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Sukkar

(914 words)

Author(s): Ruska, J.
, from Pers. s̲h̲akar or s̲h̲akkar, from Sanskrit çarkarā, Prakrit sakkarā, the sap crushed from the sugar-cane ( ḳaṣab al-sukkar) and solid sugar. Vullers (ii. 439) gives the following from the Bh: s̲h̲akkar is in the technical language of the physicians the sap of a plant, similar to the reed ( nay) but not hollow between the nodes, which becomes solid on boiling. It is given different names in different stages of preparation. Thus for example, when not yet purified (simply solidified) it is called s̲h̲akkar surk̲h̲ (red sugar); when it is boiled a second time and purified by b…

ʿAnkabūt

(367 words)

Author(s): Ruska, J.
(a.), the spider. Al-Ḳazwīnī and al-Damīrī mention several species, the most dangerous of which is the poisonous tarantula, al-Rutailāʾ or al-Rut̲h̲ailāʾ. Al-Damīrī also describes a fieldspider of reddish colour with fine hair on its body; at the head it has four claws with which it bites; it digs a nest in the ground, and seizes its prey by night. The weaving spiders make their ¶ webs according to mathematical rules; according to some the male spins the warp and the female the worf; according to others the female only is capable of making a web; as material…

Almās

(329 words)

Author(s): Ruska, J.
— frequently regarded as a determined noun ( al-mās; correctly al-Almās according to Ibn al-At̲h̲īr, in Lisān viii. 97: the ’l belongs to the root as in Ilyās), a corrupt form from the Greek ἀδάμαΣ ( l. c. “ wa-laisat bi-ʿarabīya”), — the diamond. According to the pseudo-Aristotelian Kitāb al-aḥd̲j̲ār which — on the basis of cognate Greek sources, — agrees in the main with the statements of Pliny, the diamond cuts every solid except lead, by which it is itself destroyed. On the frontier of Ḵh̲orāsān is a deep valley in which the diamonds lie g…

Tabula Smaragdina

(265 words)

Author(s): Ruska, J.
, the revelation of secret alchemistic teaching ascribed to Hermes Trismegistos. Known in a later version in the west since the middle of the xiith century, the origin of the text was until recently an unsolved problem in the history of chemistry. Since R. Steele in his edition of Bacon (1920) showed that the text of the Tabula existed in Arabic and Latin in the Sirr al-Asrār of Pseudo-Aristotle, and E. J. Holmyard in 1923 discovered a more primitive form of the text in the Kitāb al-Uṣṭuḳuss al-t̲h̲ānī of Ḏj̲ābir b. Ḥaiyān, J. Ruska has been able to show that the original source o…

Ḥimār

(538 words)

Author(s): Ruska, J.
(a.), donkey (fem, atān and ḥimāra ). The Arabs make a distinction between the domestic donkey ( ahlī ) and the wild donkey ( waḥs̲h̲ī , faraʾ , ʿayr al-ʿāna ). Domestic donkeys are used to turn mills, as beasts of burden and as mounts, but although the Prophet is said to have owned one, named Yaʿfūr, and although the animal has been esteemed by famous persons, it is not ridden by Arabs of high rank, who even employ a formula of apology ( ḥas̲h̲ā-kum , aʿazza-kum Allāh , etc.) when they utter its name. The zoological works provide details of its characteristic…

al-Ḥadīd

(277 words)

Author(s): Ruska, J.
, iron. According to the Sūrat al-Ḥadīd (LVII, 25) God sent iron down to earth for the detriment and advantage of man, for weapons and tools are alike made from it. According to the belief of the Ṣābians, it is allotted to Mars. It is the hardest and strongest of metals and the most capable of resisting the effects of fire, but it is the quickest to rust. It is corroded by acids; for example, with the fresh rind of a pomegranate it forms a black fluid, with vinegar a red fluid and with salt a yellow. Collyrium ( al-kuḥl ) burns it and arsenic makes it smooth and white. Ḳa…

ʿAnkabūt

(358 words)

Author(s): Ruska, J.
(a.), araignée. Al-Ḳazwῑnī et al-Damῑrῑ en nomment différentes espèces dont la venimeuse tarentule ( al-rutaylāʾ ou al-rut̲h̲aylāʾ) serait la plus dangereuse. Al-Damῑrῑ décrit aussi une araignée de campagne de couleur rougeâtre, couverte d’un poil fin, et dont la tête porte quatre crochets avec lesquels elle mord; elle se creuse un nid dans le sol et chasse la nuit. Les araignées tisseuses font leurs toile selon des règles mathématiques; d’après les uns, le mâle file la chaîne et la femelle file la trame; d’apr…

al-Mirrīk̲h̲

(184 words)

