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The Apostle Lectionary, written on parchment in the second half of the 13th century, is one of the important linguistic sources delimiting the early (Preslav) from the later (Athonite) redaction of this liturgical book. The lectionary contains the portions of scripture, the lessons, to be read at divine service on particular days of the church calendar. This manuscript is remarkable for the completeness of the readings from the Acts of the Apostles and the Epistles, and for its detailed menologion, a monthly calendar indicating the feast days of saints that ...
The Compendium of Graces and Fountain of Charms
This 17th-century manuscript contains the text of Majmoo’a al-Latā’if wa-Yanbu‘ al-Zarā’if (The compendium of graces and fountain of charms), a collection of esoteric and mystic prayers. The work is divided into many chapters, unnumbered and typically only a few pages long, with rubrications indicating the beginning of each chapter. The work discusses the spiritual expediency of praying in a certain manner; on a certain Islamic month, day of the week, or religious occasion, citing sayings of the Prophet Muhammad and other Islamic tradition as supporting arguments. The ...
The Banitsa Gospel, written on parchment in Church Slavonic in the late 13th century, is one of the manuscripts testifying to the end of the anonymity of Bulgarian men of letters at around this time. The colophon indicates that the scribe who made the manuscript was the priest Ioann at Saint Nicholas Church in the village of Banitsa (presumably in the Vratsa region of present-day northwestern Bulgaria). The characteristic script and the ornamental illumination, elaborated in black, red, and yellow ink, reflect a local manuscript tradition. The menologion (calendar) includes ...
Menaion for June-August with Synaxarion
This parchment manuscript of the Menaion for June–August with synaxarion (a collection of brief biographies of the saints) can be dated to the second half of the 13th century. It is important as the earliest known manuscript to include the service of Saint Ioakim Osogovski (Joachim of Osogovo), hermit and founder of the monastery known as Sarandapor. His memory, celebrated on August 16, was popular in Bulgaria and elsewhere in the Balkans during the Middle Ages and in the period of the Bulgarian National Revival of the 18th and ...
Muḥammad al-Farghānī’s Elements of Chronology and Astronomy
This work is a Latin translation of al-Farghānī’s influential and well-known Kitāb jawāmiʿ ʿilm al-nujūm wa uṣūl al-ḥarakāt al-samāwīya (Book of generalities of astronomy and bases of celestial motions). Aḥmad ibn Moḥammad ibn Kathīr al-Farghānī was an astronomer who flourished at the court of the early Abbasid caliphs. He appears to have been active in the court of al-Ma’mun. If he is the same figure who is said to have been entrusted by al-Mutawakkil with the construction of the nilometer in Cairo, then he would have been active ...
Muḥammad al-Farghānī’s Elements of Chronology and Astronomy
Aḥmad ibn Moḥammad ibn Kathīr al-Farghānī (flourished 861) was an astronomer who worked at the court of the early Abbasid caliphs. He appears to have been active in the court of al-Ma’mun, and he may well be the same figure who is said to have been entrusted by al-Mutawakkil with the construction of the nilometer in Cairo. In that case, he would have been active from the early decades of the ninth century to his death in 861 (spanning the rules of al-Ma’mun, al-Muʿtaṣim, al-Wāthiq, and ...
Imperial Calendar in the Third Year of Emperor Jia Jing’s Reign in the Ming Dynasty
The Da Ming Jiajing san nian datong li (Imperial calendar, or great universal system of calculating astronomy) is based upon the system of calendrical astronomy developed by the astronomer Guo Shoujin during the Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368). It was officially adapted by the Ming Bureau of Astronomy in 1384. It specified the phases of the moon and contained predictions of when lunar and solar eclipses would occur. The great Chinese navigator Zheng He used Guo Shoujing's methods to determine latitude and longitude on his voyages to the Pacific and Indian ...
