Monday, May 17, 2010

Abul Qasim Maslamah Al-Majriti

Little is known of the life of this Muslim scientist who was one of the first to introduce the study of the sciences, especially mathematics and alchemy, to the eastern part of the Islamic world. It is known that Abul Qasim Maslamah Al-Majriti (Died 1007 C.E.) was born in Madrid and later moved to Cordova, where he established a school in which such figures as the historian Ibn Khaldun and the physician al-Zahravi were to study later.

He was also responsible for spreading the Epistles of the brethern of Purity, an encyclopaedia of knowledge with a Pythagorean tinge, which had just become popular in the East, in Andalusia. Some attribute to him the treatise that summarizes the contents of the fift-two Epistles. Although he wrote on astronomy and mathematics and in fact commented on the tables of al-Khwarzami, his most important works are on alchemy. The Sage's Step and The Aim of the Wise, two of the best known works in Islamic alchemy, are either by him or directly inspired by his teachings. The later was translated into Latin as Picatrix and became a mainstay of alchemical literature in the west.

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