Ms. nº 2163. Bibliothèque Nationale, Algiers

This is the original manuscript of the Kitāb zuhrat al-bustān of Al-Ṭighnarī but unfortunately it is incomplete. Only about half of it is preserved: from the end of bāb 36 of maqāla IV, dedicated to the cultivation of the pomegranate, to bāb 49 of maqāla IX, concerning the sowing of lettuce, so it ends one crop before the summaries. It has 126 folios, constituting about 160 chapters in total out of the 360 original ones noted by Ibn Luyūn, the Almerian agronomist (d. 750/1349) who worked directly with the complete original text 1. In general it is well preserved, with only a few stains caused by dampness. The edges show some moth damage and some are torn. The page numbers in Arabic are sometimes deleted.

It is written in maghrebi script, not very clear or elegant, with no vowels, with 22 lines per page. The few marginal notes, written in a different hand, are practically illegible. Neither the name of the copyist nor the date of the copy is given.

The different maqālāt, abwāb and fuūl, all numbered, are of the same size and colour as the rest of the text.

The thematic content, in general, is the same as that of the summaries, from the chapter on propagation, which is where the original text that has been preserved begins. The concurrence is not always exact – obviously the original is longer than the summaries – but is quite accurate. Strangely most of the summaries include one more crop – the na‘na‘ or peppermint – that is absent from the original and this manuscript 2163. They all contain the explicit, though the treatise is unfinished, from which we can conclude that none of the copyists nor the author of the first summary, no. IV of Cordoba, worked with the complete original manuscript. This should have contained, like other agricultural treatises, a last part dedicated to livestock and veterinary science. According to Ibn Luyūn’s testimony it had three more maqālāt, to make a total of twelve.

(translated from Carabaza Bravo, J. M., García Sánchez, E. & Llavero Ruiz, E. (1991). ‘Obras manuscritas de los geoponos andalusies (siglos X-XII)’, pp. 1131-32. In: Emilio Molina et al. (eds.). Homenaje al Profesor Jacinto Bosch Vila, vol. 2, pp. 1115-1132. Granada: Universidad de Granada).


1 According to Ibn Luyūn, “The work of Al-Ṭighnarī consists of twelve books, maqālāt – equal to the number of the zodiacal signs and the months of the year and 360 chapters, abwāb – equal to the number of degrees in a circle. Cfr. Ibn Luyūn, 1975. Ibn Luyūn: Tratado de agricultura, J. Eguaras Ibáñez, Granada, p. 41.