The Shimmer of Al-Māridinī in the Explanation of the Treatise by al-Yāsamīn


The present manuscript preserves a very elegant copy of a work by one of the most prolific authors of the second half of the 15th century in the field of mathematics and related subjects: Badr al-Dīn Muḥammad ibn Muḥammad ibn al-Ġazal, best known as Sibṭ al-Māridīnī ("the son of al-Māridīnī’s daughter") from the name of his famous maternal ancestor, who was also a mathematician. The Lum‘a al-Māridīnīyya is an extensive prose commentary on a famous poem on algebra composed by the Maghrebi mathematician al-Yāsamīn around the last decade of the 12th century. In the present copy of this work, the poetical verses are highlighted in red ink. This feature provides the reader with an easy tool for distinguishing between the text of al-Yāsamīn's poem and its commentary. Sibṭ al-Māridīnī, who was at the time active as muwaqqit (timekeeper) at Al-Azhar Mosque in Cairo, selects a group of verses and analyzes their content in detail. The treatise opens with a definition of the elements of algebra known at the time (number, root, and sequence), then moves on to the description of the six canonical equations that had already been identified by al-Ḫwārizmī during the ninth century. A treatment of the algebraic operations of restoration, comparison, and multiplication and division of monomials concludes the poem and its commentary.

Last updated: April 3, 2018