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 Tadhkira fῑ l-irshād ilā ṣawm al-Naṣārā wa-l-aʿyād

(146 words)

Author(s): Strohmaier, Gotthard
Note of guidance about the fasts and feasts of the Christians Al-Bīrūnī Date: Unknown; before 1048 Original Language: Arabic Description The work has not survived, and the title is only known from al-Bīrūnī's own bibliography, which he attached to the list of the works of al-Rāzī; see al-Bīrūnī, Risāla fī fihrist kutub Muḥammad ibn Zakariyāʾ al-Rāzī, ed. M. Mohaghegh, Tehran, 1985, p. 32, no. 53. Significance It can be assumed that the contents did not significantly add to the information contained in the Chronology and the Mas῾ūdic Canon. Manuscripts - Editions & Translations - Studies -…


(2,778 words)

Author(s): Strohmaier, Gotthard
Abῡ Rayḥān Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad al-Bῑrῡnῑ al-Khwārazmī Date of Birth: September 973 Place of Birth: Kāth, Khwārazm Date of Death: 1048 Place of Death: Ghazna Biography In the history of science, al-Bīrūnī is nowadays regarded as the most prolific and original Muslim mind of the Middle Ages. A fervent admirer of the Greeks, whose heritage came down to him via the late Antique Alexandrian school, and of the indefatigable activities of the Christian translators in Baghdad in the 9th century, he nevertheless enriched this heritage by new methods and original ideas in the fields…

Ḥunayn b. Isḥāq

(3,461 words)

Author(s): Strohmaier, Gotthard
Ḥunayn b. Isḥāq al-ʿIbādī (192–260/808–73) was one of the main agents of the reception of Greek knowledge under ʿAbbāsid rule and the most famous translator of Greek texts into Syriac and Arabic. His translations formed a foundation for the continuation of rationalist Galenic medicine amongst Muslim physicians and, through their mediation, also in the mediaeval West. Life According to Ibn al-Nadīm (d. after 385/995), he died in 260/873, which is to be preferred to the 264/877 given by Ibn Abī Uṣaybiʿa (d. 668/1270) (Bergsträsser, 33). His nisba al-ʿIbādī indicates that he hailed …
Date: 2019-05-08


(2,263 words)

Author(s): Strohmaier, Gotthard
The modern term “ doxography” refers to a kind of philosophical literature that originated in Greek antiquity and had the aim of giving an unbiased account of the teachings of the various philosophical schools. In the European Renaissance and later it provided valuable information about the pre-Socratics and later thinkers who stood outside the mainstream of Aristotelianism and Neoplatonism, and thus it served to stimulate new ideas. In Islam the role of the translated texts was different, as in them the ancient authorities were more and more brought into line with Muslim beliefs. There…
Date: 2019-05-08


(394 words)

Author(s): Strohmaier, Gotthard
Agathodaimon (Aghāthūdhīmūn or Aghādhīmūn or Ghūthādhīmūn or similar spellings) was the “good demon” of the household and of viticulture in Greek antiquity. In the Hellenistic period, he became the patron god of Alexandria and was often portrayed as a serpent. The Egyptian writer Manetho (third century B.C.E.) named him among the old kings of his country. Agathodaimon also became a prominent figure in the half-philosophical, half-religious literature of Hermeticism that had its origins in Egypt …
Date: 2019-05-08


(339 words)

Author(s): Strohmaier, Gotthard
Asclepius (Asqalībiyūs or Asqulābiyūs) was the most prominent god of healing in Greek and Roman mythology; his attribute, a staff with a serpent coiled around it, became the emblem of medicine in modern times. In a commentary on the Hippocratic oath, ascribed to Galen and translated into Arabic, Asclepius is seen as a mortal who was raised to heaven in a column of fire. A note by the Nestorian translator Ḥunayn b. Isḥāq (d. 260/873) and preserved by Ibn Abī Uṣaybiʿa (d. 668/1270) explains the pa…
Date: 2019-05-08

Ḥubaysh b. al-Ḥasan al-Dimashqī

(854 words)

Author(s): Strohmaier, Gotthard
Ḥubaysh b. al-Ḥasan al-Aʿsam al-Dimashqī (fl. second half of the third/ninth century) was a nephew, pupil, and collaborator of the renowned translator of Greek medical and philosophical works into Arabic Ḥunayn b. Isḥāq (d. 260/873) and, like him, a member of the Apostolic Church of the East (also called the East Syriac or Nestorian church). Ḥunayn’s famous Risāla (epistle) on the translations of Galen credits Ḥubaysh with preparing thirty-six Arabic versions of Galen’s works, at the request of Muslim clients in the ʿAbbāsid capital. These outnumber t…
Date: 2019-05-08

