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This webpage reproduces part of the

Claudius Ptolemy

published in the Loeb Classical Library, 1940

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
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From his own day well into the Renaissance Claudius Ptolemy's name was well-nigh pre‑eminent in astronomy, geography, and astrology alike. "The divine Ptolemy," he is called by Hephaestion of Thebes,1 and the expression shows that the reverence accorded him fell little short of idolatry. In such circumstances it is surprising that all we know of Ptolemy's personal history must be pieced together from passages in his own works, two scholia in ancient manuscripts, and brief notices to be found in later writers, some of them Arabian.2 The result, when the reliable is summed up and the false or fanciful subtracted, is meagre indeed. We can probably rely upon the reports that he was born at Ptolemaïs in Egypt3 and lived to the age of 78;4 he tells us that his astronomical observations were made on the parallel of Alexandria, which convinces Boll that Alexandria was his home, although there is another tradition5 that for 40 years he observed at Canopus, which was about 15 miles east of Alexandria, and it is known that he erected votive stelae in the temple at Canopus inscribed with the fundamental principles of his doctrines.6 Combining the various traditions with the fact that the earliest of his observations recorded in the Almagest was made in 127 and the latest in 151, we may conclude, further, that his life fell approximately in the years 100‑178,7 covering the first three-quarters of the second century of our era and the reigns of Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, and Marcus Aurelius.

A detailed and not too flattering description of Ptolemy's personal appearance and habits goes back, again, to the Arabic tradition, and has been repeated in some of the modern editions of Ptolemy's works,8 but on examination it proves to be nothing but the stock characterization of the philosopher given by the Greek physiognomists.9 There is, in fact, no more to be learned about Ptolemy from external sources, and his own works contain little that is biographical. We learn from them, however, that he took, in general, an Aristotelian position philosophically, though his predilection for mathematics led him to regard that division of science with far greater reverence than the more biologically minded Aristotle.10 One of his minor works and chapters in the longer ones are philosophical and testify to his knowledge of and interest in the subject. Though he was himself amply capable of original thought, he was acquainted with the work and writings of his predecessors, of Menelaüs in mathematics, of Hipparchus in astronomy, of Marinus of Tyre in geography, of Didymus in music, and of Posidonius in astrological ethnology and the arguments whereby astrology was defended. He drew freely and openly from them, and had the gift of systematizing the materials with which he dealt, a characteristic which is especially evident in the Tetrabiblos.

The works, genuine and false, ascribed to Ptolemy are: (1) the Almagest or Syntaxis Mathematica, in 13 books, the great treatise on astronomy; (2) Φάσεις ἀπλανῶν ἀστέρων καὶ συναγωγὴ ἐπισημασιῶν ("On the Apparitions of the Fixed Stars and a Collection of Prognostics"); (3) Ὑποθέσεις τῶν πλανωμένων ("On the Planetary Hypothesis"); (4) Κανὼν βασιλειῶν ("Table of Reigns"), a chronological table of reigns; (5) Ἀρμονικῶν βιβλία γ′ ("On Music," in three books); (6) the Tetrabiblos, of which later; (7) Περὶ ἀναλήμματος, De Analemmate, the description of a sphere on a plane (extant only in translation); (8) Planisphaerium, "The Planisphere"; (9) the Optics, in 5 books (its genuineness has been doubted); (10) the Καρπός or Centiloquium, a collection of astrological aphorisms (generally thought to be spurious); (11) the Geography; (12) the Πρόχειροι κανόνες or "Ready (astronomical) Tables"; (13) Προχείρων κανόνων διάταξις καὶ ψηφοφορία, "Scheme and Manipulation of the Ready Tables"; (14) Περὶ κριτηρίου καὶ ἡγεμονικοῦ, a short treatise dealing with the theory of knowledge and the soul. Of these, the Almagest, since it is mentioned in the Geography, the Ὑποθέσεις, and the Tetrabiblos, and since it contains no reference to observations after the year 151, was certainly not the latest. The three books mentioned, and possibly others, belong to the last third of the author's life.


