Under current restrictions, our shops are closed to the public, but we are still processing online, telephone and email orders as normal.


Quadripartitum, translated by Plato Tiburtinus.

[with] Centiloquium, translated by Johannes Hispalensis.

Venice: Erhardt Ratdolt, 15 January 1484 Stock Code: 119247
Reserve Ask us a question

Arabic astrology taken west

First edition in Latin. Ptolemy's treatise on astrology, the Tetrabiblos, was the most popular astrological work of antiquity and also enjoyed great influence in the Islamic world and the medieval Latin West. The translation was made from Arabic to Latin in 1138 by Plato of Tivoli, the 12th-century Italian mathematician, astronomer and translator who lived in Barcelona from 1116 to 1138. It has a commentary by Ali ibn Ridwan ibn Ali ibn Ja'far al-Misri (c.988-c.1061; known in the west as Haly, or Haly Abenrudian). The work is divided into four books: the first is a defence of astrology and technical concepts, the second deals with the influences on earth (including astrological geography and weather prediction), and the third and fourth discuss the influences on individuals. The present copy confirms to the second copy mentioned in BMC, with the impression of two headings from a law book printed in red on the lower half on verso of the last page.

The Centiloquium, a collection of one hundred aphorisms about astrology and astrological rules, has a commentary by Ahmad ibn Yusuf al-Misri (835-912; known in the West by his Latinized name Hametus, though often confounded with Haly), and many scholars believe that he was in fact its true author. The Centiloquium contains substantial differences in focus from the Tetrabiblos: for example, it is very concerned with "Interrogations", the asking of astrological questions about forthcoming plans and events, which is not treated at all in the earlier work. It was translated from Arabic to Latin by John of Seville.

The elegant layout of this first Latin edition is characteristic of the work of Erhard Ratdolt (1442-1528), who printed a number of important works at Venice based on Arabic materials, including the first edition of Euclid's Elements (1482), where he solved the problem of printing geometric diagrams, the Poeticon astronomicon, also from 1482, Haly Abenragel (1485), and Alchabitius (1503). He was active as a printer in Venice from 1476 to 1486, and afterwards in his native Augsburg.

Confused? Read our glossary


Quarto (231 x 161 mm). Dark brown morocco by Brugalla, 1952, tooled in gilt and blind, gilt turn-ins, gilt edges, slipcase.


Collation: a-g8 h12 (a1r blank, a1v astrological diagram, a2r text, h12r colophon, h12v blank). 68 leaves. 42 lines, double column. Types: 4:76G; 6:56(75)G. Woodcut diagram on a1v and a8v, incipit printed in red, woodcut initials, a few partly coloured or


Provenance: several early marginal manuscript annotations and underlining in the text in red ink (from f6v until the end); Johannes Albini, medical student "Acrocrenopolitani" (scored, faded early manuscript inscription on a1r); Johannes Pesthius (faded manuscript inscription below); the Spanish collector Gabriel Molina (bookplate on pastedown); sold, Sotheby's 17 November 1988, lot 131 to Quaritch. Occasional light finger soiling, wire on the press bed in f7v affecting a few letters, slipcase spine lightly rubbed, very good.


With the exception of framed items*, Peter Harrington offers free delivery on all UK orders of rare books, maps and prints placed through this website. Delivery to USA and the rest of the world is similarly free for orders over £200.

View Full Delivery Details



Established in 1969, Peter Harrington is one of the leading rare book firms in the world. It is a proud member of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association – along with ILAB, the PBFA and Lapada – and from shops in Mayfair and Chelsea, London, sells rare books, prints and ephemera to customers across the world.

Email: mail@peterharrington.co.uk

Tel: +44 (0)20 7591 0220

ABA Antiquarian Bookseller Association ILAB International League of Antiquarian Booksellers LAPADA The Association of Art and Anatique Dealers PBFA Provincial Booksellers Fairs Association

Our Guarantee Page

Ask us a question


Contact us with details of the book you are interested in or selling and we will contact you

Sell Old Books Help me find a book