician, astronomer, physicist, physician, geographer, philosopher, historian, and translator from Greek and Syriac into Arabic. His scientific treatises were written primarily in Arabic and partly in Syriac. He was born in Kafartūtha near Ḥarrān (now Altinbaşak in Southern Turkey) and was a student in Ḥarrān. Ḥarrānians, the descendants of the ancient nation Mitanni in the Hellenistic age, were hellenized, and their ancient religion of star‐worship was deeply connected to Greek philosophy. In the Arab caliphate Ḥarrānians called themselves Ṣābians since the Ṣābians religion was one permitted by the Qur˒ān. Ḥarrān University was founded in the fifth century in Alexandria as a school of philosophy and medicine. After the Arab conquest it was moved to Antiochia and later to Ḥarrān where, under the influence of Ḥarrānian traditions, astronomy and mathematics were taught, and it became a university.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg New York 2008

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  • Boris Rosenfeld

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