Abū Maҁshar Jaҁfar ibn Muḥammad ibnҁUmar al-Balkhi
BornBalkh, (Afghanistan), possibly 787
DiedWāsiṭ, (Iraq), possibly 886
Abū Maҁshar is best known for his astrological writings; however, he also wrote on other branches of the science of the stars, including astronomical tables. There is some question about his dates of birth and death because the former is based solely on an anonymous horoscope cited in his Book of the Revolutions of the Years of Nativities, while the latter comes from Ibn al-Nadīm, the tenth-century bookseller. But Bīrūnī tells us in his Chronology of the Ancient Nations that Abū Maҁshar made an observation in 892, and there is a reference by Abū Maҁshar himself in the Book of Religions and Dynasties to stellar positions due to trepidation dated 896/897. Both would have been made when Abū Maҁshar was well over 100 if the birth date is to be believed.
Ibn al-Nadīm reports in his Fihrist that Abū Maҁshar was at first a scholar of ḥadīth(prophetic traditions), was antagonistic toward the...
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