The Arabic origins of the celestial nomenclature

(Al-Qazwini, Zakariya ibn Mahmud) / Ideler, Christian Ludwig (ed.). [Aja'ib al-makhluqat.] Untersuchungen über den Ursprung und die Bedeutung der Sternnamen. Ein Beytrag zur Geschichte des gestirnten Himmels.

Berlin, Johann Friedrich Weiss, 1809.

8vo. LXXII, 452 pp. Near-contemporary half cloth with giltstamped red spine label. Edges sprinkled in red and blue.


First edition.

A rare and scholarly investigation of the Arabic origins of star names, incorporating the first edition (with a German translation) of the relevant part of the famous "Aja'ib al-makhluqat" by the astronomer Zakariya al-Qazwini (1203-83), which contains a description of the 48 constellations of Ptolemy and is hailed by Brockelmann as "the most valuable cosmography in Islamic culture" (GAL). Taking Qazwini's text as his guideline, the Prussian astronomer Ideler (1766-1846) provides a detailed commentary elucidating the respective Greek, Latin, oriental, and modern names of the stars. The final chapter is an essay on the Arabic nomenclature of celestial bodies, tracing the names' origins to the ancient nomadic Arabs (Bedu). Although Ideler was not an orientalist and claimed merely a scholarly working knowledge of Arabic, he had the advice of Oluf Gerhard Tychsen and Georg Beigel. The resulting text edition, translation and critical study were highly praised by Fück, who called the annotations "excellent".

Some browning throughout as common; professional repairs to spine. Old stamp and shelfmark of the Boston Arts Academy Library to title; handwritten ownership "J. Johnson / Jan.y 1930" to pastedown.


Schnurrer p. 466f., no. 404. Fück 160 ("1810" in error). Kayser III, 248. OCLC 11828254. Cf. GAL S I, 882.

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