Ptolemy’s Tetrabiblos in the Translation of William of Moerbeke

Claudii Ptolemaei Liber Iudicialium

Gudrun Vuillemin Diem (Editor), Carlos Steel (Editor),

Series: Ancient and Medieval Philosophy - Series 1 19

Category: Philosophy

Language: English

ISBN: 9789058679628

Publication date: April 29, 2015

€107.00 (including 6% VAT)

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Size: 240 x 160 x mm

Stock item: 97645

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Series: Ancient and Medieval Philosophy - Series 1 19

Category: Philosophy

Language: English

DOI: 10.11116/9789461661777

ISBN: 9789461661777

Publication date: April 29, 2015

€80.00 (including 6% VAT)

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First ever edition of the Latin translation of Ptolemy’s masterwork.

This is the first edition ever of Moerbeke’s Latin translation of Ptolemy’s celebrated astrological handbook, known under the title Tetrabiblos or Quadripartitum (opus). Ptolemy’s treatise (composed after 141 AD) offers a systematic overview of astrological science and had, together with his Almagest, an enormous influence up until the 17th century. In the Latin Middle Ages the work was mostly known through translations from the Arabic. William of Moerbeke’s translation was made directly from the Greek and it is a major scholarly achievement manifesting not only Moerbeke’s genius as a translator, but also as a scientist. The edition is accompanied by extensive Greek-Latin indices, which give evidence of Moerbeke’s astonishing enrichment of the Latin vocabulary, which he needed both to translate the technical scientific vocabulary and to cope with the many new terms Ptolemy created. The introduction examines Moerbeke’s translation method and situates the Latin translation within the tradition of the Greek text. This edition makes possible a better assessment of the great medieval translator and also contributes to a better understanding of the Greek text of Ptolemy’s masterwork.

