382 results in English
The Ash Wednesday Supper
La cena de le Ceneri (The Ash Wednesday supper), the first of Giordano Bruno’s six Italian philosophical dialogues, was first published in London in 1584. The title page indicates neither the place of publication nor the publisher, but scholars agree that the book was printed at the London shop of John Charlewood. The work is dedicated to the French ambassador to the English court, Michel de Castelnau, sieur de la Mauvissière, who assisted Bruno after his arrival in London in 1583. The book is divided into five dialogues and ...
Report on the Different Masses of Iron, Found in the Eastern Cordillera of the Andes
Mariano Eduardo de Rivero y Ustáriz (1798–1857) was a Peruvian scientist, geologist, mineralogist, chemist, archaeologist, politician, and diplomat. After schooling in Arequipa, he was sent in 1810 at age 12 to London to study mathematics, physics, and languages. In 1817 he traveled to France to the École royale des mines de Paris to study mineralogy and chemistry. In France he met Joseph Louis Proust, Gay-Lussac, and Alexander von Humboldt. The latter became his mentor and, during the course of his travels in Europe, Rivero discovered a new iron-oxalate that ...
Contributed by EAFIT University
Unique Algebraic Remainders on the Sibṭ’s Commentary on the Yāsamīnīyya
This work is an elaboration of the commentary written by the Egyptian mathematician Sibṭ al-Māridīnī—i.e., a commentary on another commentary—on the urjūzah (versified introduction) to the science of algebra, originally composed by the Berber mathematician and man of letters Abū Muḥammad ‘Abd-Allāh al-Ishbīlī al-Marrakushī, also known as Ibn al-Yāsamīn, who died in 1204 (600 AH). Al-Yāsamīn summarized his mathematical knowledge in a versified treatise known as the Yāsamīnīyya (The treatise by al-Yāsamīn). Around the end of the 15th century, al-Yāsamīn’s verses were the object of a ...
General History of the Things of New Spain by Fray Bernardino de Sahagún: The Florentine Codex. Book XI: Natural Things
Historia general de las cosas de nueva España (General history of the things of New Spain) is an encyclopedic work about the people and culture of central Mexico compiled by Fray Bernardino de Sahagún (1499–1590), a Franciscan missionary who arrived in Mexico in 1529, eight years after completion of the Spanish conquest by Hernan Cortés. Commonly referred to as the Florentine Codex, the manuscript consists of 12 books devoted to different topics. Book XI, the longest in the codex, is a treatise on natural history. Following the traditional division ...
On the Sphere and the Cylinder; On the Measurement of the Circle; On Conoids and Spheroids; On Spirals; On the Equilibrium of Planes; On the Quadrature of the Parabola; The Sand Reckoner
In the middle of the 15th century, a number of manuscripts by the third-century BC Greek mathematician Archimedes began to circulate in the humanistic centers in the courts of Italy. Piero della Francesca (circa 1416–92), the Renaissance artist best known for the frescos he painted for the Vatican and for the chapels in Arezzo, transcribed a copy of a Latin translation of Archimedes’s geometry (a compilation of seven surviving treatises) and illustrated it with more than 200 drawings representing the  mathematical theorems in the texts. This manuscript, long ...
The Recension of Euclid's "Elements"
This work is a printed edition of Kitāb taḥrīr uṣūl li-Uqlīdus (The recension of Euclid's Elements) by one of the intellectual luminaries of the Islamic world, the Persian polymath Naṣīr al-Dīn Muḥammad ibn Muḥammad al-Ṭūsī (1201–74). After his death al-Ṭūsī was referred to as al-muʿallim al-thālith (the third teacher, with Aristotle and Fārābī referred to as the first and second teachers, respectively). An extraordinarily prolific author, al-Ṭūsī made notable contributions to most of the intellectual fields of his era, writing on theology, mysticism, logic ...
Contributed by Qatar National Library
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 ...