The treatise with which we are especially concerned is now, and usually has been, called the Tetrabiblos or Quadripartitum, but more accurately it should be Μαθηματικὴ τετράβιβλος σύνταξις, "Mathematical Treatise in Four Books," which is the title found in some of the MSS.11 and is likely to have been that used by Ptolemy himself. Many of the MSS., however, use the title Τὰ πρὸς Σύρον ἀποτελεσματικά,12 "The Prognostics addressed to Syrus," in which certain of them substitute the similar but less common word συμπερασματικά for ἀποτελεσματικά.13 The book is a systematic treatise on astrology, but it should be remembered that in Ptolemy's time the two words ἀστρολογία and ἀστρονομία meant much the same thing, "astronomy," and that he called what we mean by "astrology" τὸ δι᾽ ἀστρονομίας προγνωστικόν,14 "prognostication through astronomy," which indeed it was, in his estimation.

In antiquity and the middle ages no one thought it inconsistent with Ptolemy's reputation as a scientific astronomer that he should also have written upon astrology, and consequently the Tetrabiblos passed without question as genuine.15 More lately, however, the wedding of astrology to astronomy has come to seem incongruous and for that reason the authenticity of the work has been challenged by certain scholars.16 In this brief introduction the question, of course, cannot be argued fully. There are, however, two reasons for dismissing any doubts concerning the authorship of the book. The first is that by the second century of our era the triumph of astrology was complete.17 With few exceptions every one, from emperor to the lowest slave, believed in it, and having weathered the criticism of the New Academy, astrology was defended by the powerful Stoic sect. Its position was strengthened by the prevalence of stellar and solar religion throughout the world, and it even captured the sciences, such as medicine, botany, mineralogy, chemistry, and ethnography. Furthermore, this continued to be the situation, in general, well into the Renaissance. Regiomontanus, Copernicus, Tycho Brahe, Galileo, Kepler, and Leibnitz all either practised astrology themselves or countenanced its practice. There is really no basis, therefore, for thinking it incongruous that Ptolemy should have believed in astrology or written upon it. The second reason for accepting him as the author of the Tetrabiblos is, as Boll18 has sufficiently demonstrated, that the book, in its general philosophic views, its language, and its astronomy, is entirely in accord with the Ptolemaic works whose genuineness has never been questioned. These arguments are too lengthy to be repeated here.


Though the Tetrabiblos enjoyed almost the authority of a Bible among the astrological writers of a thousand years or more, its Greek text has been printed only three times, and not at all since the sixteenth century. The editions are as follows:

(1) The first edition, edited by Joachim Camerarius, was printed by Froben at Nürnberg in 1535 in quarto. Besides the text, it contains Camerarius' Latin translation of Bks. I‑II and of parts of Bks. III‑IV, and his notes on Bks. I‑II, the Greek text of the Καρπός, and a Latin translation by J. Pontanus.a

(2) The second edition, also by Camerarius, was printed by Joannes Oporinus in octavo at Basel in 1553.19 This contains the Greek text of the Tetrabiblos, a Latin translation by Philip Melanchthon, and the Καρπός in both Greek and Latin. In the preparation of the first edition Camerarius had relied upon the Nürnberg codex (N in the list on p. xvii), in which his marks to guide the printer are still to be seen. He claims for his second edition to have corrected many mistakes in the text, and he has indeed managed to do away with many errors and misprints which are to be found in the first edition; but apparently, too, he made use of one or more additional MSS., probably of the general type of A in our list below, from which he introduced nearly a hundred readings at variance with N, and in some seventy-five other instances he altered the text by outright emendation. In spite of the attempted improvement the second edition retains some forty misprints or mistakes, half of them newly introduced; its punctuation is most illogical, and it is far from reproducing what seems to be the best tradition of the manuscripts.

(3) Fr. Junctinus included the Greek text of the Tetrabiblos in his Speculum astrologiae, the second edition of which, in two folio volumes, was issued at Leyden in 1581. Junctinus made no attempt to improve the text as already published.

Professor Franz Boll, whose studies of Ptolemy have been cited many times already, had begun work upon a new edition of the Tetrabiblos prior to his lamented death, July 3, 1924. His pupil, Fräulein Emilie Boer, however, continued Boll's task, and the appearance of their completed text has been awaited since 1926.20 I regret very much that my own work on the present text and translation could not have profited from the results of the textual studies of these two scholars.