Author(s): Ruska, J.
désigne la planète Mars, mais l’étymologie de ce nom est inconnue. La sphère de Mars est la cinquième sphère planétaire; elle est limitée à l’intérieur, par la sphère solaire, à l’extérieur par celle de Jupiter, et son épaisseur serait, d’après Ptolémée (XX, 376), de 998 milles. La durée de sa révolution est évaluée à 1 an, 10 mois et 22 jours. En 17 ans environ, après 9 révolutions, Mars se retrouve à la même place dans le ciel; il demeure dans chaque signe du Zodiaque environ 40 jours et parcourt chaque jour environ 40 minutes d’arc. Il doit être une fois et demie grand comme la terre. Les astrolog…

Ḥimār

(483 words)

Author(s): Ruska, J.
(A.), âne (fém. atān et ḥimāra). Les Arabes distinguent l’âne domestique ( ahlī) et l’âne sauvage ( waḥs̲h̲ī, faraʾ, ʿayr al-ʿāna). Les ânes domestiques servent à faire tourner les moulins et sont utilisés comme bêtes de somme et montures, mais, bien que le Prophète en ait possédé un, nommé Yaʿfūr, et que des personnages célèbres aient apprécié son allure, les Arabes de qualité ne montent pas cet animal et emploient même une formule d’excuse ( ḥās̲h̲ā -kum, aʿazza-kum Allāh, etc.) quand ils prononcent son nom. Les ouvrages de zoologie fournissent des détails sur ses carac…

Ḥayya

(711 words)

Author(s): Ruska, J.
(a.) «serpent», nom générique des ophidiens s’appliquant à toutes sortes de reptiles ( mā yansāḥ) des plus venimeux aux plus inoffensifs, la vipère ( apʿā) paraissant en être l’espèce la mieux différenciée. Des termes tels que ḥanas̲h̲, aym, t̲h̲uʿbān, aswad, raḳs̲h̲āʾ, sill, etc. désignent en arabe ¶ classique des espèces qui De sont pas toujours aisément identifiables d’après les descriptions figurant dans les anciens ouvrages de zoologie, car une certaine confusion règne dans ce domaine; la terminologie actuelle est encore loin d’être pr…

Durr

(992 words)

Author(s): Ruska, J.
, perle. L’antique légende de son origine se trouve tout au long dans les auteurs arabes, d’abord dans le Lapidaire d’Aristote, puis, avec des variantes, chez les Ik̲h̲wān al-Ṣafāʾ et chez les cosmographes postérieurs. D’après cette légende, l’Aṣṭārūs (ὀστρεῖoν) s’élève des profondeurs de la mer sillonnée par les navires et va trouver Okeanos. Mais voilà que les vents soulèvent un embrun, et la coquille s’ouvre pour en recevoir quelques gouttes. Lorsqu’elle les a recueillies, elle se retire dans…

Ḥadīd

(321 words)

Author(s): Ruska, J.
(a.), fer. D’après la Sūrat al-Ḥadīd (VII, 25), Dieu a envoyé le fer sur la terre pour le mal et le bien des hommes, car on en fait des armes et des outils. D’après la croyance des Sabéens [voir Ṣābiʾa], il est consacré à Mars. C’est le plus dur et le plus solide des métaux, et c’est le plus résistant à l’action du feu, mais c’est celui qui s’oxyde le plus facilement. Il est attaqué par les acides; en effet, avec l’écorce fraîche de la grenade, il donne un liquide noir (observation du fer attaqué par l’acide tannique); avec le vinaig…

al-Nūs̲h̲ādir

(854 words)

Author(s): Ruska, J.
, également nus̲h̲ādir, naws̲h̲ādir, sanscr. navasadara, chinois nao-s̲h̲a, le sel ammoniac. L’étymologie du mot est douteuse; peut-être y retrouve-t-on comme base le moyen persan anōs̲h̲-ādar «feu immortel», étant donné que la forme anūs̲h̲ād̲h̲ur est attestée en syriaque. Les plus anciens renseignements sur le sel ammoniac à l’état naturel se trouvent dans des rapports d’ambassades chinois du VI-VII siècle de J. C. qui ont été, à l’occasion d’un problème géologique, la question des volcans de l’Asie Centrale, l’objet des recherch…

Ibn al-Mund̲h̲ir

(402 words)