Contributed by Qatar National Library
Complete Book on the Judgment of the Stars
This book is a Latin translation of Ibn al-Rijāl Abū al-Ḥasan al-Shaybānī al-Maghribī al-Qayrawānī’s principal scientific work, Kitāb al-bāriʻ fī aḥkām al-nujūm (Complete book on the judgment of the stars). Known in the Latin West as Haly Abenragel, or Haly Albohazen, Ibn al-Rijāl was the astrologer and leading official at the court of the Zīrid prince Muʻizz ibn Bādīs (1007 or 1008–62) at Qayrawān (present-day Kairouan, Tunisia). Kitāb al-bāriʻ consists of eight books covering several different types of astrology. These include interrogations, nativities, the discussions of the ...
Contributed by Qatar National Library
The Three Books on Alchemy by Geber, the Great Philosopher and Alchemist
Jābir ibn Hayyan (also known by his Latinized name Geber, circa 721–815) was a contemporary of the first Abbasids, who ruled circa 750–800, and one of the principal proponents of alchemy in the early Islamic period. The earliest biography of Jābir, in al-Fihrist, was written in the tenth century by Ibn al-Nadīm, a scholar and bibliographer living in Baghdad. It contains a fair number of legendary elements, although the list of works attributed to Jābir in this work has been shown by external evidence to be generally correct ...
Contributed by Qatar National Library
Compendium of Latin Translations of Persian Astronomical Tables
This volume is a compendium of six works that includes Latin translations of portions of the Zīj-i Sulṭānī by Muḥammad Ṭaraghāy ibn Shāhrukh ibn Tīmūr (1394–1449), known as Ulugh Beg. The other works include an excerpt from the Taqwīm al-Buldān (entitled “A Description of Khwārazm and Transoxiana from the Tables of Abū al-Fidāʾ”) by Abū al-Fidāʾ Ismāʿīl Ibn ʿAlī (1273-1331), and a star table by Muhammad ibn Muhammad Tizīnī. Ulugh Beg (“Great Commander” in Turkish) was a grandson of Tīmūr (known in the West as Tamerlane) and the ...
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Abū Ma‘shar’s Eight Treatises Regarding the Great Conjunctions, the Annual Revolutions, and Their Origins
Ja‘far ibn Muḥammad al-Balkhī (787–886), known as Abū Ma‘shar (and as Albumasar in the Latin West), was one of the most-renowned astronomers of the Middle Ages. His fame in Europe rested upon numerous Latin translations of his astronomical works from the original Arabic. He was born in the Persian city of Balkh (present-day Afghanistan), on 20th of Ṣafar, 171 AH (August 10, 787). He most likely received his early education in Balkh prior to moving to Baghdad, as his works are often colored by a distinct Persian ...
Contributed by Qatar National Library
The Threefold Lily of Practical Arithmetic
Johannes Huswirth (Sanensis) was a German arithmetician who flourished around 1500. Nothing is known of his life. That he is sometimes referred to as Sanensis suggests that he may have come from Sayn, Germany. Arithmetice Lilium Triplicis Practice (The threefold lily of practical arithmetic) presents basic arithmetic operations such as addition and multiplication for whole numbers and fractions. It treats much of the same material that Huswirth had covered in an earlier work, Enchirdion Algorismi (Handbook of algorithms). The work includes two woodcut illustrations; one of God the Father and ...
Contributed by Qatar National Library
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 ...
Contributed by Qatar National Library
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 ...
Contributed by Qatar National Library
Of Medical Substances
The precious codex known as the Dioscurides Neapolitanus contains the work of Pedanius Dioscorides, the Greek physician who was born at Anazarbus near Tarsus in Cilicia (present-day Turkey) and lived in the first century AD during the reign of the Emperor Nero. Dioscorides wrote the treatise Perì üles iatrichès, commonly known in Latin as De materia medica (Of medical substances), in five books. It is considered the most important medical manual and pharmacopeia of ancient Greece and Rome and was highly regarded in the Middle Ages in both the Western ...
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 ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Peony and Canary
The Japanese art of Ukiyo-e (“Pictures of the floating [or sorrowful] world”) developed in the city of Edo (now Tokyo) during the Tokugawa or Edo Period (1600-1868), a relatively peaceful era during which the Tokugawa shoguns ruled Japan and made Edo the seat of power. The Ukiyo-e tradition of woodblock printing and painting continued into the 20th century. This print, made in 1833 or 1834, is part of the series "Small Flowers" by Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849). It is unusual in its background color and its size. Other examples of this ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Ringling Circus Winter Quarters, Sarasota, Florida
John Ringling (1866–1936), one of the seven Ringling brothers who dominated the development of the American circus in the late 19th and early 20th century, moved the winter quarters of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus from its original quarters in Bridgeport, Connecticut, to Sarasota, Florida. Ringling’s vision, as recalled by Fred Bradna, equestrian director for the show, in his book The Big Top, was to “lay out the quarters like a zoo, and thousands of visitors will pay to see it. I’ll build an open-air ...
