Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers

2014 Edition
| Editors: Thomas Hockey, Virginia Trimble, Thomas R. Williams, Katherine Bracher, Richard A. Jarrell, Jordan D. MarchéII, JoAnn Palmeri, Daniel W. E. Green

Ṣāghānī: Abū Ḥāmid Aḥmad ibn Muḥammad al-Ṣāghānī [al-Ṣaghānī] al-Asṭurlābī

Reference work entry

Flourishedāghān (near Merv, Turkmenistan)

DiedBaghdad (Iraq), 990

Al-Ṣāghānī was a mathematician, astronomer, and astrolabe maker. The thirteenth-century biographer Ibn al-Qifṭī reports that al-Ṣāghānī was an expert in geometry and cosmology (ҁilm al-haya) and was the inventor and maker of instruments of observation. He had a number of students in Baghdad. He was also one of the outstanding astronomers at the observatory (bayt al-raṣd) built by the order of the Būyid ruler Sharaf al-Dawla (982–989) at the extremity of the garden of the royal palace.

The Sharaf al-Dawla Observatory was the first in the history of Islam to have official status of some kind. According to Ibn al-Qifṭī, its program included the observation of the seven planets. This task was entrusted by Sharaf al-Dawla to  Wījan ibn Rustam al-Kūhī, the director (ṣāḥib) of the observatory and the leader of the astronomers working at the institution in 988. One of the project’s achievements was the observation of the...

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Selected References

  1. Ibn al-Qiftī. Kitāb ikhbār al-culamābi-ajbār al-hukamā’, Beirut, pp. 56–57.Google Scholar
  2. Hogendijk, Jan P. (2001). “The Contributions by Abū Nasr ibn ҁIrāq and al-Sāghānī to the Theory of Seasonal Hour Lines on Astrolabes and Sundials.” Zeitschrift für Geschichte der Arabisch-Islamischen Wissenschaften 14: 1–30. (Hogendijk gives an edition, translation, and commentary of Sāghānī’s only extant chapter from his Risāla fī al-ҁāt al-maҁmūlaҁalā safāih al-asturlāb.)Google Scholar
  3. Lorch, Richard (1987). “Al-Saghānī’s Treatise on Projecting the Sphere.” In From Deferent to Equant: A Volume of Studies in the History of Science in the Ancient and Medieval Near East in Honor of E. S. Kennedy, edited by David A. King and George Saliba, pp. 237–252. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, Vol. 500. New York: New York Academy of Sciences. (Reprinted in Lorch, Arabic Mathematical Sciences, XVII. Aldershot: Ashgate, 1995.) (Study of the Kitāb fī kayfiyyat tastīsh al-kuraҁalā sath al-asturlāb.)Google Scholar
  4. Puig, Roser (1996). “On the Eastern Sources of Ibn al-Zarqālluh’s Orthographic Projection.” In From Baghdad to Barcelona: Studies in the Islamic Exact Sciences in Honour of Prof. Juan Vernet, edited by Josep Casulleras and Julio Samsó. Vol. 2, pp. 737–753. Barcelona: Instituto “Millás Vallicrosa”de Historia de la Ciencia Árabe.Google Scholar
  5. Sayılı, Aydın (1960). The Observatory in Islam. Ankara: Turkish Historical Society.MATHGoogle Scholar
  6. Sezgin, Fuat. Geschichte des arabischen Schrifttums. Vol. 5, Mathematik (1974): 311; Vol. 6, Astronomie (1978): 217–218. Leiden: E. J. Brill.Google Scholar

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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain