On Both Sides of the Strait of Gibraltar

Studies in the history of medieval astronomy in the Iberian Peninsula and the Maghrib


In On Both Sides of the Strait of Gibraltar Julio Samsó studies the history of medieval astronomy in al-Andalus (Muslim Spain), the Maghrib and the Christian kingdoms of the Iberian Peninsula. He proves that the Arabic, Latin, Hebrew, Castilian and Catalan sources belong to the same tradition whose origin can be dated in the 11th century due to the changes in Ptolemy’s astronomical theory introduced by the Toledan astronomer Ibn al-Zarqālluh/Azarquiel.
The book also analyses the role of al-Andalus and the Iberian Peninsula in the transmission of Islamic astronomy to Europe and justifies the fact that Eastern Islamic works published after ca. 950 CE were not accessible to medieval European scholars because they had not reached al-Andalus.

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Julio Samsó, Ph.D. (1966), University of Barcelona, is Emeritus Professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies at that university. He has published books and many articles on the history of medieval astronomy in al-Andalus and the Maghrib, including Las ciencias de los antiguos en al-Andalus (2nd edition, Fundación Ibn Tufayl, 2011), Islamic Astronomy and Medieval Spain (Variorum. Aldershot, 1994), Astronomy and Astrology in al-Andalus and the Maghrib (Ashgate Variorum. Aldershot, 2007).
“This massive volume is a remarkable achievement […] this book is an astounding synthesis comprising pretty much everything there is to know about the subject […] this book will be the first stop for many research projects in the field for the foreseeable future.” Robert G. Morrison, in the Journal for the History of Astronomy 52/4 (2021)

“This most impressive volume can be considered the summit of the extensive research undertaken by the author since 1960 on the development of astronomy in the Iberian Peninsula and the Maghrib during the Middle Ages […] The book is mainly addressed to historians of astronomy but it is written in such a clear and ordered way that all kind of historians, philologists, astronomers, mathematicians, scholars interested in scientific instruments and readers curious about the development of science in the Middle Ages, far from prejudices related to it being just "ten dark centuries", will enjoy the reading.” Azucena Hernández Pérez, in Sehepunkte (2021)
List of Figures

1 Historical Outline
 A Brief Chronological Survey
 1.0 Foreword
 1.1 Al-Andalus (711–1085)
 1.2 The Maghrib (700–1050)
 1.3 Almoravids (ca. 1050–ca. 1147) and Almohads (ca. 1147–1276)
 1.4 Al-Maghrib and al-Andalus between the Thirteenth and the Fifteenth Centuries
 1.5 Astronomy in the Christian Kingdoms of the Iberian Peninsula
 1.6 A Brief Conclusion

2 Mīqāt: Timekeeping and Qibla
 2.0 Introduction
 2.1 Calendars and Years
 2.2 Eras
 2.3 The Beginning of the Lunar Month
 2.4 The Hour
 2.5 The qibla

3 Astrology
 3.0 Introduction
 3.1 Patronage and the Practice of Astrology
 3.2 Thematic Surveys

4 Astronomical Instruments
 4.0 Introduction
 4.1 Spherical Instruments
 4.2 The Astrolabe
 4.3 Universal Astrolabes
 4.4 Quadrants
 4.5 Equatoria
 4.6 Jābir ibn Aflaḥ’s Observational Instrument

5 Hayʾa (Cosmology)
 5.1 Introduction: on the Meaning of Hayʾa in Western Islam
 5.2 The Treatises on hayʾa by Dūnash ibn Tamīm, Qāsim ibn Muṭarrif and an Anonymous Eleventh-Century Toledan Astronomer
 5.3 Jābir ibn Aflaḥ’s Mathematical Criticism of the Almagest
 5.4 The Twelfth-Century Andalusī Revolt against Ptolemy
 5.5 Hayʾa in Castile during the Reign of Alfonso X (1252–1284)
 5.6 Other hayʾa Sources between the Twelfth and the Fifteenth Centuries
 5.7 Conclusions

6 Astronomical Theory
 6.1 Introduction
 6.2 The Motion of Accession and Recession of the Equinoctial Points (al-iqbāl wa l-idbār, Trepidation Theory)
 6.3 Ibn al-Zarqālluh’s Solar Model
 6.4 The Lunar Model
 6.5 Conclusions

7 Astronomical Tables (zījes)
 7.1 Introduction: the Eastern Input in al-Andalus
 7.2 A General Survey of Andalusī and Maghribī zījes
 7.3 Maghribī zījes: the School of Ibn Isḥāq
 7.4 Other Maghribī zījes
 7.5 The Introduction of Eastern zījes in the Maghrib
 7.6 Zījes in the Christian Kingdoms of the Iberian Peninsula
 7.7 Almanacs and Ephemerides
 7.8 Conclusions
Index of Parameters and Numerical Values
Index of Names and Subjects
All interested in the history of medieval science in Islamic lands and in its influence in Europe. It is a reference book that will attract research institutes, university departments of Arabic and Islamic Studies, libraries and post-graduate students.
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