Ms. nº 5013, Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris

Like most of the agricultural hispano-arab agricultural treatises this is a miscellaneous work, written in a semi-clear and small sized maghrebi script. It has 15 lines per page, as well as a few notes from copyists along with those from some later reader. The headings of the different chapters are typically highlighted by thicker strokes in different coloured ink. There are also some words and phrases highlighted throughout the text.

At the end of the manuscript two copyists are identified. The first worked on folios 1v to 71r, the second one on folios 72r to 161v. The names of the copyists are unknown but we know that the copy was made on 21st of Muḥarram 970, corresponding to September 20th, 1562. [“This same date is noted in mss. 617j and 1410 D of the General Library and Archive of Rabat as well as ms. 6342 of the Royal Library in Rabat as the date of the original manuscript from which these were copied. There is no doubt therefore that they all derive from this Parisian manuscript”. Carabaza Bravo & García Sánchez 1998, p. 406]. No author is mentioned at the beginning.

The first folios mentioned (1v-71r) correspond to the work attributed by Ṣalāḥ Jirār and Jāsir Abū Ṣafiyya to the 11th century  Sevillian agronomist Ibn Ḥajjāj entitled Al-Muqni fi’l-filāḥa (Ibn Ḥajjāj 1982). However, as we have shown in the study of the edition by the two Jordanian professors (Carabaza Bravo 1988, pp. 114-175), it relates to two different agronomical works. The first is sometimes attributed, as we shall see, to Al-Nahrāwī, a name possibly identified with Al-Zahrāwī  -  the famous 10th century doctor from Cordoba - though other information points to authorship by the Toledan doctor from the time of the Taifas, Ibn Wāfid (Carabaza Bravo 1988, pp. 167-71;  Millás Vallicrosa 1943, pp. 286-293). This first agricultural treatise is contained in folios 1v to 47r of ms. 5013. The second one belongs to Ibn Ḥajjāj, who is named as the author in folio 71r. It is only an excerpt from this agronomist’s treatise and is contained in folios 47r to 71r.

The second part of this manuscript (fols. 72r-161v) corresponds to the treatise of Ibn Baṣṣāl. It has specific characteristics apart from the ones mentioned above, like the existence of catchwords and some vowels. There are many blotches. It has double pagination, a general one for the manuscript and another one for the treatise, the later only present in the right-hand folios. The index at the beginning of the treatise (fols. 72r-73r) is marked with thick dots and includes, above the word al-bāb, the number of the page where it begins. The treatise really begins on folio 71v as it is written in larger script and includes some invocations. The end of the index of chapter III heads folio 72r.

The content corresponds to that in the text of Millás’ edition and the other Ibn Baṣṣāl manuscripts mentioned in this work. There are only a few variations among them, limited to the use of a word or a longer epigraph.


Ibn Ḥajjāj, Aḥmad ibn Muḥammad (1982). Al-Muqnī‘ fī ’l-filāa. Edited by S. Jarrār & Y. Abū Ṣāfiya. Ammān: Majma‘ al-Luga al-‘Arabiyya al-Urduniyya.
Carabaza Bravo, J. M. (1988). Amad b. Moammed b. ajjāj al-Ishbīlī: Al-Muqnī‘ fī ’l-filāa, doctoral dissertation, University of Granada, 1988, I, 178-281.
Carabaza Bravo, J. M. & García Sánchez, E. (1998). ‘Códices Misceláneos de Agronomía Andalusí’. Al‑Qantara 19, pp. 393-416.
Millás Vallicrosa, J.M.  (1943) ‘La traducción castellana del Tratado de Agricultura de Ibn Wāfid’. Al-Andalus, 8, pp. 281-332.

(translated from Carabaza Bravo, J. M., García Sánchez, E. & Llavero Ruiz, E. (1991). ‘Obras manuscritas de los geoponos andalusies (siglos X-XII)’. pp. 1119-1120. In: Emilio Molina et al. (eds.). Homenaje al Profesor Jacinto Bosch Vila, vol. 2, pp. 1115-1132. Granada: Universidad de Granada).


This is what Attié says about Ms. no. 5013 (F. S. 2858) in the Bibliothèque Nationale de Paris:

Kitāb al-falāḥa (identical to ms. no. 5754) – Nahrāwī

This is a majmūa formed by the assemblage of two ms. different in every respect. In the catalogues the text of the first ms. (fols. 1-71) is attributed to Ibn Ḥajjāj. The text of the second ms. (fols. 72–161) is anonymous. Dr Millás Vallicrosa has demonstrated that the first ms. contains two different works: he attributes the first to Ibn Wāfid (fols. 1-47) and the second to Ibn Ḥajjāj. Lastly he attributes the anonymous treatise of the second ms. to Ibn Baṣṣāl (Millás Vallicrosa, J.M.  1954. ‘Nuevos textos manuscritos de las obras geopónicas de Ibn Wāfid e Ibn Baṣṣāl’. Hespéris-Tamuda 2, pp. 339‑44). We are in agreement with Millás on the subject of the composition of the majmūa but we are a little sceptical about the attributions. This concern of ours is induced, first, by the objectivity and the doubts of Millás himself, and then by new information from other manuscripts.

  1. Fols. 1-47a. In fact these folios contain an independent treatise, formed of two sections: the first is a complete agricultural treatise, and the second a treatise of basse-cour. Together the two sections bear the generic title Kitāb al-falāḥa. This edition is that of a mağmū‘a or compendium. The principle sources of the author are the treaties of Anatolius and of Democritus.

