Ms. nº IV, Colección de Códices Arabes, Archivo Municipal, Córdoba (“Colección de Códices Árabes”, 1959-1960: 108)
A Summary of Al-Ṭighnarī

This is a summary of the Kitāb zuhrat al-bustān wa-nuzhat al-adhhān of Al-Ṭighnarī, written by this Grenadan author in the first decade of the 12th century and dedicated to Abū ’l-Ṭāhir Tamīm ibn Yūsuf ibn Tāshfīn, governor of Granada during that time.

It has 115 folios, with 20 lines per page. It is in good condition. The maghrebi script is unvocalized. There are some explanatory marginal notes in a different handwriting to the rest of the manuscript. The faṣl, which indicate a change of topic, are highlighted, sometimes in coloured ink.

The manuscript is not dated, nor has the name of the copyist, but from the calligraphic characteristics it seems to be from the 14th century, in which case we think it is the oldest of the summaries of the Kitāb zuhrat al-bustān, from which most of the other copies were derived. The author’s name does not appear in this summary, at least in the copy that we possess, though there might be a reference to him in two very blurred lines that follow the basmala and taṣliya. However, in the catalogue of these manuscripts in the Municipal Archive of Cordoba, “Abu Abdel’ Lah Mohamad Ibn Malik At-Tagnari” is cited as the author, known also as “El Hach Granadino [The Hajji from Granada] and as Ibn Hamdun the Sevillian. He lived in Seville at the end of the 5th century of the hijra”.

However, Ibn Ḥamdūn al-Ishbīlī, to whom is attributed not only this summary (Ms. no. IV) but also most of the copies derived from it, as noted above, cannot be Al-Ṭighnarī as claimed, or at least he cannot be the author of the prologue, though he could be the author of the summary and possibly also the copyist. One of the most convincing arguments against this identification of Al-Ṭighnarī with Ibn Ḥamdūn is that some authors from the end of the 13th century - among them Ibn al-Ḥājib (d. 646/1249) – who are later than Al-Ṭighnarī, are cited in the prologue which is in all the summaries. In short, it is not clear if the prologue is a later addition to the summary, though we know the manuscript was not written before the 14th century.

The Cordoban ms. no. IV follows the same order and scheme of the other Andalusian agronomic treatises save for a few variations. The content is as follows: after the introductory prologue already mentioned (fols. 1v-7r) which consists of a series of general agricultural matters, some of a judicial nature, there is the work’s title followed by an agricultural calendar and some astronomical and meteorological matters (fols. 7r-16v). Then it deals with soils (fol. 19v), fertilizers (fol. 23r), hydrology (fol. 28r), physical and moral qualities required of the workers and farmers (fol. 29r), agricultural rules of a general character (fol. 32v), domestic economy (fol. 39v), and the making of rose water (fol. 42r).

Next follows plant science (fols. 42v-99v), starting with the fig and the olive, Mediterranean trees par excellence, along with the grapevine. Al-Ṭighnarī deals with diverse methods of growing various trees and shrubs including fruit trees (pomegranate, peach, plum, cherry, apple, pear, jujube, grapefruit, lemon), oil producers, ornamental and tropical plants (plantain, sugar cane, et al). Next are some treatments to prevent and cure blight and other diseases that could afflict them, as well as instructions on the work and care that each requires. Of great interest is the section - an entire maqāla in the original manuscript­ – on grafting in which the various types are carefully described. The final part (fols. 99v-115r) is dedicated to the sowing and cultivation of different varieties of cereals, legumes and vegetables. It ends with the cultivation of nana‘ or peppermint.

The Kitāb zuhrat al-bustān is the only one of the Andalusian agricultural treatises that includes a section at the end of each plant’s chapter dealing exclusively with its medicinal properties and nutritional values.

(translated from Carabaza Bravo, J. M., García Sánchez, E. & Llavero Ruiz, E. (1991). ‘Obras manuscritas de los geoponos andalusies (siglos X-XII)’, pp. 1117-19. In: Emilio Molina et al. (eds.). Homenaje al Profesor Jacinto Bosch Vila, vol. 2, pp. 1115-1132. Granada: Universidad de Granada)