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(1,127 words)

Author(s): Hill, D.R.
, banū , three brothers (in order of seniority) Muḥammad, Aḥmad and al-Ḥasan, who were among the most important figures in the intellectual life of Bag̲h̲dād in the 3rd/9th century. We do not know their dates of birth, but Muḥammad died in 259/873 and could hardly then have been less than 70 years old because the youngest brother al-Ḥasan was already a brilliant geometrician in the reign of al-Maʾmūn (198-218/813-33 [ q.v.]). Their father, Mūsā b. S̲h̲ākir, was said to have been in his youth a resourceful highwayman who made the roads in K̲h̲urāsān unsafe. By all a…


(646 words)

Author(s): Hill, D.R.
(a.), more rarely Naʿūra , pl. nawāʿīr , a word designating current-driven, water-raising wheels, Eng. and Fr. noria. The term has no obvious derivation from Arabic, and is probably of Aramaic origin (see Fraenkel, Die aramäischen Fremdwörter , 134; also Dozy, Supplement, ii, 689-90). The nomenclature for water-raising machines is very variable, and often the only way of knowing which machine is being referred to is from the context; for example, if a machine is driven by running water it is almost certain to be a noria. To avoid confusion, the Syrian usage will be followed, in which the nāʿū…

Ḳuṣtā b. Lūḳā

(601 words)

Author(s): Hill, D.R.
al-Baʿlabakkī , mediaeval scientist and translator. He was of Christian origin, from the town of Baʿlabakk [ q.v.]. In Bag̲h̲dād, where he worked for some time as a doctor, scientist and translator, his reputation was as high as that of Ḥunayn b. Isḥāḳ [ q.v.]. He was fluent in Greek, Syriac and Arabic, being particularly noted for his excellent style in Arabic. The last part of his life was spent in Armenia, where he was induced to take up residence by the prince Sanḥarīb. According to ʿUbayd Allāh b. Ḏj̲ibrāʾīl, he came into contact wit…


(1,227 words)

Author(s): Hill, D.R.
(a., ultimately from Greek μαγγανικόν, via Aramaic, cf. Fraenckel, Die aramänische Fremdwörter , 243, passing into Spanish as almajaneque , cf. Dozy and Engelman, Glossaire , 153), a general term for any kind of stone-throwing siegeengine. The expressions mand̲j̲anīḳ and ʿarrāda [ q.v.] are both used for this kind of machine, and although the ʿarrāda may have been the smaller of the two, the expressions often seem to be interchangeable. Mand̲j̲anīḳ occurs more frequently than ʿarrāda, but their presence at a siege is often confined to a mere mention, without any descri…


(3,409 words)

Author(s): Hill, D. R.
(a.), with the basic meaning of “devices, subterfuges”, has had its sense considerably extended, and in particular, denotes in Classical Arabic ingenious contrivances, automata, various pieces of machinery, and finally, the science of mechanics. Since the article Ḥiyal in Vol. III deals mainly with legal fictions and ruses and with casuistic processes, the present article is especially concemed with automata, with the Arabic works describing them and with the tradition of which they are the most remarkable expression. The mediaeval Arabic books on machines are often calle…


(624 words)

Author(s): Hill, D. R.
, Badīʿ al-Zamān Abu ’l-ʿIzz Ismāʿīl b. al-Razzāz , engineer who worked in al-D̲j̲azīra during the latter part of the 6th/12th century. His reputation rests upon his book, Kitāb fī maʿrifat al-ḥiyal al-handasiyya (ed. and tr. D.R. Hill, The book of knowledge of ingenious mechanical devices, Dordrecht 1974), which he composed in 602/1206 on the orders of his master Nāṣir al-Dīn Maḥmūd, a prince of the Artuḳid dynasty [ q.v.] of Diyār Bakr. All that we know of his life is what he tells us in the introduction to his book, namely that at the time of writing he had be…


(3,572 words)

Author(s): Hill, D.R. | Rubin, U.
(a.) "hour", hence "clock". 1. In technology. Monumental water-clocks are described in detail in two Arabic treatises. Al-Ḏj̲azarī [ q.v. in Suppl.] in his book on mechanical contrivances completed in Diyār Bakr in 602/1206 describes two such machines. Riḍwān b. al-Sāʿātī, in a treatise dated 600/1203, describes the water-clock built by his father Muḥammad at the Ḏj̲ayrūn gate in Damascus (see E. Wiedemann and F. Hauser, Über die Uhren in Bereich der Islamischen Kultur , in Nova Acta der Kaiserl . Leop . Deutschen Akad . der Naturforscher , ciii [1918], 167-27…


(867 words)

Author(s): Ruska, J. | Hill, D.R.
(a.), measurement, means of measuring, any simple measuring instrument; in Egypt the name of the Nilometer, i.e. the gauge in which the annual rise of the river can be measured. Originally the rising of the Nile was measured by the gauge ( al-raṣāṣa ). According to Ibn ʿAbd al-Ḥakam, al-Ḳuḍāʿī, and others, Joseph, the son of Jacob, built the first Nilometer at Memphis; at a later date, the “aged Dalūka” built Nilometers in Ak̲h̲mīm and Anṣinā (Antinoë). These were the Nilometers in use throughout the Hellenistic per…


(849 words)

Author(s): Walker, J. | Hill, D.R.
, weights of a balance (in full sanad̲j̲āt al-mīzān ); also applied to balances, steelyards; also the weights of a clock (sing, sand̲j̲a ). The forms with ṣad also occur ( ṣanad̲j̲āt and ṣand̲j̲a ) but the former is the more chaste (see Lane, s.v.). There are two recognised plural forms, sanad̲j̲āt and sinad̲j̲ (in modern Egyptian Arabic sinag , plural of singa ). The word is Persian in origin, being connected with sang , meaning both stone and weight, since in ancient times weights were non-metallic (cf. the Hebrew of Deut. xxv, 13). According t…


(33,280 words)

Author(s): Ashtor, E. | Hassan, A.Y. al- | Hill, D.R. | Murphey, R. | Baer, Eva
(a.), "mine, ore, mineral, metal". In modern Arabic, the word mand̲j̲am denotes "mine", while muʿaddin means "miner" and d̲j̲amād is a mineral. In the vast Islamic empire, minerals played an important part. There was a great need for gold, silver and copper for the minting of coins and other uses. Iron ore was indispensable for the manufacture ¶ of iron and steel for arms and implements. Other minerals such as mercury, salt and alum, as well as pearls and precious stones, were necessary for everyday life. The empire was richly endowed with the various…


(34,897 words)

Author(s): Fahd, T. | Young, M.J.L. | Hill, D.R. | Rabie, Hassanein | Cahen, Cl. | Et al.
(a.) “water”. The present article covers the religio-magical and the Islamic legal aspects of water, together with irrigation techniques, as follows: 1. Hydromancy A a vehicle for the sacred, water has been employed for various techniques of divination, and in particular, for potamonancy (sc. divination by means of the colour of the waters of a river and their ebbing and flowing; cf. FY. Cumont, Études syriennes , Paris 1917, 250 ff., notably on the purification power of the Euphrates, consulted for divinatory reasons); for pegomancy (sc…