Translations of the Tetrabiblos have been more numerous than texts. The oldest of them is the Arabian version, by Ishaq ben Hunein, made in the ninth century. Thence in turn Plato Tiburtinus, in 1138, and Aegidius de Thebaldis, in the middle of the thirteenth century, made Latin translations, which were the chief means whereby Western Europe knew the Tetrabiblos up to the time of the first edition of the Greek text. Printed editions of these translations — the first dated 1484 — appeared,21 and they were also circulated in manuscript form. More important are the Latin translations made directly from the Greek, beginning with that of Camerarius himself, which was printed both with his text, as noted above, and by itself.22 The translation by Antonius Gogava, first issued at Louvain in 1543, was several times reprinted at other places, for instance, at Padua in 1658, and was the version used by Cardanus to accompany his commentary. Philip Melanchthon's translation made its appearance in 1553, as we have seen; this, too, was issued separately later.23 An English translation by John Whalley was published in 1701 and in a second edition in 1786,24 which, as Ashmand says, "was not, in any one instance, purified from the blunders and obscurities which disgraced its predecessor." In truth, Ptolemy is not easy to translate accurately, and though Whalley's version is worse than the others, all show a certain willingness to disguise the difficulties with smooth-sounding but non-committal phrases.25

The importance and popularity of the Tetrabiblos is shown by the number of commentaries upon it which have been made. In antiquity, as we deduce from expressions used in writings still extant, a considerable number existed;26 the name of one commentator, Pancharios, survives, but none of his work except a few quotations.27 Three such treatises which did survive, however, were edited by Hieronymus Wolf and published with Latin translations in folio at Basel in 1559. These are (1) an anonymous commentary on the Tetrabiblos, attributed by some, as Wolf says, to Proclus; (2) an introduction to the Tetrabiblos, to which the name of Porphyry is attached, though its authorship is by no means certain; (3) the scholia of Demophilus. These have not been republished, but are to be found in a number of manuscripts. Of greater importance for the study of the Tetrabiblos is the Paraphrase attributed to Proclus, but which, of course, may not have been his at all. Since it follows the Tetrabiblos very closely, and since, as it happens, one manuscript of the Paraphrase is older than any of those of the Tetrabiblos, this document must be taken into consideration by any editor of the later work. The first and only edition of the Paraphrase, with a preface by Melanchthon, appeared at Basel in 1554,28 and the standard Latin version, from which at least two English translations have been made,29 is that of Leo Allatius (Elzevir, Leyden, 1635). Besides the Paraphrase and the ancient commentaries, the elaborate commentary by Hieronymus Cardanus, published in the sixteenth century, should also be mentioned.30


There are in European libraries at least thirty-five manuscripts containing all or a large part of the Tetrabiblos, besides a considerable number which contain partial texts or astrological miscellanies in which Ptolemy is cited along with other writers. Parts of the Tetrabiblos, too, are quoted by other authors, like Hephaestion of Thebes. Finally, there are a few manuscripts with Latin or Arabic translations. In spite of this volume of material, however, the earliest text of the Tetrabiblos itself is one of the thirteenth century. There is but one full manuscript even of this degree of antiquity, and only two or three from the fourteenth century; most of them are from the fifteenth and sixteenth. In view of this fact it is fortunate that we have one (but only one) manuscript of the Paraphrase which antedates all of these, having been written in the tenth century.

