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