    We have already encountered the second section (the basse-cour) in ms. no. 4764 (fols. 150b–160b). It is attributed there to Abū’l Khayr. It is attributed here to Ibn Ḥajjāj. But there is total confusion in the attribution of this whole group of Kitāb al-falāḥa: the catalogues attribute it to Ibn Ḥajjāj; Sidi Tuhāmī attributes it to Abū’l Khayr (Abū al-Khayr Al-Ishbīlī 1938, Kitāb fī al-Filāa. Fez: Sīdī al-Tuhāmī al-Nāṣirī al-Ja‘farī, pp. 1-83); Pérès attributes it both to Abū’l Khayr and Ibn Ḥajjāj, to the anonymous author of the second treatise of ms. no. 4764 (fols. 47b–64a), to Nahrāwī and to Ibn Aṣ-Ṣawwām. The four last authors are a single person, according to Pérès.

    We will try to disentangle this imbroglio: “We propose, says Pérès in his Eclaircissements (in Abū al-Khayr Al-Ishbīlī 1946, Kitāb al-Filāḥa ou Le Livre de la Culture. Edited by A. Cherbonneau & H. Pérès. Alger: Carbonel, pp. 9-11) ... to publish ... Ibn Ḥajjaj al-Ishbīlī (alias Abu-l-Qasim b. ‘Abbās an-Nahrāwi or Abū ‘Abdallāh Muḥammad Ibn Aṣ-Ṣawwām al-Andalusī)”. He has forgotten to add the name of Abū’l Khayr before the end of the parenthesis. (note: cf. the criticism of this identification by Millás Vallicrosa 1955, ‘Aportaciones para el estudio de la obra agronómica de Ibn Haŷŷāŷ y de Abū l-Jayr’. Al-Andalus 20, p. 98).

    We have already said that the identity of some phrases has not led to the identification of Ibn Ḥajjaj with the anonymous writer of the second treatise of ms. no 4764. The presence of the Kitāb al-filāḥa before the treatise of Ibn Ḥajjaj, in this anthology, does not lead, either to the identification of this one with An-Nahrāwi, to whom is attributed Kitāb al-filāḥa by an inscription in ms. no. 1550 of the B. N. of Algiers, and that Pérès knew. Finally if the abbreviation of the treatise of Ibn al-‘Awwām starts with the citations of Ibn Ḥajjaj, this does not lead to the identification of the abbreviator Ibn Aṣ-Ṣawwām with the source cited, Ibn Ḥajjaj.
  2. Fols. 47a–71b. Kitāb al-muqni‘, ‘Book of Guidance’ (extract) – Ibn Ḥajjāj
    The second text comprises the last chapters and the epilogue of the agricultural treatise of Abū ‘Umar Aḥmad b. Muḥammad Ibn Ḥajjāj. Concerning the first chapters and the title Al-Muqni‘, which is lacking here, one finds them in the treatise of Ibn al-‘Awwām. The questions posed on the subject of the work of Ibn Ḥajjāj are numerous, including the interpretation of the spelling of the title....
  3. Fols. 72a–161b. An abridgement of the treatise of Ibn Baṣṣāl – Anonymous
    It is to Dr. Millás Vallicrosa that one owes the revival of Arab agricultural studies, setting the pace since the edition of Ibn al-‘Awwām in 1802. The discovery of a medieval Spanish version of two anonymous Arabic agricultural treatises and their identification (Millás Vallicrosa 1942, Las Traducciones Orientales en los Manuscritos de la Biblioteca Catedral de Toledo. Madrid, pp. 91–103), the discovery of the Arabic originals and the publication of one of them in collaboration with Muhammad Aziman (Ibn Baṣṣāl 1955. Kitāb al-qaṣd wa’l-bayān. Libro de Agricultura. Edition with Spanish translation and notes by J. M. Millás Vallicrosa & M. Aziman. Tetuan: Instituto Muley El Hassan), and the identification of the three treatises of the present ms., are only the principal works  of Dr. Millás in this field (Millás Vallicrosa 1954, ‘Nuevos textos manuscritos de las obras geopónicas de Ibn Wāfid e Ibn Baṣṣāl’. Hespéris-Tamuda 2, pp. 339‑44). In attributing the medieval version  of the present treatise to Ibn Baṣṣāl, Dr. Millás draws our attention to one of these passages which, instead of being attributed to Ibn Baṣṣāl by Ibn al-‘Awwām, is attributed to Abū’l Khayr. In editing the text, he signals another.
For other reasons, we believe that Ibn Baṣṣāl is not the redactor/editor of this treatise, which comes, for the most part, from his treatise Al-Qaṣd wa-l-bayān. And here is the principal reason, after Anonymous of Algiers: “I think he is mistaken in saying that”, says Anon. of Algiers in discussing the opinions of Ibn Baṣṣāl on the times of sowing and planting, “or that some perniciousness has crept into the book [?].......”

We know that the son of Ibn Baṣṣāl was the principal editor of the treaties Al-Qaṣd wa-l-bayān but we do not know who was the editor of the treatise in hand which has as its principal source the work of Ibn Baṣṣāl; in any case, it is not our agronomist. 

(translated from Attié, B. (1969). ‘Les manuscrits agricoles arabes de la Bibliothèque Nationale de Paris’. Hespéris‑Tamuda 10 (3),  pp. 241-261)