Rosary and Service Dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary and Other Devotions Combined in Honor of the Most Holy Trinity and in Worship of the Most Venerable Queen of the Heavens
Rosarium et Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis (Rosary and service dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary), a Latin devotional book published in Vilnius, Lithuania, in 1678–79, is regarded as one of the rarest and most important Belarusian publications of the 17th century. The book was created by Oleksandr Tarasevych (circa 1640–1727), an outstanding master of book design, engraving, portraiture, and heraldic and panegyric printing, whose best works compare favorably with those of the great West European artists. Tarasevych created his most innovative works, including the prints for Rosarium, in ...
The Precious Book on Noteworthy Dates
This short work, entitled Kitāb al-yawāqīt fī ma‘rifat al-mawāqīt, and copied by an anonymous scribe in Shawwāl in June-July 1775 (AH 1168), is attributed to Ḥusayn (or Ḥasan) b. Zayd b. ‘Alī al-Jaḥḥāf, who is said to have dedicated it to Abū ‘Alī Manṣūr al-Ḥākim bi Amr-Allāh, the sixth Fāṭimid ruler (died 996). The manuscript lists the 12 months of the year, each on one sheet, in the form of an almanac. The last page is a one-page guide to the interpretation of dreams, reportedly prepared at the behest ...
Armenian Liturgical Calendar
Parzatumar (Armenian liturgical calendar) was the second book printed in Armenian, after the Urbathagirq (The book of Fridays). Both books were published by Hakob Meghapart (Jacob the Sinner), who in 1512 settled among the Armenian community in Venice and established the first Armenian press. In this copy, from the National Library of Armenia, the two works are bound together. Little is known about Hakob Meghapart, or why he styled himself “the Sinner” (or “the Sinful”). Armenia was at this time under the rule of the Ottoman Turks, and the Diaspora ...
The Dresden Codex
Only four Mayan manuscripts still exist worldwide, of which the oldest and best preserved is the Dresden Codex, held in the collections of the Saxon State and University Library. The manuscript was purchased for the Dresden court library in 1739 in Vienna, as a “Mexican book.” In 1853 it was identified as a Mayan manuscript. Consisting of 39 leaves, inscribed on both sides, and approximately 358 centimeters long, the manuscript originally was folded in an accordion-like manner. The chalk-coated writing material, amatl, is a paper-like matter produced from fig-tree fiber ...
Seasonal Almanac Based on the Coptic Calendar
The author of this work, Shaykh al-Islām Ahmad al-Bashtakī, lived in Bashtak near central Cairo. The work goes through the 13 months of the Coptic calendar: Tūt (Thout), Bāba (Paopi), Hātūr (Hathur), Koihak (Koiak), Tūba (Tobi), Imshīr (Meshir), Baremhāt (Paremhat), Barmūda (Paremoude), Bashons (Pashons), Bawna or Būna (Paoni), Ibīb (Epip), Misurī (Mesori), and the Days of Nasī (ayyām al-nasī; also known as the Little Month, Pi Kogi Enavot, or El Nasii). The work gives the corresponding months in the Roman and Persian calendars, notes the astrological significance of days, and ...
A Treatise on Zodiacal Signs and Constallations: Unique Jewels on the Benefits of Keeping Time
This work is an introductory, but well-organized, treatise on the elements of time-keeping and reckoning. The treatise is divided into seven sections and a conclusion. It introduces the Arabic, Coptic, and Syriac (or Alexandrian) calendars, and comments on the Persian, Roman, and Hebraic calendars. The work gives the names and lengths of the months in various calendars, explains the different methods for ascertaining the beginnings of years and months, discusses the signs of the zodiac and their relation to the four seasons, and describes the apparent motion of the sun ...
The Book of Times
This is a manuscript copy of Kitāb al-Azmān (The book of times; also known as Kitāb al-Azmina) by Yuḥannā Ibn Māsawayh (died circa 857), the famous physician of the Abbasid era. The work belongs to the tradition of Islamic hemerology—the study of the calendar, especially with a view to discerning the auspiciousness of carrying out various actions at a given date or time. In his introduction, the author states: "The people of knowledge and philosophy and the physicians of Persia, India, and Rūm [Asia Minor], have said that the ...