In preparing the present text of the Tetrabiblos I have been obliged to work entirely with photographs and photostats. However, by a fortunate circumstance, I was able to secure a collection of these which had been brought together by a German scholar unknown to me and which apparently includes the most important manuscripts.31 Those manuscripts, therefore, which have been collated and used, and the symbols which I have used to refer to them, are as follows:32

V: Vaticanus gr. 1038, S. XIII. Contains a number of the works of Euclid, Hypsicles, and Hero, and an almost complete collection of the writings of Ptolemy, with the Tetrabiblos on ff. 352‑384v.; the ending, after p207, 19 (Cam.2), does not appear. Heiberg (Deutsche Litteraturzeitung, 1900, p417) believes that it was largely copied from Vat. gr. 1594, S. IX, which contains other Ptolemaic texts in a relatively pure form but does not, now at least, include the Tetrabiblos. A distinctive feature of this manuscript is the large number of small lacunae left by the scribe when he could not read his archetype or found it defective. In this Boll sees an indication of faithfulness and reliability. Cf. F. Boll, "Zur Ueberlieferungsgeschichte der griechischen Astrologie und Astronomie," Sitzungsberichte d. K. B. Akad. d. Wiss. zu München, phil.‑hist. Cl., 1899, pp77 ff.; CCAG, V. 1, no. 9.

D: Parisinus gr. 2509, S. XV. Contains the Tetrabiblos on ff. 14‑81v., followed by the Καρπός. Cf. Omont, Inv. II.274; CCAG, VIII.3, no. 82. A copy of V, but the lacunae were filled in from another source.

P: Parisinus gr. 2425, S. XV. Contains the Tetrabiblos on ff. 8‑63v. The most immediately striking feature of this manuscript is its constant mis-spelling of words due to the confusion of αι and ε; ει, η, and ι; ο and ω, for example: that is, the confusions typical of late Greek. They may indicate that the manuscript (or an ancestor) was copied from dictation. P also has an ending which differs from the final sentences of the Camerarius editions and most other manuscripts.

L: Oxon. Laud, gr. 50, S. XVI. A copy of P, of no independent value. Paris. Suppl. gr. 597 is another copy of P.

N: Norimbergensis Cent. V, app. 8, S. XVI. This is the basis of Camerarius' text. It contains the Tetrabiblos (to p187, 6 Cam. only) on ff. 1‑59v. Cf. CCAG, VII. no. 42.

A: Vaticanus gr. 208, S. XIV exeuntis. This manuscript uses the term συμπερασματικά in the title instead of ἀποτελεσματικά. F and H below are related to A. Mercati and De' Cavalieri, Codices Vaticani graeci, i (Rome, 1923); CCAG, V. 1, no. 6.

E: Monacensis gr. 419, S. XIV. In this manuscript book and chapter headings are missing, and the ending is omitted (from p212, 7 Cam.). It is closely related to M (below), but in the latter the missing parts have been supplied in a second hand.

F: Venetus Marc. 323, S. XV. Contains the Tetrabiblos on ff. 403‑461. Zanetti, Bibliotheca, p146; Morelli, Bibliotheca, p195; CCAG, II. no. 4.

G: Vindobonensis philos. gr. 115, S. XIII. Contains a portion of Book II of the Tetrabiblos in ff. 7‑16v. Cf. Boll, Sitzungsb. Münch. Ak. 1899, I. p84.

H: Venetus Marc. 324, S. XIV‑XV. The Tetrabiblos is on ff. 156r‑189v. Zanetti, p149; Morelli, p207; CCAG, ii no.5.

M: Venetus Marc. 314, S. XIV ineuntis. Contains the Tetrabiblos on ff. 1‑76v. See on E, above. Zanetti, p146; Morelli, p195; CCAG, ii no. 3.

Besides the manuscripts of the Tetrabiblos itself the oldest manuscript of the Paraphrase has been utilized: Vaticanus gr. 1453, S. X, containing this text on ff. 1‑219. This is cited as Proc. Camerarius' two editions of the Tetrabiblos are cited respectively as Cam.1 and Cam.2, or simply Cam., if they agree.

