Commentary on the Forms of Foundation


This work is a commentary on Ashkāl al-ta’sīs (Forms of foundation), a geometrical tract by Shams al-Dīn Muḥammad b. Ashraf al-Ḥusaynī al-Samarqandī. The author of the commentary, Qāḍīzāda al-Rūmī (Ṣalāh al-Din Mūsā ibn Muḥammad, 1364–1436) was one of the principal astronomers at the celebrated Samarkand observatory. He was a native of Bursa, where his father Maḥmūd served as a prominent judge (hence the appellation Qāḍīzāda, which means "born to a judge" in Persian). The commentary was completed in 1412 (814 AH) and, judging from the many surviving copies, was hugely popular. The work is dedicated to Qāḍīzāda's patron, Ulugh Beg, the astronomer and builder of the Samarkand observatory, who served as governor of Transoxiana from 1409 to 1447 and as ruler of Timurid Persia in 1447–49. Ashkāl al-ta’sīs is a treatise on 35 fundamental postulates in the first book of Euclid’s Elements. It was widely copied and appears in the holdings of many collections in Europe and Asia. The present manuscript has numerous geometrical figures in red and black ink, containing as well many marginal notes in Arabic. It was completed in 1126 AH (1714–15). Little is known about al-Samarqandī, the author of the work on which Qāḍīzāda wrote his commentary. He was active in the 13th century, and a manuscript currently in Istanbul (Laleli 2432), for which one of al-Samarqandī's students may have served as copyist, states that al-Samarqandī died on the 22nd of Shawwāl, 702 AH (June 9, 1303).

Subject Date


Title in Original Language

شرح أشكال التأسيس في الهندسة للسمرقندي

Type of Item

Physical Description

36 pages : illustrations ; 22 x 17 centimeters

Last updated: March 8, 2016