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Accueil > Archives > Anciens projets de recherche financés > Histoire des tables numériques > Séminaires du projet HTN > Journées d’étude HTN, 24-25 octobre 2012

Journées d’étude HTN, 24-25 octobre 2012

The transmission of Arabic astronomical tables in Sanskrit, Latin and Chinese : an early step in the internationalization of science ?

Deux journées d’étude organisées dans le cadre du projet HTN (responsable scientifique : Dominique Tournès) par Matthieu Husson, Li Liang et Clemency Montelle.
Université Paris-Diderot, bâtiment Condorcet, salle 612B-Klein, 10h-17h.


It is well known that in Baghdad during the eighth and ninth centuries, Arabic astronomers relied on Greek and Persian sources as well as ideas and models coming from the Indian subcontinent to design their first astronomical tables, or zijes. The circulation of these works in various parts of the Islamic world and the specific astronomical schools it produced, for instance in al-Andalus (Toledo) or ancient Iran (Ulugh Begh), is also documented. The subsequent transmission and reception of these Arabic astronomical zijes in Latin, Sanskrit and Chinese in the following centuries has also been a major theme of research in the history of astronomy, yet scholars studying these different transmission and reception processes have had so far little opportunity to gather and contrast their questions, methodology, and findings. We seek to address this, by convening a two-day workshop which will function as a forum for scholars who focus on these different aspects to share and synthesise their researches in mutually beneficial ways.

We envisage that the following provisional list of questions will be relevant. Material transmitted from astronomical zijes to Latin, Sanskrit and Chinese works was not always from the same ; how precise can we be about the sources and which texts proved to be popular in which contexts ? Under what circumstances did the tables and their related texts circulate and what sorts of peoples were involved ? Questions relating to the integration of foreign astronomical materials and tabular data into the traditions of the inheritor cultures of inquiry are significant too. For instance, there were long-standing astronomical traditions in Chinese, Sanskrit : how well was data from the zij literature accommodated into these contexts ? What proved attractive and influential to these cultures of inquiry and how was it assimilated into its new setting ? In contrast, in Latin, the transmission of Arabic astronomical tables in fact initiated new direction and vigour into the astral sciences. What can we surmise from such contrasts ? More broadly, to what extent did the large-scale transmission of Arabic astronomical tables produce a standardisation of astronomical science, or rather did it result in ongoing diversification ?


24.10.2012 (Salle Klein 612B)

  • 10h00 Accueil et introduction (Liang Li, Clemency Montelle, Matthieu Husson)
  • 10h30 Glen van Brummellen “Circulation of Arabic astronomical tables in Arabic”
  • 12h00 Lunch break
  • 13h30 José Chabas “Arabic Influence on Astronomical Tables in Medieval Europe”
  • 15h00 Cofee break
  • 15h15 Matthieu Husson “Is the Chinese ’European Layout’ of the Mingshi (1738) realy european ? A case study in layout transmission : first part from Arabic to Latin sources.”
  • 16h45 End of the day

25.10.2012 (Salle Klein 612B)

  • 10h00 Accueil
  • 10h30 Clemency Montelle : “The emergence of ’cyclic tables’ in the seventeenth century : Haridatta’s Jagadbhûsạnạ and its Islamic inspiration”
  • 12h00 Lunch break
  • 13h30 Yunli Shi “The Chinese and Korean Appropriation of Islamic astronomy”
  • 15h00 Cofee break
  • 15h15 Liang Li “Double entry arrays and tables of Huihui Calendar (Arabic Calendric System) in China, A case study in layout transmission : second part from Arabic and Latin to Chinese sources”
  • 16h45 Discussion. General Conclusion
  • 17h15 End of the day.