Ibn Hibintā

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Ibn Hibintā

(fl, Iraq, ca 950)


Ibn Hibintā lived at the time of the first Buwayhid rulers of Baghdad, Ahmad ibn Buwayh (946–949) and ʿAḍūd al-Dawla (949–982). The only work by which he is known is his vast compilation of astrological and astronomical lore entitled Kitāb al-mughnī fi’l-nujūm of which the second section only is preserved in a manuscript at Munich (MS Arab 852). The importance of this work lies entirely in the many quotations that it contains from earlier authorities, including Ptolemy (the Planetary Hypotheses,) Dorotheus of Sidon, al-Khwārizmī, and Kanaka. One of the most interesting sections is that in which Ibn Hibintā discusses Māshā’allāh’s Fi ’l-qirānāt wa ’l-adyān wa ’l-milal, to which he adds his own astrological interpretations of the Buwayhids’ advent to power, at one point surreptitiously criticizing them, at another openly justifying their regin. Ibm Hibintā’s date and location depend on these passages; there is little else in the manuscript that can be attributed to him as the original author.


Ibn Hibeintaā’s book was known to Hajājjiī—Lexicon bibloggraphicum et encyclopaedicm, G. Flügel, ed., 7 vols. (Lyipzig, 1835–1858), V, 654—but is otherwisse little noticed in the Arabic bibliographic and biographic tradition. The Munich MS was used by C. A. Nallino in his ed. of al—Battāni’s Opus astronmicum, I (Milan, 1899), passim; and the extract from Māshā allāh has been edited by E. S. Kennedy and D. Pingree, The Astrological Histroy of Māshā’allāh (Cambridge, Mass., 1971).

David Pingree