Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Kathir al-Farghani

"Alfraganus" redirects here. For the lunar crater, see Alfraganus (crater).

The statue of al-Farghani in Farg'ona
Born 9th century
Residence Baghdad
Academic background
Influences Ptolemy
Academic work
Era Islamic Golden Age
Main interests Astronomy
Notable works The compendium (jawāmiʿ) of the Almagest
Influenced Al‐Jūzjānī, al-Bīrūnī, al‐Qabīṣī

Abū al-ʿAbbās Aḥmad ibn Muḥammad ibn Kathīr al-Farghānī. (800/805-870) also known as Alfraganus in the West, was an Arab[1] or Persian[2][3] Sunni Muslim astronomer, and one of the most famous astronomers in the 9th century. The crater Alfraganus on the Moon is named after him.


He was involved in the calculation of the diameter of the Earth by the measurement of the meridian arc length, together with a team of scientists under the patronage of al-Ma'mūn in Baghdad. Later he moved to Cairo, where he composed a treatise on the astrolabe around 856. There he also supervised the construction of the large Nilometer on the island of al-Rawda (in Old Cairo) in the year 861.


His textbook Kitāb fī Jawāmiʿ ʿIlm al-Nujūm (كتاب في جوامع علم النجوم A Compendium of the Science of the Stars) or Elements of astronomy on the celestial motions, written about 833, was a competent descriptive summary of Ptolemy's Almagest, while using the findings and revised values of earlier Islamic astronomers.[4] It was translated into Latin in the 12th century and remained very popular in Europe until the time of Regiomontanus. Dante Alighieri's knowledge of Ptolemaic astronomy, which is evident in his Divina Commedia as well as other works such as the Convivio, seems to have been drawn from his reading of Alfraganus.[5][6] In the 17th century the Dutch orientalist Jacob Golius published the Arabic text on the basis of a manuscript he had acquired in the Near East, with a new Latin translation and extensive notes.

See also


  1. Science, The Cambridge History of Islam, Vol. 2, ed. P. M. Holt, Ann K. S. Lambton, Bernard Lewis, (Cambridge University Press, 1978), 760.
  2. Sir Patrick Moore, The Data Book of Astronomy,CRC Press,2000,BG 48ref Henry Corbin, The Voyage and the Messenger: Iran and Philosophy, North Atlantic Books, 1998, pg 44
  3. Texts, Documents and Artefacts: Islamic Studies in Honour of D.S. Richards. Edited by Chase F. Robinson, Brill Academic Publishers, BG 25.
  4. Dallal, Ahmad (2010). Islam, Science, and the Challenge of History. Yale University Press. p. 32. ISBN 9780300159110.
  5. Mary A. Orr, Dante and the Early Astronomers (London: Gall and Inglis, 1913), 233-34.
  6. Scott, John A. (2004). Understanding Dante. Notre Dame: U of Notre Dame P. p. 22. ISBN 978-0-268-04451-0.

Further reading

External links

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