A puzzling problem connected with the manuscripts of the Tetrabiblos concerns their ending. In one group the conclusion is entirely missing, and has either been left so33 or an ending supplied which is identical with that of Proclus' Paraphrase;34 in the other an ending appears which is considerably longer than the former, but which is precisely the same in its general content, and is to be found in the Arabic version of the Tetrabiblos.35 One thing is certain: the first of these endings is spurious. Of course it does not follow that the other is genuine; if it is not, however, the original ending of the book must have been lost so early that it is missing in all the manuscripts. This is a situation that not infrequently occurred in ancient times, especially when a book was from the first existent in the form of a codex, not a roll; yet I am not ready to concede it in this instance, for these reasons: (a) the ending shown in P could readily, from its language, have been written by Ptolemy himself;36 (b) the ending taken from the Paraphrase is obviously a summary of that found in P, and I cannot conceive how anyone (except perhaps Ptolemy) could have reversed the process and evolved the tortuous, crabbed Greek of the latter from the comparatively simple language of the former. Thus the ending found in P has the better claim to originality, and if it was not written by Ptolemy in the first place it is extremely difficult to explain how it came to be written at all in the form in which we find it. Since the question, however, is admittedly complicated, and not all the extant manuscripts could be studied in preparing this edition, both endings have been included in the text and translation.

In constructing the text which follows, my underlying purpose has been to abide by the best manuscript tradition; very few emendations have been attempted, and I think no great amount of emendation is necessary. My collations have been made against Camerarius' second edition, because thus far this has been the standard text and it was most convenient; I have not, however, allowed Camerarius' choice of readings to influence me unduly, for his text, in the first place, was not based upon the oldest and best manuscripts and it is, besides, full of his emendations. It was quite evident that this edition of the Tetrabiblos should be built up anew, independently of Camerarius' work. Without making the exhaustive studies of the relationships of the manuscripts which should eventually be carried out, I have proceeded on the assumption that V and P best preserve the original text, representing somewhat different strains. With V and its copy D, the oldest text of Proclus' Paraphrase is evidently in close alliance, and among the Tetrabiblos manuscripts MAEFHG are inclined in general to follow the lead of V, ME and AFH being related between themselves, as has already been stated. N apparently belongs rather to the P family, if there is such, but it is far from presenting a pure text; its peculiarities are, in my opinion, the result of attempts to edit or improve. The later manuscripts, however, all show aberration to a greater or less extent, and VPLD Proc. are frequently to be found arrayed against MNAE (I leave FGH out of consideration because only a few pages of each of them have come into the reckoning). In such cases I have seldom hesitated to follow VPLD, and in general, too, I agree with Boll that V is the best single guide that we have.

I am conscious that in many passages this translation falls short of the intended goal, a version which, in spite of the technical, unfamiliar subject, could readily be understood by itself or at least with the help of a few notes. Ptolemy, however, was a difficult author even for the ancients; the existence of the Paraphrase and the frequent flounderings of the anonymous commentator testify to this. He displays a certain enthusiasm for his subject, but beyond this it would be impossible to commend his literary style or even the clearness of his exposition. He is fond of long, involved sentences and has a number of mannerisms, among them a fondness for the infinitive with the article and an almost Teutonic habit of piling up long strings of modifiers between article and substantive, which often results in sequences of two or even three articles. It would, under the circumstances, be almost impossible to make him crystal clear, but I trust there are not too many Heraclitean passages.

Annotation of the Tetrabiblos could be carried to great lengths by collecting comparable passages from other astrological writers. The comments attached to this translation, however, are intended only to help the reader over difficulties and have been kept at minimum length.

Many friends have assisted, in one way or another, with this work. Some I cannot thank as I would like to do; but I must express appreciation to Professor W. Carl Rufus for criticizing the astronomy of my translation; to Dr. William Warner Bishop, Librarian of the University of Michigan, for procuring much-needed books and the photostatic reproductions of the manuscripts; and to Franz Cumont for ever helpful interest and suggestions.

The Editor's Notes:

1 In Catalogus Codicum Astrologicorum Graecorum (hereafter cited as CCAG), VIII.2, p81, 2.

2 The sources are collected and discussed by F. Boll, "Studien über Claudius Ptolemäus," Jahrb. f. Cl. Ph., Supplementbd. xxi 1894, pp53‑66 (hereafter cited as Boll, Studien).

3 Theodosius of Melitê is the authority; Boll, op. cit., pp54‑55. An eleventh-century work of Abulwafa (ibid., pp58‑62) gave rise to the belief that he was born at Pelusium, so that, e.g., he is called Πηλουσιεύς in the title of the first edition of the Tetrabiblos.

