Al-Khazini

Abū al-Fath Abd al-Rahman Mansūr al-Khāzini or simply al-Khāzini (أبوالفتح عبدالرحمن منصور الخازنی  (Persian), flourished 1115–1130) was an astronomer of Greek origin from Seljuk Persia.[1] His astronomical tables written under the patronage of Sultan Sanjar (Zīj al-Sanjarī, 1115) is considered to be one of the major works in mathematical astronomy of the medieval period.[2]:107 He provided the positions of fixed stars, and for oblique ascensions and time-equations for the latitude of Marv in which he was based.[3]:197 He also wrote extensively on various calendrical systems and on the various manipulations of the calendars.[2] He was the author of an encyclopedia on scales and water-balances.[4]

al-Khazini
Born11th century
Died12th century
EraIslamic Golden Age
Main interests
Astronomy, Mathematics

Life

Al-Khazini was an emancipated slave in Marv,[3]:197[5] which was then one of the most important cities of Khorasan. He got his name from his master (Abu‘l Husayn ‘Alī ibn Muhammad al-Khāzin al-Marwazī) who was the treasurer of Marv.[2]:107 The term khāzin was simply the title of the royal treasurer since the early Islamic period.[6] His master made provisions so that al-Khazini could obtain a first-class education.[2] Some believe that al-Khazini was a pupil of Omar Khayyam.[5] While this is not known, he wrote about Khayyam, in particular, he gave a description of the water-balance invented by him (and improved upon by Al-Isfizari).[3]:176 And according to some sources, he collaborated with him on the reformation of the Persian calendar in 1079.[7]:199

Al-Khazini was known for being a humble man. He refused thousands of Dinar for his works, saying he did not need much to live on because it was only his cat and himself in his household.[4] Al-Khazini was one of only about twenty astronomers of the Islamic era who performed original observations.[4] His works reached Byzantium in the 14th century, in particular, they were studied by George Chrysococces and later by Theodore Meliteniotes.[2]:107

Achievements

Al Khazini seems to have been a high government official under Sanjar ibn Malikshah and the sultan of the Seljuk Empire. He did most of his work in Merv, where they are known for their libraries.[4] His best-known works are "The Book of the Balance of Wisdom", "Treatise on Astronomical Wisdom", and "The Astronomical Tables for Sanjar".[4]

"The Book of the Balance of Wisdom" is an encyclopedia of medieval mechanics and hydrostatics composed of eight books with fifty chapters.[4] It is a study of the hydrostatic balance and the ideas behind statics and hydrostatics, it also covers other unrelated topics.[4] There are four different manuscripts of "The Book of the Balance of Wisdom" that have survived.[4] The balance al-Khazini built for Sanjar's treasury was modeled after the balance al-Asfizari, who was a generation older than al-Khazini, built.[4] Sanjar's treasurer out of fear destroyed al-Asfizari's balance; he was filled with grief when he heard the news.[4] Al-Khazini called his balance "combined balance" to show honor towards Al-Asfizari.[4] The meaning of the balance was a "balance of true judgment".[4] The job of this balance was to help the treasury see what metals were precious and which gems were real or fake.[4] In "The Book of the Balance of Wisdom" al-Khazini states many different examples from the Koran ways that his balance fits into religion.[4] When al-Khazini explains the advantages of his balance he says that it "performs the functions of skilled craftsmen", its benefits are theoretical and practical precision.[4]

The "Treatise on Astronomical Wisdom" is a relatively short work.[4] It has seven parts and each part is assigned to a different scientific instrument.[4] The seven instruments include: a triquetrum, a dioptra, a "triangular instrument," a quadrant, devices involving reflection, an astrolabe, and simple tips for viewing things with the naked eye.[4] The treatise describes each instrument and their uses.[4]

"The Astronomical Tables for Sanjar" is said to have been composed for Sultan Sanjar, the ruler of Merv and his balance was made for Sanjar's treasury.[4] The tables in "The Astronomical Tables for Sanjar" are tables of holidays, fasts, etc.[4] The tables are said to have the latitudes and longitudes of forty-three different stars, along with their magnitudes and (astrological) temperaments.[4] It is said that al-Khazini's observations for this work were probably done in Merv in various observatories with high quality instruments.[4]

See also

References

  1. ^ Durant, Will; Durant, Ariel (2011) [1950]. The Story of Civilization: The Age of Faith. Simon & Schuster. p. 352. ISBN 9781451647617.
  2. ^ a b c d e Montelle, C. (2011). The ‘Well-Known Calendars’: Al-Khāzinī’s Description of Significant Chronological Systems for Medieval Mathematical Astronomy in Arabic. In Steele J. (Ed.), Calendars and Years II: Astronomy and Time in the Ancient and Medieval World (pp. 107-126). Oxford; Oakville: Oxbow Books.
  3. ^ a b c Meyerhof, M. (1948). 'Alī al-Bayhaqī's Tatimmat Siwān al-Hikma: A Biographical Work on Learned Men of the Islam. Osiris, 8, 122-217.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w Al-Khāzinī, Abu’l-Fath ‘Abd Al-Raḥmān [Sometimes Abū Manṣūr ’ Abd Al-Raḥmān or ’Abd Al-Rahmān Manṣūr]., Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography., 2008, pp. 335–351.
  5. ^ a b Rosenfeld, B. (1994), Book reviews: Middle ages & renaissance., Journal of the History of Science in Society, pp. 85(4), 686.
  6. ^ Floor, Willem. "kazinadar". Encyclopædia Iranica. Retrieved 4 December 2017.
  7. ^ Mehdi Aminrazavi, The Wine of Wisdom: The Life, Poetry and Philosophy of Omar Khayyam, Oneworld Publications (2007)

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