Apollonius of Tyana

(1,419 words)

Author(s): Strohmaier, Gotthard
Apollonius of Tyana (Arabic Balīnūs, Balīnās, Būlīnyās, Abullūniyūs, Abūlūn, Ablūs, and similar forms) was a Neo-Pythagorean philosopher of the first century C.E. who became famous in Islam as “the creator of the talismans” (ṣāḥib al-ṭilasmāt or al-muṭalsim) and as the pseudonymous author of works on magic and alchemy. This posthumous career is not easy to explain; it is an example of a continuity in Mediterranean culture that belongs more to the sphere of folklore than to literary tradition. Some Greek authors describe Apollonius…
Date: 2019-05-08


(2,360 words)

Author(s): Strohmaier, Gotthard
Hippocrates (b. after 460, d. c.379 B.C.E.) regarded in the West as in the Muslim world as “the father of medicine,” was a historical figure—his younger contemporary Plato mentions him twice in his dialogues as a well known physician. Little is known about his life. He was born on the Aegean island of Cos and died in Larissa (Thessaly). He belonged to a family of physicians who called themselves Asclepiads. As an itinerant practioner, he travelled throughout Asia Minor, Thrace, and Greece. The writings (in the Ionian dialect) that are presently attributed to Hippocrates give …
Date: 2019-05-08

Alexandria, School of

(2,184 words)

Author(s): Adamson, Peter | Overwien, Oliver | Strohmaier, Gotthard
The School of Alexandria, the late antique institution for the teaching of philosophy and medicine, deeply influenced the development of those fields in the Muslim world. 1. The school in late antiquity The famous Alexandrian School of philosophy and medicine had its origin in the prosperous intellectual climate of the Ptolemaic dynasty, the successors to Alexander the Great in Egypt. In late antiquity, as a preeminent seat of higher education, it had a far-reaching impact on the educated class in Greek territories and also in…
Date: 2019-05-08


(1,002 words)

Author(s): Hübner, Wolfgang | Thiede, Werner | Strohmaier, Gotthard
[German Version] I. Greek and Roman Antiquity – II. Practical Theology – III. Islam– I. Greek and Roman Antiquity ʿΩροσκόπος/ hōroskópos “the watcher of the hours,” was originally a term for the ascendant, then the first 30° section of the Dodecatropos, and finally the position of all the stars at a particular time. The approx. nine Egyptian (between 38 bce and 93 ce) and 180 Greek (from 62 bce until 621 ce) horoscopes have been passed down on stone, papyrus, ostracon, or as graffiti, and also in didactic poetry (as sphragis in Manetho's writings) and in special…

Arabic-Islamic Cultural Sphere, The

(10,866 words)

Author(s): Strohmaier, Gotthard (Berlin RWG) | Toral-Niehoff, Isabel (Freiburg)
Strohmaier, Gotthard (Berlin RWG) I. The Near East (CT) [German version] A. Origin and Development of the Arabic-Islamic Cultural Sphere (CT) In a power vacuum between Byzantium and Persia, the prophet Mohammed founded a new theocratic and militant state on the Arabian peninsula in 622. Within less than a century, it extended from the Atlantic Ocean to the Indus. These conquests were facilitated by mild taxation laws and tolerant religious policies: Jews and Christians, who for the most part belonged to national chu…

Arabisch-islamisches Kulturgebiet

(9,711 words)

Author(s): Strohmaier, Gotthard (Berlin) RWG | Toral-Niehoff, Isabel (Freiburg i. Br.) RWG
Strohmaier, Gotthard (Berlin) RWG I. Naher Osten (RWG) [English version] A. Entstehung und Charakter des arabisch-islamischen Kulturgebiets (RWG) In einem Machtvakuum zw. Byzanz und Persien gründete der Prophet Mohammed auf der arab. Halbinsel 622 ein neues theokratisches und militantes Staatswesen. In weniger als einem Jh. reichte es vom Atlantischen Ozean bis zum Indus. Erleichtert wurden die Eroberungen durch eine milde Steuergesetzgebung und eine tolerante Religionspolitik, welche die Juden und die Christen,…