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

Samaw’al: Abū Naṣr Samaw’al ibn Yaḥyā ibn ’Abbās al-Maghribī al-Andalusī

  • Negar Naderi
Reference work entry

FlourishedIraq, Twelfth Century

DiedMarāgha, Iran, 1174/1175

Samaw’al was an eminent mathematician, physician, and astronomer, who composed some 85 treatises, all in Arabic. He was from a cultivated Jewish family that was originally from the Maghrib or, according to some sources, from al-Andalus. His father migrated to Baghdad and settled there. The young Samaw’al studied Hebrew, mathematics, and medicine. He traveled in the Muslim east, eventually settling in Marāgha in northwestern Iran, which was then a major city. He spent the rest of his life there as a physician in service of Jahān Pahlawān (died: 1186) of a semi-independent minor dynasty, the Atābakān. There he converted to Islam and wrote a book against Judaism, which became very controversial.

His main astronomical work is Kashf ҁ awār al- munajjimīn wa- ghalaihim fī akthar al- a ҁ māl wa-’ l- akām(Exposure of the deficiencies of the astronomers and their errors in most of [their] operations and judgments), written in 1165/1166....
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Selected References

  1. Berggren, J. L. (1986). Episodes in the Mathematics of Medieval Islam. New York: Springer Verlag, pp. 112–118.MATHGoogle Scholar
  2. Rosenfeld, B. A. and Ekmeleddin Ihsanoğlu (2003). Mathematicians, Astronomers, and Other Scholars of Islamic Civilization and Their Works (7 th–19 th c.). Istanbul: IRCICA, pp. 184–186.MATHGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Negar Naderi
    • 1
  1. 1.Encyclopaedia Islamica FoundationTehranIran