A Guide to Geometry, Surveying, the Launching of Missiles, and the Planting of Mines


Hadiyat Al-Muhtadi fil Al-Handassa (A guide to geometry, surveying, the launching of missiles, and the planting of mines) is a technical manual on geometry and surveying, as well as on the motion of projectiles and the construction of missiles. The pages have a number of tables and illustrations set in the text area, and the book has many diagrams and drawings in its wide margins. The work consists of an introduction, two chapters, and a conclusion. The author describes the first chapter as being on the figures of plane geometry and on their areas, the "knowledge of the angles," and the ratio of various quantities to each other. The second chapter is on solid geometry, or "instructional [three-dimensional] bodies and the elucidation of their areas and their proportions." The conclusion is an "elucidation of some of the geometrical sciences related to this work." A number of scientific instruments, such as the sextant, are also discussed. A note at the end of the manual states that it is a translation from "the language of Austria and France, by the most humble of God’s creatures, and the most feeble of his servants, ‘Uthmān ibn Mannān ..., in the chancellery of Belgrade." Little is known about ʻUthmān al-Muhtadī (also called ʻUthmān Ibn ʻAbd al-Mannān). The date provided on this copy is Muḥarram 10, 1193 AH (January 28, 1779 AD). The name of the copyist of the manuscript is given as Muḥammad ‘Ali ibn ‘Abd al-Raḥīm.

Last updated: June 17, 2014