Flowers of Abu Ma'shar


Ja‘far ibn Muḥammad al-Balkhī (787–886), known as Abū Ma‘shar, lived in Baghdad in the 9th century. Originally an Islamic scholar of the Hadith (the prophetic traditions of Muhammad) and a contemporary of the famous philosopher al-Kindī, Abu Ma’shar developed an interest in astrology at the relatively late age of 47. He became the most important and prolific writer on astrology in the Middle Ages. His discourses incorporated and expanded upon the studies of earlier scholars of Islamic, Persian, Greek, and Mesopotamian origin. His works were translated into Latin in the 12th century and, through their wide circulation in manuscript form, had a great influence on Western scholars. This book is the first edition of Abū Ma‘shar’s Kitāb taḥāwīl sinī al-‘ālam (also known as the Kitāb al-nukat) as rendered into Latin by the 12th century translator Johannes Hispalensis (John of Seville). The text concerns the nature of a year (or month or day), as determined by the horoscope, and was intended as a practical manual for the instruction and training of astrologers. Included in the book are numerous illustrations of the planets and constellations. The printing is by Erhard Ratdolt, a famous early printer from Augsburg, Germany who, with two compatriots, established a printing partnership in Venice in 1475.

Date Created

Subject Date

Publication Information

Erhard Ratdolt, Augsburg, Germany


Title in Original Language

Flores Albumasaris

Type of Item

Physical Description

20 leaves (the last blank); woodcuts: illustrated; 20 centimeters


  • Known as Flores astrologiae.

Last updated: August 18, 2016