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Al-Sufi And Son: Ibn Al-Sufi'S Poem On The Stars And Its Prose Parent

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Chapter Summary

This chapter examines the history of how and where the Ibn al-Sufi's Poem was composed, illustrated, and subsequently transmitted and received. It investigates how the Poem relates to its parental treatise, both in terms of fidelity to and emancipation from the original text, for the son was certainly selective in what he saw fit to extract and versify. Focussing on the finest surviving copy of the Poem, the text and illustrations are analyzed along a model of two corresponding chronological layers. The first "layer" examines how Ibn al-Sufi combined versified data and imagery to elucidate a connection between classical Ptolemaic constellations and those of Bedouin Arab usage as two distinct systems of mapping the (same) stars in the night sky. The second "chronological layer" proceeds to a specific manuscript copy of the Poem in order to consider how the work was used and judged in later times.

Keywords: classical Ptolemaic constellations; Ibn al-Sufi's; night sky; Poem on the Stars



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