[ASTRONOMY]. Miscellany volume of scientific texts (the majority never printed). MANUSCRIPT ON PAPER AND VELLUM
[Provence, 14th-15th century]
4o (192 x 144 mm). On paper and vellum (the inner and outer sheets of the quires mostly of 10 bifolia each), with distinguishable hair and flesh sides. 148 leaves (imperfect at beginnning and end, see contents). Light brown ink. Provencal semi-cursive script. With marginal annotations and instructive drawings and tables. (Fol. 1r with old jottings affecting text, slightly stained, a few leaves with frayed corners or edges, restored to size, some loss of single words on fols. 119rv, slightly cropped affecting single letters of marginal notes.) Modern blind and gold-tooled light brown morocco, blue paste-patterned edges, three modern paper flyleaves at back and front, two additional older flyleaves at the back.
I. Fols. 1rv: Fragment from a medical work. Includes some ointments and medical astrology based on the days of the month.
II. Fols. 2r-10v: Treatise on the planets by Immanuel ben Jacob Bonfils, a mathematician and astronomer of fourteenth-century Provence. Beginning missing, stub of the (probably only) missing leaf still visible between fols. 1 and 2. Not printed but found in several other manuscripts (Florence, Laurenziana Plut. 88.30; Munich, BSB, Cod. hebr. 386; and Rome, Bibl. Casanatense 3093).
III. Fols. 10v-25v: Short commentary on the tables of Abraham bar Hiyya ha-Nasi by Nathan, whose name is found in verses on fol. 14v. Cf. MS Rome, Casanatense 3093, fols. 72-80.
IV. Fols. 26r-28r: Short work on the calendar. Also includes a list of the propitious days of each month.
V. Fols. 28r-39r: Explanation of Abraham ibn Ezra's description of the astrolabe by a pupil of Immanuel ben Jacob. The author remarks that this work was composed in Orange (in Provence) when Immanuel studied the astrolabe with his students.
VI. Fols. 39r-39v: Sefer Tavnit ha-Esforah (on the armillary sphere).
VII. Fols. 39v-41r: Arithmetical problems.
VIII. Fols. 41v-47v: Figures describing the movements of the planets from the treatise al-Fargani by the ninth-century Arabic astronomer Ahmed al-Farghani.
IX. Fols. 48r-48v: Two notes on geomancy and on chess or a similar game.
X. Fols. 48v-64v: Commentary on the laws of Sanctification of the New Moon from Moses ben Maimon's Mishneh Torah, by Solomon ben Zaddik (or Zadok). Apparently a unique manuscript. Includes an explanation of the calendar in ten chapters (fols. 58v-54r), the commentary on the laws from Mishneh Torah, chs. 11-19 (fols. 54r-57v) and tables (fols. 58r-64v). On fol. 55r the author mentions the current year 5005 (= 1245).
XI. Fols. 65r-68r: Commentary on Immanuel ben Jacob's Shesh Kenafayim. These astronomical tables were very popular and were in use as late as the seventeenth century.
XII. Fols. 68r-80r: Abraham ibn Ezra's Keli ha-Nechoshet (commentary on the astrolabe). Copied in numerous manuscripts.
XIII. Fols. 80r-80v: Note on the appearance of the new moon.
XIV. Fols. 81r-88v: Immanuel ben Jacob's explanation of the astrolabe. At the end some additional notes on the same subject.
XV. Fols. 88v-92v: Commentaries on Euclid's Elements.
XVI. Fols. 92v-99v: Commentary on Euclid's introduction by the fourteenth-century scholar Abraham ben Solomon of Lunel (ha-Yarchi). Includes a preface explaining the importance of studying the sciences in general and mathematics in particular. Copied in only one other manuscript, Cod. Vat. 297. Published from this manuscript by G. Freudenthal, in Joseph Baruch Sermoneta Memorial Volume (Jerusalem 1998) p. 129-158.
XVII. Fols. 99v-118r: Levi ben Gershom's commentary on Euclid's Elements. Copied in only one other manuscript, Cod. Vat. 297. Published from this manuscript by J. Carlebach, in Festschrift [...] Dr. Salamon Carlebach (Berlin 1910) Hebrew section, p. 151-178, and in an annotated French translation by T. Levy, in Studies on Gersonides (Leiden 1992) p. 83-147.
XVIII. Fols. 118r-148v: Commentary on Euclid's Elements by the Arabic physician and mathematician 'Ali al-Hasan ben al-Hasan ibn al-Haytham (d. 1038). Only books 5-7, 10-11 (end missing). Translated by Moses ibn Tibbon. Found in three other manuscripts (Munich, BSB, cod. hebr. 36 and 290, and Moscow, Guenzburg 340). Cf. M. Steinschneider, Die hebrischen bersetzungen des Mittelalters und die Juden als Dolmetscher (Berlin 1893) p. 509-510. On fols. 123v-125r: Part 5 from Immanuel ben Jacob's Shesh Kenafayim.
REFERENCES: Neubauer, no. 138, p. 40-42, who provides incipits and explicits; Institute of Microfilmed Hebrew Manuscripts, Jerusalem, F 4799.