Four treatises on mathematics and astronomy

Baha’ al-Din Muhammad ibn Husain al-'Amili. A collection of four treatises in one volume on mathematics and astronomy.

[Persia, ca. 1670 / second half of the 17th century CE].

8vo (150 x 251 mm). Arabic (and Persian) manuscript on paper. 123 leaves. 19 lines, written in naskh script in black ink in more than one hand, some underlinings in red; some commentaries written diagonally in outer margins. Illustrated with numerous diagrams, mostly coloured, and one illuminated headpiece in colours and gold. Near-contemporary citron morocco with stamped central medallions of gilt leather onlay decorated with floral ornaments, doublures with gilt-painted central medallions incorporating intertwining floral and vegetal motifs on a dark green ground.


Baha’ al-Din Muhammad ibn Husain al-'Amili (1547-1622) was an astronomer, mathematician and philosopher who was born in Baalbek, Lebanon and studied in Persia. He became Sheikh al-Islam under the Safavid Shah 'Abbas I (reigned 1587-1629) in Isfahan. The first treatise in the present collection is his "Khulasat al-hisab" (Essence of Arithmetics). The Arabic text was composed ca. 1600 CE and was dedicated to Prince Hamza, grandson of the Safavid Shah Tahmasp I (reigned 1524-75).

The second treatise, in Arabic, is entitled "Tashrih al-aflak" (Explanation of Celestial Spheres). The third treatise, in Persian, is entitled "Risalah fi’l-astrulabi" (Treatise on the Construction of the Astrolabe); the fourth treatise, in Arabic, is a super-commentary on Jaghmini's "Sharh al-haya'", itself a commentary on astronomy.

Some minor mostly marginal dampstaining, occasional stains and small repairs. Provenance: from the property of Dr. Eugene L. Vigil (b. 1941), of Lynden, Washington, USA.


GAL II, 546f. & S II, 595-597. Cf. also B. A. Rosenfeld & E. Ihsanoglu, Mathematicians, Astronomers and Other Scholars of Islamic Civilisation and their Works (7th-19th C.) (Istanbul, 2003), pp. 348-350, no. 1058.