Lion
This depiction of what is probably a lion and a small antelope is from a set of 27 drawings on 15 sheets that was discovered in the National Library of South Africa in 1986. The drawings are important for presenting the earliest realistic depictions of the Khoikhoi, the original inhabitants of the Western Cape. The artist most likely was a Dutchman, born in the 17th century, who was attached in some capacity to the Dutch East India Company and possibly en route to the Dutch East Indies or on his ...
Sumatran Muntjac
This depiction of what is probably Muntiacus muntjak muntjak or Muntiacus muntjak montanus (the Sumatran muntjac) is from a set of 27 drawings on 15 sheets that was discovered in 1986 in the National Library of South Africa. The drawings are important for presenting the earliest realistic depictions of the Khoikhoi people, the original inhabitants of the Western Cape. The artist most likely was a Dutchman, born in the 17th century, who was attached in some capacity to the Dutch East India Company and possibly en route to the Dutch ...
Malaysian Tapir
This depiction of Tapirus indicus (the Malaysian or Asian tapir) is from a set of 27 drawings on 15 sheets that was discovered in 1986 in the National Library of South Africa. The drawings are important for presenting the earliest realistic depictions of the Khoikhoi people, the original inhabitants of the Western Cape. The artist has not been identified. He most likely was a Dutchman, born in the 17th century, who was attached in some capacity to the Dutch East India Company and possibly en route to the Dutch East ...
The Celestial Threads
Yazep Drazdovich (1888–1954), a versatile figure in the history of Belarusian culture, worked in different areas of art as a painter, sculptor, ethnographer, archeologist, and teacher. One of the founders of the school of national historical painting, he was called a Belarusian Leonardo Da Vinci and a Belarusian Tsiolkovskii (after the Russian and Soviet scientist and pioneer of astronautics). Drazdovich’s passionate desire to unlock the secrets of the night sky led him to formulate his own theory on the origin of the planets in the solar system. He ...
Białowieża Forest
Białowieża Forest lies partly in southwest Belarus and partly in eastern Poland and is situated on the watershed of the Black Sea and the Baltic Sea. As early as the late 14th–early 15th centuries, under Jogaila, grand duke of Lithuania and king of Poland, Białowieża, which is still the largest primeval forest in Europe, became a protected natural territory. This book by Georgīĭ Kart︠s︡ov contains information about the location and size of the forest, its topography, vegetation, and the history of royal hunting from the 1500s to ...
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 ...
Calculating Coptic Orthdox Easter
This manuscript deals with the calculation of Easter Sunday according to the Coptic calendar. Fixing this date each year governs much of the liturgical and devotional life of the Coptic Orthodox Church. The Coptic calendar begins in 284 AD, which is called Anno Martyrum (AM), or Year of the Martyrs. The first folio contains a table of the four seasons with their corresponding Coptic months and zodiacal signs. The following pages, some of which are torn or badly stained, provide instructions for calculating the movement of the moon and reconciling ...
Treatise on the Craft of Weight Measurement
This work is a treatise on the construction and use of the weighing balance (qabān, also qapān). It brings together geometric, mechanical, and arithmetic knowledge needed to construct and utilize measuring devices for weighing heavy and irregularly-shaped objects. The author’s name is unknown, but excerpts from another work by an already-deceased Shaykh ‘Abd al-Majīd al-Shāmulī al-Maḥallī are quoted in the treatise. The last page of the manuscript contains a sheet of verses that describe the basics of using a weighing balance, in a form that is easy to remember ...
The Tianyuan Jade Calendar in Verse Prose on the Auspicious and Unusual Signs
The author of this calendar is unknown. Traditionally it was attributed to Liu Ji (1311–75), an early Ming military strategist and statesman. This copy was issued in the 13th year (1477) of the Chenghua reign of the Ming. Several other editions were made, such as the one printed in 1619, a number of which are held by the National Central Library in Taiwan. Presented here is a one-juan handwritten copy, a rare early manuscript that is slightly damaged. The work lists 60 items, with four-character headings, such as “Heaven ...
