The Circulation of the "Kutub al-Mutawassiṭāt" Astronomical Curriculum, 9th-13th Centuries

Apr 22, 2024, 12:00 pm1:20 pm
Free and open to the public



Event Description

Christine Roughan is a Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Center for Digital Humanities and Manuscript, Rare Book and Archive Studies. Christine earned her Ph.D. in the Ancient World from New York University in January 2023, where her doctoral work explored a premodern astronomical curriculum and its continued use in Greek and Arabic between the second and thirteenth centuries CE (with some influences also on scholarly activities in Syriac, Latin, Hebrew, and Persian).

In this talk I will introduce the Middle Books (Kutub al-Mutawassiṭāt), a corpus of texts so named because they comprised what was to be read between Euclid's Elements and the major ancient work of mathematical astronomy, Ptolemy's Almagest. This corpus of texts formed a curriculum in Arabic by this name very rapidly after their translation from Greek; this curriculum subsequently saw wide circulation throughout the medieval Islamicate world. Examining historical references to the Middle Books and the evidence of its manuscript witnesses provides a view into educational practices in this region as pertaining to astronomy. 


  • Department of Near Eastern Studies
  • Near Eastern Studies Program