Al-Balkhi (Albuxar)

Al-Balkhi (Latinized to Albuxar) – Most famous for “Albumasar De Magnis Coniunctionibus”

 Al-Balkhi (Latinized to Albuxar) - Most famous for Albumasar De Magnis Coniunctionibus

Translation into Latin of a work of Albumasar De Magnis Coniunctionibus (“Of the great conjunctions”), Venice, 1515. Ja’far ibn Mu?ammad Abû Ma’shar al-Balkhî (10 August 787 in the Persian province of Balkh, (now in Afghanistan) – 9 March 88…6 in al-Wasit, Iraq), also known as al-Falaki or Albumasar or Ibn Balkhî (also Albusar and Albuxar in the Latin West) was a Persian mathematician, astronomer, astrologer and Islamic philosopher. Many of his works were translated into Latin and were well known amongst many European astrologers, astronomers, and mathematicians (mathematici) during the European Middle Ages. He also wrote on ancient Persian history.


A sample Ibn Balkhi’s manuscript on astronomy, 850 ADRichard Lemay has argued that the writings of Albumasar were very likely the single most important original source of Aristotle’s theories of nature for European scholars, starting a little before the middle of the 12th century.


It was not until later in the 12th century that the original books of Aristotle on nature began to become available in Latin. The works of Aristotle on logic had been known earlier, and Aristotle was generally recognized as “the master of l…ogic.” But during the course of the 12th century, Aristotle was transformed into the “master of those who know,” and in particular a master of natural philosophy. It is especially interesting that the work of Albumasar (or Balkhi) in question is a treatise on astrology.


Its Latin title is Introductorium in Astronomiam, a translation of the Arabic Kitab al-mudkhal al-kabir ila ‘ilm ahkam an-nujjum, written in Baghdad in the year 848 A.D. It was translated into Latin first by John of Seville in 1133, and again, less literally and abridged, by Herman of Carinthia in 1140 A.D. Amir Khusrav mentions that Abu Mashar came to Benaras (Varanasi) and studied astronomy there for ten years.



Abu Ma’shar developed a planetary model which some have interpreted as a heliocentric model. This is due to his orbital revolutions of the planets being given as heliocentric revolutions rather than geocentric revolutions, and the… only known planetary theory in which this occurs is in the heliocentric theory. His work on planetary theory has not survived, but his astronomical data was later recorded by al-Hashimi and al-Biruni.


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