PSEUDO-ARISTOTELES: LETTERS TO ALEXANDER THE GREAT

MS 2048
MS Short Title PSEUDO-ARISTOTELES: LETTERS TO ALEXANDER THE GREAT
Text PSEUDO-ARISTOTELES: LETTERS TO ALEXANDER THE GREAT (SECRETA SECRETORUM)
Description MS in Arabic on paper, Syria, ca. 1250-1275, 79 ff. (complete), 25x19 cm, single column (18x12 cm), 13 lines in Arabic Naskhi script, emphasis and proper names in red and blue, large circular panel in black, red and blue.
Binding Syria, 19th c., blind-stamped leather, sewn on 5 cords, decorated edges, strips from Arabic MSS as sewing guards.
Context Paul Sbath had one of the most important collections of Arabic MSS ever formed, ca. 3000 MSS. 2000 MSS are in the Vatican Library, 1000 MSS were destroyed during the war, 2 MSS including the present one came to England.
Provenance 1. Imad ibn Ahmed, Syria (1441); 2. Georges Fattalla Belit, Aleppo, Syria (1801); 3. Paul Sbath, Aleppo, Syria, MS 884 (1924-1938); 4. Private collection, England (-1995); 5. Jeremy Griffiths, Oxford.
Commentary The text is said to be translated during the reign of Caliph al-Mansur (654-745 AD). The preface states that al-Batriq searched with great difficulty for a copy of the Greek text before finding one in the great library of the Temple of Abd Shams at Baalbek, which he borrowed and translated into Arabic. Al-Batriq was one of a group of translators who worked for the Caliph el-Mansur. He translated the works of Galen, Hippocrates and Ptolemy into Arabic from Greek, thus contributing to the extraordinary flourishing of science and natural philosophy in the Arab world, which became the foundation of these studies in the West in the later Middle ages. The Secret of Secrets was an immensely influential text intended as a guide to kings and rulers purporting to have been written by Aristoteles as a guide for Alexander the Great in the form of letters. The origins of the text is uncertain. No Greek original exists, and the treatise was most likely originally written in Arabic around 10th c.
Exhibited "Preservation for access: Originals and copies". On the occasion of the 1st International Memory of the World Conference, organized by the Norwegian Commission for UNESCO and the National Library of Norway, at the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Oslo, 3 June - 14 July 1996.
Place of origin Syria
Dates ca. 1250-1275

Location