4 This comes from Abulwafa.

5 Preserved by Olympiodorus (fourth century), In Plat. Phaed., p47, 16 (Finckh).

6 Boll, Studien, p66. Heiberg gives the text in his edition of the Opera astronomica minora of Ptolemy (Leipzig, 1907), pp149 ff.

7 This is Boll's conclusion (op. cit., p64), accepted by Christ, Griechische Litteraturgeschichte, 6th ed., 1924, II.2, p896. Bill, ibid., pp63, 65, cites the passages of the Almagest which refer to the dated observations. He points out that a very slight change in the text of Almagest, X.1, would make the date of the latest observation 141 instead of 151, but though this would, perhaps, agree better with some of the traditions, there is no real reason for altering the figure.

8 E.g. in the preface of the Latin version of the Almagest published at Venice in 1515; and the preface of the translation of the Tetrabiblos by Whalley (see below, p. xv).º

9 Boll, Studien, pp58‑62.

10 Op. cit., pp66‑111, 131‑163.

11 E.g. N (see below). Τετράβιβλος alone is used by P and E.

12 E.g. VMDE. Syrus is otherwise unknown. The Anonymous who comments on the Tetrabiblos says that some considered it a fictitious name, others that Syrus was a physician skilled in astrology. Several other works of Ptolemy — notably the Almagest — are dedicated to him.

13 E.g. A.

14 Tetrabiblos, I. ad init.

15 Boll, Studien, pp127‑131.

16 Chiefly Hultsch. Cf. Boll's remarks in his paper "Zur Ueberlieferungsgeschichte der griechischen Astrologie und Astronomie," Sitzungsber. d. Münch. Ak., phil.‑hist. Cl., 1899, pp77 ff.

17 See, for example, Chapters II‑III of Boll-Bezold, Sternglaube und Sterndeutung (ed. 3, revised by W. Gundel). Leipzig: B. G. Teubner, 1926. F. Cumont, Astrology and Religion among the Greeks and Romans. New York: Putnam, 1912.

18 Studien, pp111‑181.

19 Κλαυδίου Πτολεμαίου Πηλουσιέως τετράβιβλος σύνταξις πρὸς Σύρον ἀδελφόν. Τοῦ αὐτοῦ Καρπός, πρὸς τὸν αὐτὸν Σύρον. Claudii Ptolemaei Pelusiensis libri quatuor, compositi Syro fratri. Eiusdem Fructus librorum suorum, sive Centum dicta, ad eundem Syrum. Innumeris quibus hucusque scatebant mendis, purgati. Basileae, per Ioannem Oporinum. This is the title page of the Greek text. The portion containing the translations has a separate title page.

20 In fact it appeared in 1940 (19572) as Vol. III, Fasc. 1 of the Teubner edition of Claudius Ptolemy. The same year saw also the publication of Porphyry's Isagoge (see page xvi below) in CCAG V, iv, edited by Stefan Weinstock and Emilie Boer. (Editor's note 1980).

Thayer's Note: The above note remains under copyright (© Harvard University Press 1980). It is so brief as surely to fall under fair use.

21 On the early Latin versions see Thorndike, History of Magic and Experimental Science (New York, 1923), I, p110. MSS. of the Arabic version exist at the Escurial and in the Laurentian Library at Florence.

22 Printed by Joannes Petreius, Nürnberg, 1535, with Camerarius' notes.

23 E.g. a rudely printed duodecimo from the press of the heirs of Petrus Thomasius, Perusia, 1646, is in the writer's own library.

24 The Quadripartite; or, Four Books Concerning the Influences of the Stars . . . by Claudius Ptolemy. . . . By John Whalley, Professor of Physic and Astrology, and Others. The Second Edition, Revised, Corrected, and Improved. London: Printed for the Editors, and sold by M. Sibley . . . and E. Sibley . . . 1786.

25 German translations also exist; e.g. by J. W. Pfaff in his Astrologisches Taschenbuch, 1822‑23 (mentioned by Christ, Gr. Litteraturgeschichte), and one by M. E. Winkel, Linseverlag, 1923, which is based on the Latin of Melanchthon (v. W. Gundel in Jahresb. ü. die Fortschritte d. Kl. Alt. 241, 1934, p74).