Humorous Calendar for the New Year
Petko Rachov Slaveikov (1827–95) was one of the most renowned Bulgarian literary figures of the 19th century. He was a poet, publicist, translator, editor, dramatist, and folklorist. He believed fervently in the ideals of the National Revival movement and many of his works reflect his aspirations for the education of the Bulgarian people and for political and religious independence from the Ottoman Turks. Some of Slaveikov’s most popular works were his humorous calendars, which contained a variety of writing styles, including poems, amusing sketches, and horoscopes. These calendars ...
Bulgarian Folk Calendar for Leap Year 1868
Bulgarian Folk Calendar for Leap Year 1868 is one of a number of popular folk calendars produced by En’o Kŭrpachev (1833–1916), a publisher in Constantinople (present-day Istanbul), during the National Revival era in Bulgaria. The first published Bulgarian calendar appeared in 1818. Over 100 of them were published during the National Revival era alone. The wave of popularity for Bulgarian calendars began in the 1840s and continued long past the end of the Revival period. Calendars were a popular genre of reading material in the 19th century, and ...
The Book of the Hyacinths in the Knowledge of the Dates of the Year
Little is known about the author of the present work, al-Ḥusayn ibn Zayd ibn ʻAlī Ibn Jaḥḥāf, apart from what can be inferred from the brief dedicatory note at the beginning of the present manuscript. It states that the work was composed for the Faṭimid caliph al-Ḥākim bi-ʼAmr Allāh, who died during the first quarter of the 11th century. The Kitāb al-Yawāqīt fī maʻrifat al-mawāqīt (The book of the hyacinths in the knowledge of the dates of the year) is composed of 12 calendrical ...
The Book of the Table for the Calculation of the Islamic and Christian Years
The correct reckoning of time has been the object of study by many Arabic scientists. Its importance in Islam has to do with the proper calculation of the length of days, months, and years necessary for the performance of the five daily prayers and for the celebration of festivals at the correct hours, days, and months of the lunar year. This 19th-century copy of a work by Muḥammad ibn ʻAbd al-Laṭīf Thābitī opens with some remarks on the signs of the zodiac, followed by a discussion of the 28 lunar ...
The Book of the Table Regarding the Knowledge of the Time and the Heavens for the Calculation of the Beginning of the Islamic and Christian Months
Because of the religious obligation to perform canonical prayers at set times of the day and the sanctity attributed to particular times of the year, such as the month of Ramaḍān, Muslim scientists have studied questions relating to the calendar and the reckoning of time almost since the beginning of Islam. The present manuscript presents tables for the comparison of the Hijrī and Christian years. Little is known of the author of these tables, al-Ḥusayn ibn Zayd ibn ‘Alī ibn Jaḥḥāf, beyond a marginal note, which states that Ibn Jaḥḥāf ...
The Book of the Delight of the Eye Regarding the Movement of the Two Luminaries
Little is known about the astronomer Muḥammad ibn ʻAbd al-Qādir al-Khalīlī al-Jaʻbarī, who wrote the treatise Kitāb qurrat al-‘ayn and prepared the accompanying astronomical tables preserved in this copy. Some information about the original work can be inferred from information provided on the last page of this manuscript, where the colophon specifies that the copy was produced in the year 932 AH (1525), based on an older, quite damaged manuscript. This information gives us a terminus ante quem (latest possible date) for the original work. The treatise also opens ...
The Lights of the Stars
The present manuscript is a commentary entitled Anwār al-nujūm (The lights of the stars) by an author who appears to have stated his name as Jamist al-Rumi (Jamist the Byzantinian). The work is based on Al-zīj al-jadīd (The new astronomical tabulations) by Alī ibn Ibrāhīm Ibn al-Shāṭir (died 1375), the most-distinguished Muslim astronomer of the 14th century. Ibn al-Shāṭir was active as muwaqqit (timekeeper) at the Umayyad mosque in Damascus, where he constructed a magnificent sundial to adorn the central minaret; it had special curves to measure the times ...