Contributed by National Central Library
Calendar Compendium Following the New Western Method
Xu Guangqi (1562–1633), a scholar and official, was a native of Shanghai. He came into contact with Christianity in 1596, later met the Jesuit missionaries Matteo Ricci and João da Rocha in Nanjing, and was baptized in 1603 under the name Paul. After receiving a jin shi degree in 1604, Xu became a bachelor in the Hanlin Academy. From 1604 to 1607 he worked continuously with Ricci, translating works on mathematics, hydraulics, astronomy, and geography, among them Euclid’s Elements, entitled Ji he yuan ben. In 1628 Xu was ...
Contributed by National Central Library
Armillary Sphere
Zhang Heng (78–139 AD), a native of Xi’e, Nanyang (in present-day Henan Province), was an astronomer, mathematician, inventor, and an accomplished scholar. He began his career as an official during the Eastern Han dynasty (25–220). Controversy about his views and political rivalry with other officials led him to retire and return to Nanyang, but in 138 he was recalled to serve in the capital. He died a year later. He received posthumous honors for his scholarship and creativity. Two of his representative works are Hun yi (Armillary ...
Contributed by National Central Library
The Great Song Baoyou Calendar Produced in 1256
This work is a rare Qing copy of the 1256 Southern Song manuscript calendar, copied by painter Cheng Xugu in 1815. The first page records the location of the god of the year 1256, the nine constellations, the seven-color spectrum, and the size of the moon. Following this page is the report, dated the tenth month of the third year of the Baoyou reign of the Southern Song (1255) and submitted by the Astrological Service Bureau, responding to the imperial order to print the calendar. The report was signed by ...
Contributed by National Central Library
Reprint Edition of the General Introduction to Calendrical Astronomy
This work originally was written by Wang Yingming (died 1614) and was thought to be the first work of a Chinese scholar influenced by Western learning, as Wang was greatly influenced by Li Zhizao (1565–1630), the official and scholar who undertook the translation of several works by European Jesuit missionaries to China. The manuscript was completed in 1612. It was first published by Wang’s son Wang Yang in 1639. Shown here is a reprinted edition, published in 1646 by Jiguge, the largest publishing house established in Changshu in ...
Contributed by National Central Library
Snippets on the Three Calendars
Presented here is a manuscript copy of a Song edition of a collection of calendars, issued in the late-Ming dynasty by Jiguge, the largest private publishing house established in the late Ming. The work has three parts. Part one contains supplements on the auspicious days in each of the 12 months for the following activities: weddings, marriage proposals, gift giving, travel, boarding a ship, taking office, starting construction, scaffolding a house, digging the ground, moving into a house, burial, wearing and taking off a robe, filing a suit, opening a ...
Contributed by National Central Library
Guide to Astronomy
This handwritten copy of Tian wen bei kao (Guide to astronomy) was made in 1790 by Pingbo, whose seals are on the cover of the first of the two juan. No other information on the copyist is available. Juan one is a collection of texts taken from Xing jing (Star manual) by Shi Shen (circa 350 BC), Tian wen xing zhan (Astronomic star observation) by Gan De (between 475 and 221 BC), Shi ji (The records of the grand historian), Tian wen zhi (Astronomy treatise) in Han shu (History of ...
Contributed by National Central Library
Investigation into the Phenomena in the Atmosphere
This scientific work is by Gao Yizhi (the Chinese name of the Italian Jesuit missionary Alfonso Vagnoni (1566–1640)). Vagnoni left Europe for China in 1603, arrived in Macao in 1605, and later was transferred to Nanjing, where he built a new church in 1611. The building of the church caused jealousy and displeasure among the Chinese officials and Buddhist and Taoist monks. In 1616 Shen Que, vice minister of the Nanjing Board of Rites, submitted two memorials to the imperial court, asking for the expulsion of the missionaries on ...
