The Abridged Amusement of the Calculator from "The Guide"

Description

Much traditional scholarship holds that the period after about 1250 saw a decline in the production of scientific and philosophical works in the Arab world. This view is challenged by the impressive number of manuscripts written after that date in different Arabic-speaking countries that contain original treatises and commentaries. The work preserved in this manuscript, Nuzhat al-Hussāb al-Muhtasara min al-Muršida (The abridged amusement of the calculator from The guide), is a shorter version of Muršida fī Sina’at al-Gubar (The guide to the art of the numerals), an extensive treatise on arithmetical operations written by Aḥmad ibn Muḥammad ibn al-Ha’im (1356–1412) around the end of the 14th century. After completing his studies in Cairo, Ibn al-Hāʼim left for Jerusalem, where he worked as a teacher of mathematics until his death. Several of his works, and especially the Nuzhat al-Hussāb, have a clear educational aim. The introductory section, in which the author describes the Hindi numerals and their correspondences with the traditional Arabic alphabetical numeration (abjad), is followed by a lengthy exposition on the four arithmetical operations: addition (jam‘), subtraction (tarh), multiplication (darb), and division (qisma). Ibn al-Ha’im's activity as a professor did not prevent him from devising particularly witty solutions for mathematical problems: he is credited with the discovery of a method for solving general second-degree equations without using divisions of fractions.

Date Created

Subject Date

Language

Title in Original Language

نزهة الحساب المختصرة من المرشدة

Type of Item

Physical Description

32 leaves (15 lines), bound : paper ; 21 x 15 centimeters

Notes

  • Paper: yellowed cream with watermarks, split from spine; termite damage; affected by humidity at bottom of pages, and brown stains on the last page. Text framed by double brown line. Text principally in black, with a few rubricated words. Calculations and notes in margin in brown ink; catchwords on rectos. Text is in Nastaʻliq script, with Diwani script on title page including a table of numbers from 1 to 100,000, and a verse from the Qurʼan in Thuluth script on folio 33b. Binding: old torn cardboard with leather spine and edges; spine broken into two.

Collection

Last updated: August 29, 2017