26 Boll, Studien, p127.

27 E.g. ap. CCAG, VIII.2, p67, 18 ff.; cf. Kroll, Philologus, lvii (1897), p123.

28 Πρόκλου τοῦ διαδόχου τῶν ἀσαφῶς εἰρημένων Πτολεμαίῳ, καὶ δυσπαρακολουθήτως ἐν τῷ αὐτοῦ τετραβίβλῳ, ἐπὶ τὸ σαφέστερον καὶ δυσπαρακολουθήτον [sic] μεταχείρησις. Procli paraphrasis in quatuor Ptolemaei libros de Siderum effectionibus. Cum praefatione Philippi Melanthonis. Basilea, apud Joannem Oporinum [1554].

29 J. M. Ashmand, Ptolemy's Tetrabiblos or Quadripartite etc. London: Davis and Dickson, 1822. James Wilson, The Tetrabiblos or Quadripartite of Ptolemy, etc. London: W. Hughes [1828]. Charpulier, Les Discourses,º etc., 136, n2, cites a Ptolemy's Tetrabiblos, by J. M. Ashmand, London, 1917.

Thayer's Note: Ashmand's translation is online at the Internet Sacred Text Archive. I find no trace of any 1917 edition; but then I've been unable to find any author by the unlikely name of *Charpulier. There is already though, as flagged, one typographical error in the note above, so the possibilities widen out tremendously.

30 Editions were published at Basel in 1554 and 1579, at Leyden in 1555, and in the fifth volume of Cardanus' works (Leyden: Huguetan and Revaud, 1663).

31 The purchase of this collection was made possible by the Faculty Research Fund of the University of Michigan. It was accompanied by an anonymous description of the MSS. of the Tetrabiblos, to which I am indebted for information about many MSS. which I could not personally interpret.

32 Of F and H only a few sample pages have been available.

33 V breaks off at p207, 19 Cam.2, E at p212, 7 (the beginning of the concluding passage). N also in its present state lacks the conclusion (from p187, 6 Cam.2), but this may have been lost at the time the first edition was made, and since Camerarius probably made some use of at least one other MS. we cannot be sure whether N originally had the conclusion or, if so, if it was of the type which Camerarius actually printed (i.e. the one taken from the Paraphrase). N in general resembles P and one would have expected it to have the same conclusion as P. On the other hand, if it did, one would have expected Camerarius to reproduce it, for it is unlikely that he would have departed from his preferred MS. in so important a particular.

34 MAD. D, after the point at which V ends, is written in a different ink; the conclusion of M (p212, 7 ff. Cam.2) is in a different hand.

35 P and its copies alone have this ending. My colleague, Professor William H. Worrell, has examined the conclusion of the Arabic version as it appears in Cod. Laur. Orient. 352, ff. 234v‑235r. It is close to, but perhaps not identical with, the ending of P.

36 It echoes many words and thoughts found in p106, 25‑108, 10 Cam.2, which need not be separately enumerated; not, however, in a manner which would indicate that it is a forgery based on the passage, for Ptolemy elsewhere repeats phrases in much the same way, especially when he wishes to point out that he is carrying out a pre-determined scheme. Note, however, in addition, that ἁρμόζειν and ἐφαρμόζειν are favourite words of Ptolemy, and cf., for example, pp17.1‑2, 117.6, 120.9 Cam.2 and p1.21 (with Boll, Studien, p171); cf. with διοδευομένου the similar forms of ἐφοδεύω and ἐφοδικῶς, pp103.13, 18; 106.26; 202.16 Cam.2; and Boll, op. cit., p179; and with διὰ τὴν . . . πρόθεσιν, cf. p202.18, ὥσπερ ἐν ἀρχῇ προεθέμεθα. In fact practically every word of the passage except the doubtful χρηματείαις is to be paralleled in the Tetrabiblos, usually many times; to arrange them in so exact an approximation to Ptolemy's usual style would demand a forger of superhuman ingenuity.

Thayer's Note:

a Jovianus Pontanus was the nom de plume of the Umbrian scholar and poet Giovanni Pontano, who had died more than thirty years before that.

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