Contributed by National Central Library
Illustrated Account of the World (Small Edition)
This work is by Nan Huairen, the Chinese name of Ferdinand Verbiest (1623–88), the Belgian Jesuit who joined the order in 1641 and was sent as a missionary to China in 1655. Verbiest arrived in Macau in 1658, together with Wei Kuangguo (Chinese name of Martin Martini, 1614–61), and later transferred to Xiaxi. In 1660, while in Shaanxi, he was summoned to Beijing to assist the German Jesuit missionary Johann Adam Schall von Bell in making a calendar. The first great test for Verbiest came during the so-called ...
Contributed by National Central Library
Explanation of the Telescope
The author of the work was Tang Ruowang (Chinese name of Johann Adam Schall von Bell, 1592–1666), the German Jesuit missionary, who, together with Jin Nige (Nicolas Trigault, 1577–1628), arrived in China in 1622. After studying Chinese in Beijing, Schall was sent on mission to Xi’an. He returned to Bejing in 1630 to continue the work of Deng Yuhan (Johannes Terentius, 1576–1630), the Swiss Jesuit missionary, on revising the calendar and devising various astronomical instruments. For his work, he received a plaque with the inscription “Imperial ...
Contributed by National Central Library
Work on Trigonometry
This work is a treatise on trigonometry by Li Madou, the Chinese name of the Italian Jesuit Matteo Ricci (1552–1610). Ricci left for China in 1581 and arrived in Macao in 1582. Together with Luo Mingjian (Michele Ruggieri, 1543–1607), he began his mission in Zhaoqing, Guangdong Province, where he published his Wan guo yu tu (Map of 10,000 countries), which was well received by Chinese scholars. He was expelled from Zhaoqing and went to Jiangxi, where in 1596 he became the superior of the mission. He lived ...
Contributed by National Central Library
Guide to Operations on Irrational Radicals for Neophytes
This mathematical treatise by Muḥammad b. Abi al-Fatḥ Muḥammad b. al-Sharafī Abi al-Rūḥ ‘Īsā b. Aḥmad al-Ṣūfī al-Shāfi‘ī al-Muqrī, was written in 1491-92 (897 AH). It begins with a "General Introduction," followed by two main parts, with a concluding section on the study of cubes and cube roots. Part I, "Operations on Simple Irrational Radicals," is divided into four chapters. Chapter 1 covers simplification of radicals. Chapters 2, 3, and 4 deal respectively with the multiplication, addition and subtraction, and division of radicals. Part II, on "Operations with Compound ...
Marie Curie
Marie Curie, neé Manya Sklodowska (1867–1934), was born in Warsaw. She immigrated to France in 1891 and studied at the Sorbonne. She worked with her husband, Pierre Curie (1859–1906), also a student and later professor at the Sorbonne, on magnetism and radioactivity. The Curies and French physicist Antoine Henri Becquerel (1852–1908) shared the 1903 Nobel Prize for Physics for their discovery of radioactivity. After her husband’s death, Marie succeeded to his university chair. In 1911 she won a second Nobel, the prize for chemistry, for her ...
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 ...
Two of the Master Jāmī’s Works on Prosody; Anonymous Treatise on Astronomy
This Persian manuscript dated 1025 AH (1616) contains two works on prosody by Nūr al-Dīn ‘Abd al-Rahmān Jāmī (1414–92), as well as an incomplete, anonymous work on astronomy. Jāmī was a great poet, scholar, and mystic who lived most of his life in Herat, present-day Afghanistan. The 69 leaves of the manuscript are on a variety of papers: thin, pink-colored laid paper (folios 1a−31b); cream-colored laid paper (folios 32a−35b); pink-colored laid paper (folios 36a−37b); cream-color laid paper (folios 38a−40b); light-green-colored laid paper (folios 41a−45b ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Picture Book of Chrysanthemums
The chrysanthemum, the flower loved by Tao Yuan-ming (365−427), a distinguished Chinese poet of the Eastern Jin dynasty, was brought to Japan around the beginning of the Heian period (794−1185). The plant took root on Japanese soil and by the Edo period (1600−1868) several hundred different types of chrysanthemum were being cultivated in the country. Gakiku is the first picture book of chrysanthemums published in Japan. Its beautiful illustrations and Chinese-style poems introduced readers to 100 different varieties of the flower. The text and lines are printed ...
Contributed by National Diet Library