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Type of Item
Al-Qabīṣī’s Treatise on the Principles of Judicial Astronomy
ʻAbd al-ʻAzīz Ibn ʻUthmān was a famous astrologer, believed, based on a comment in the Fihrist, to have been a contemporary of Muḥammad ibn Isḥāq Ibn al-Nadīm (active 987). He was probably born in al-Qabīṣ, which is a place-name shared by two locations in Iraq, one near Mawṣil, and the other near Sāmarra. He may have been of Persian descent. Al-Qabīṣī’s principal surviving work is al-Madkhal ilā ṣinā‘at aḥkām al-nujūm (Introduction to the craft of [knowing] the judgment of the stars), dedicated to Sayf al-Dawla, the Ḥamdānid ...
Compendium of Medical Texts by Mesue, with Additional Writings by Various Authors
This compendium of medical texts was printed in Lyon, in the shop of Benoît Bonyn (active 1523–44) in 1523. The major part and most significant text is by the renowned Nestorian Persian physician Yūḥannā Ibn Māsawayh (circa 790–857), known in the Latin West as Mesue, who was born in Samarra, present-day Iraq. According to al-Qiftī, Yūḥannā’s father, Abu Yūḥannā Māsawayh, a physician at the famed medical center at Jundīshāpūr (in southwest Persia, near modern Dezful) was asked to establish a hospital in Baghdad during the reign of ...
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 ...
Collection of Persian Poetry and Prose
This manuscript in Persian is an untitled Sufi text on meditation containing both poetry and prose. It was completed in early 1520, probably in Herat (present-day Afghanistan) or Mashhad (present-day Iran). The colophon, which is in Arabic, gives the name of the scribe, Mīr 'Alī Ḥusaynī Haravī (circa 1476−1543). The manuscript is on a firm cream-colored paper inlaid into light cream (folios 1−8) or pale greenish-blue margin paper, with the writing enclosed within alternating gold and cream (or green) bands with black ruling. The margin paper is profusely ...
Newspaper About the Country that the Spaniards Found in 1521, Called Yucatan
This small tract contains one of the first European descriptions of the Aztec civilization of Mexico and the earliest known European attempt to picture the city of Tenochtitlán (present-day Mexico City). Most likely published in Augsburg in 1522, the work is a translation into German of an earlier Spanish account of Hernando Cortes’s expedition to Tenochtitlán in 1519-20. The city is pictured rather fancifully as having five towers and five bridges. Another woodcut shows an Aztec religious ceremony involving human sacrifice. Cortés first reached Tenochtitlán in November 1519. He ...
Letter to Guillaume Budé, March 4, 1521
François Rabelais (1494?-1553) was a French Renaissance writer remembered for his comic masterpiece, Gargantua and Pantagruel. This letter is the first known text by Rabelais. It was written in 1521, when Rabelais was a young monk at the Franciscan monastery of Fontenay-le-Comte, and deeply immersed in the study of Greek and the humanities. The letter is addressed to Guillaume Budé, a classical scholar whom Rabelais admired. Intended to attract Budé’s attention and elicit his encouragement, the letter employs the conventional motifs of classical humanism. Rabelais left the cloister ...
Narrative Letter by Hernán Cortés
The name of Hernán Cortés (1485–1547) and the controversy surrounding him are linked to the conquest of Mexico, which was the most important event of his life. Cortés was born in Medellín, Spain. He studied at the University of Salamanca, took part in Spain’s conquest, in 1506, of Hispaniola and Cuba, and rose to become a municipal official in Cuba. In 1518, he took command of an expedition to secure the interior of Mexico. Cortés’s letters are an essential source for understanding the early Spanish presence in ...
Complete Book on the Judgment of the Stars
Abu al-Hassan Ali Ibn Ali Ibn Abi al-Rijal (also known as Haly or Hali, and by the Latinized versions of his name, Haly Albohazen and Haly Abenragel) was a late 10th-century–early 11th-century Arab astrologer and astronomer who served as court astrologer in the palace of the Tunisian prince, al-Muizz Ibn Badis. His best-known treatise, Kitāb al-bāri' fi ahkām an-nujūm (Complete book on the judgment of the stars), was one of the works translated by the team of Christian, Jewish, and Muslim scholars that King Alfonso X of Castile (reigned ...
Three Books on the Soul
Muhammad ibn Ahmed ibn Rushd (also known by the Latinized version of his name, Averroes, 1126–98) was a Muslim jurist, physician, and philosopher from Cordoba, Spain, best known in the West for reintroducing Aristotle to Europe and in the East for his medical works. He studied theology, law, and medicine, and wrote important works in all of these fields. He served as the religious judge of Seville in 1169–72 and as the chief judge of Cordoba in 1172–82. In 1169, Ibn Rushd began writing a series of ...
Theoretical and Practical Book by Al-Zahrawi
Abu al-Qasim Khalaf Ibn Abbas al-Zahrawi (936–1013), known in the West as Albucasis, was born in the city of Zahra, near Cordoba, Spain. Regarded as one of the greatest of the Arab physicians, he excelled in the fields of internal medicine, surgery, and ophthalmology. His best known work is his encyclopedia of medicine, Al-tasreef liman ajiza an al-taaleef (The method of medicine), generally referred to as the Al-Tasreef, which included sections on surgery, medicine, orthopedics, ophthalmology, pharmacology, and nutrition. The work described more than 300 diseases and their treatments ...
On Monastic Vows
De votis monasticis (On monastic vows) is Martin Luther’s attack on the monastic life. Coming just four years after he posted his 95 theses in Wittenberg, the work was an important component of his broader plans for reforming the Christian church in the West. In this booklet, which was written during his stay at Wartburg Castle in 1521—a time when Luther was moving beyond his attacks on indulgences to other issues—the great reformer argued that monks and nuns can violate their vows without committing a sin, since ...
Rule of Our Holy Father Benedict
This copy of the Rule of Benedict is accompanied by the essential documents important for monks of the Congregation of Santa Giustina in Padua, Italy, one of the major 15th-century reform movements among Benedictines in Europe. Included are the constitutions of the congregation, which explain their interpretation and the application of Benedict's sixth-century rule to the congregation’s own time and place, special privileges accorded to the congregation by the pope, and policies related to the Benedictine nuns who were affiliated with the congregation. Saint Benedict (circa 480–547 ...