Author(s): Ruska, J. | Viré, F.
Abū Bakr b. Badr , with the by-name al-Bayṭār al-Nāṣirī , was grand master and chief veterinary surgeon of the stables of the Mamlūk sultan of Egypt al-Nāṣir, Nāṣir al-Dīn Muḥammad b. Ḳalāwūn (who ruled in 693/1294, from 698/1299 to 708/1309-10 and from 709/1310 to 741/1341). It was at This ruler’s request that Ibn al-Mund̲h̲ir wrote, in about 740/1339-40, his treatise on hippology entitled Kās̲h̲if hamm al-wayl fī maʿrifat amrāḍ al-k̲h̲ayl , a compilation from earlier sources and in particular from the Kāmil al-ṣināʿatayn ( al-bayṭara wa ’l-zarṭafa ) of a cer…

Fīrūzad̲j̲

(889 words)

Author(s): Ruska, J. | Plessner, M.
, the turquoise, a well-known precious stone of a bright green or “mountain green” to sky-blue colour with a gloss like wax; in composition it is a hydrated clay phosphate with a small but essential proportion of copper and iron. The colour is not permanent in all stones, and is said to be particularly affected by perspiration. It is almost always cut as an ornament en cabochon, i.e., with a convex upper surface; only stones with an inscription are given a flat upper surface. The provenance of serviceable stones is limited to a few places whose history may be t…

ʿAnbar

(544 words)

Author(s): Ruska, J. | Plessner, M.
(a,), ambergris ( ambre gris, ambra grisea, to distinguish it from ambre jaune = amber ), a substance of sweet musk-like smell, easily fusible and burning with a bright flame; highly valued in the East as a perfume and as a medicine. It is found floating on the water in tropical seas, (spec, gravity 0.78-0.93), or on the shore, sometimes in large lumps. Ambergris probably is a morbid secretion of the gall-bladder of the sperm-whale in whose intestines it is found. Ḳazwinī mentions it amon…

al-Tīfās̲h̲ī

(348 words)

Author(s): Ruska, J. | Kahl, O.
, S̲h̲araf al-Dīh Abu ’l-ʿAbbās Aḥmad b. Yūsuf al-Ḳaysī, Egyptian scholar and man-of-letters (580-651/1184-1253). Al-Tīfās̲h̲ī is the author of a few works on sexual hygiene, the most well-known and quite representative being the Kitāb Rud̲j̲ūʿ al-s̲h̲ayk̲h̲ ilā ṣibāh fi ’l-ḳūwa ʿalā ’l-bāh (tr. into English by an anonymous writer under the tide The old man young again, Paris 1898) which is divided into two parts. The first part deals with the physiology of the sexual organs and beneficial and noxious aspects of sexual intercourse, provides a large n…

Bāzahr

(826 words)

Author(s): Ruska, J. | Plessner, M.
, Bezoar, a remedy against all kinds of poisons, highly esteemed and paid for throughout the Middle Ages up to the 18th century, and in the Orient even up to this very day. The genuine (Oriental) Bezoar-stone is obtained from the bezoargoat ( Capra aegagrus Gm.) and, according to the investigations of Friedrich Wöhler, the famous chemist (1800-1882), and others, it is a gall-stone. The stone seems to have been unknown to ancient Arabs, for neither in the lexica nor in A. Siddiqi, Studien über die persischen Fremdwörter im klassischen Arabisch , 1919, is the word …

Almās

(489 words)

Author(s): Ruska, J. | Plessner, M.
—frequently regarded as a noun defined by the article ( al-mās ; correctly al-Almās according to Ibn al-At̲h̲īr, in LA, viii, 97: the ’l belongs to the root as in Ilyās ), a corrupt form from the Greek ἀδάμας (l.c.: " wa-laysat bi-ʿarabiyya "),—the diamond. According to the pseudo-Aristotelian Kitāb al-Aḥd̲j̲ār which, on the basis of cognate Greek sources, agrees in the main with the statements of Pliny, the diamond cuts every solid except lead, by which it is itself destroyed. On the frontier of Ḵh̲urāsān is a deep valley…

al-Ṭūsī

(1,242 words)

Author(s): Strothmann, R. | Ruska, J.
Naṣīr al-Dīn, Abū Ḏj̲aʿfar Muḥammad b. Muḥammad b. al-Ḥasan, astronomer, polychronicler and S̲h̲īʿa politician of the period of the Mongol invasion, born at Ṭūs on the 11th Ḏj̲umādā I 597 (Feb. 18, 1201), died at Bag̲h̲dād on the 18th Ḏh̲u’l-Ḥid̲j̲d̲j̲a 672 (June 26, 1274). Naṣīr al-Dīn al-Ṭūsī began his career as astrologer to the Ismāʿīlī governor Naṣīr al-Dīn ʿAbd al-Raḥīm b. Abī Manṣūr at Sertak̲h̲t. After his attempt to transfer to the caliph’s court had been betrayed, he was kept under supervision in Sertak̲h̲t and later in Alamūt […
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