Chapter I: Manuscript Tradition of the Translation
1. Oxford, Bodleian Library, Digby 179, ff. 171r-208v (Ox)
2. Venezia, Bibl. Marciana, lat. XIV, 242 (= 4295), ff. 1r-12v (Ve)
3. The relation of the two manuscripts
Chapter II: William of Moerbeke Translator of the Ludiciala
1. Attribution of the translation to William of Moerbeke
1.1. External arguments
1.2. Internal arguments: an analysis of the translation method
1.2.1. Particles, conjunctions, prepositions, adverbs
1.2.2. Vocabulary
1.2.3. Syntax
1.3. Special character of the translation
1.4. When was the translation made?
2. Moerbeke: a translator with an interest in science
2.1. Astrological terms
2.2. Medical terms
2.3. Translation of hapax legomena and rare terms
2.4. Quandoque bonus dormitat Homerus
3. Moerbeke and Plato of Tivoli
Chapter III: The Reception of Moerbeke’s Translation
1. Henricus Bate
2. Agostino Nifo
Chapter IV: The Greek Text and the Translation
A. The tradition of the Greek text
1. The Vaticanus graecus 1038 and related manuscripts
2. The tradition besides V
2.1. Class βγ
2.2. Class α
2.3. Bipartition of the text tradition
3. The indirect tradition
B. The Greek model of Moerbeke’s translation
1. Principal characteristic of G: a representative of branch ψ
1.1. G agrees with V (L) alone against variants of all other witnesses
1.2. G is dependent neither from V nor L
1.3. Bipartition of the tradition: G with V (L) alone against common readings of α βγ 60
2. G with other witnesses against V (L)
2.1. Relations of G with readings of (Σ) βγ against V Y (or V α)
2.2. G: relations with α
3. G different from the whole tradition
3.1. Two important cases
3.2. G agrees with coniectures of Hübner
3.3. Glosses in G
3.4. The omission of Ptolemy’s table of terms
Chapter V: The Contribution of Moerbeke’s Translation to the Edition of the Greek Text
1. Book I
2. Book II
3. Book III
4. Book IV
Appendix I: The Astrological Note Translated by Moerbeke
Appendix II: The Conclusion of the Apotelesmatica
Editorial Principles
1. Text
2. Latin apparatus
3. Greek-Latin comparative apparatus
Claudii Ptolemaei Liber Ludicialium translatio Guillelmi de Morbeka
Conspectus siglorum
Cap. primum: Prohemium
Cap. 2m: Quod pronosticatio per astronomiam sit possibilis et usque ad quid
Cap. 3m: Quod etiam sit proficua
Cap. 4m: De uirtute errantium astrorum
Cap. 5m: De beneficis et maleficis
Cap. 6m: De masculinis et femininis
Cap. 7m: De diurnis et nocturnis
Cap. 8m: De uirtute configurationum ad solem
Cap. 9m: De stellarum fixarum uirtute
Cap. 10m: De temporibus anni
Cap. 11m: De uirtute angulorum
Cap. 12m: De tropicis et equinoctialibus et fixis et bicorporeis signis
Cap. 13m: De masculinis et femininis signis
Cap. 14m: De signis duodecim que ad inuicem configurantur
Cap. 15m: De imperantibus et obedientibus similiter signis
Cap. 16m: De aspicientibus et equipotentibus inuicem signis
Cap. 17m: De inconnexis
Cap. 18m: De domibus uniuscuiusque planete
Cap. 19m: De triplicitatibus
Cap. 20m: De exaltationibus
Cap. 21m: De terminorum dispositione
Cap. 22m: De locis et partibus uniuscuiusque
Cap. 23m: De faciebus et claritatibus et talibus
Cap. 24m: De coniunctionibus et refluxionibus et aliis uirtutibus
Cap. primum: Diuisio totius intentionis
Cap. 2m: De proprietatibus secundum omnia climata
Cap. 3m: De conuenientia regionum ad trigonalitates et ad stellas
Cap. 4m: Expositio regionum que referuntur ad unumquodque signorum
Cap. 5m: Accessus in particulares effectus eclipsium
Cap. 6m: De consideratione dispositarum regionum
Cap. 7m: De tempore effectuum
Cap. 8m: De genere [autem] dispositorum
Cap. 9m: De qualitate ipsius effectus
Cap. 10m: De coloribus eclipsium et cometarum et talium
Cap. 11m: De innouatione anni
Cap. 12m: De particulari animalium natura ad consistentias
Cap. 13m: De particulari consideratione consistentiarum
Cap. 14m: De ea que ex metheoris significatione
Cap. primum: Prohemium
Cap. 2m: De seminatione et partu
Cap. 3m: De gradu horoscopi
Cap. 4m [3]: Quomodo oportet accipere horoscopum
Cap. 5m [4]: Diuisio geneatici sermonis
Cap. 6m [5]: De parentibus
Cap. 7m [6]: De fratribus
Cap. 8m [7]: De masculinis et femininis
Cap. 9m [8]: De gemellis
Cap. 10m [9]: De monstris
Cap. 11m [10]: De non cibatis
Cap. 12m [11]: De annis uite
Cap. 13m [12]: De forma et complexione corporali
Cap. 14m [13]: De lesura et passionibus
Cap. 15m [14]: De qualitate anime
Cap. 16m [15]: De passionibus animalibus
Cap. primum: Prohemium
Cap. 2m: De fortuna possessoria
Cap. 3m: De fortuna dignitatiua
Cap. 4m: De qualitate operationis
Cap. 5m: De coniugiis
Cap. 6m: De natis
Cap. 7m: De amicis et inimicis
Cap. 8m: De peregrinatione
Cap. 9m: De qualitate mortis
Cap. 10m: De temporum diuisione
I. Index graeco-latinus
II. Index latino-graecus
III. Supplementum latinum

Gudrun Vuillemin Diem

Gudrun Vuillemin-Diem (†) was research fellow at the Thomas-Institut, Universität Köln.

Carlos Steel

Carlos Steel is emeritus professor of ancient and medieval philosophy at KU Leuven and director of the “Aristoteles Latinus” project.

'Gudrun Vuillemin-Diem und Carlos Steel ist zu danken, dass sie den Wissenschaftshistorikern und Philologen, die sich mit der Rezeption der Tetrabiblos, eines in seiner Wirkmächtigkeit kaum zu überschätzenden antiken Textes, beschäftigen, ein vorzügliches Arbeitsinstrument vorgelegt haben.'Klaus Geus, Editionen in der Kritik, vol. 10

Editionen in der Kritik

"In conclusion, the volume is not only a landmark in Ptolemaic studies, but Chapter V and the apparatus to William’s translation also make it an indispensable companion for readers of the Greek Tetrabiblos."
Levente László, Journal for the History of Astronomy, Volume 50 Issue 2, May 2019,

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