The exceptional clarity and irrefutable logic of the Elements by Euclid have created an everlasting masterpiece of scientific and educational literature. His personal input is certainly very important but could not be identified. Mathematike Syntaxis by Ptolemy is different because the author himself has constructed a planetary model by associating geometric considerations with the apparent motions of planets.
The achievement of antiquity would have been lost forever in medieval times if they had not interested the Arabs. These texts are translated and are the subject of many manuscripts in complete or abridged form, often with comments. Different translations are also prepared after further readings of the surviving texts. Real handwritten editions are done.
Commissioned by the Caliphs, great authors are thus reviving the ancient fundamental treatises. Euclid and Ptolemy were both reworked by al-Hajjaj, Ishaq ibn Hunayn and Thabit ibn Qurra. The book of Ptolemy takes the Arabizing title under which it is still designated now, the Almagest.
On April 25 in London, Sotheby's sells two Arabic manuscripts of the 7th century AH, estimated £ 200K each.
Lot 30 is an edited version of Euclid's Elements, with drawings of the figures and many comments. An Egyptian origin is announced as probable. The age of the paper is confirmed by carbon analysis.
Lot 31 is an abridgment of the Almagest, made in Persia and dated 671 AH corresponding to 1272 CE. The scientific reasoning with its illustrations is complete and complies with Ptolemy's approach but the text has been simplified, perhaps for pedagogical reasons. No other example of this specific abridged text is known.
On April 26 in London, Christie's sells a compilation of five treatises on astronomy and mathematics including the Almagest. This manuscript is a copy made in Anatolia in 678 AH corresponding to 1279 CE from an original text by al-Tusi who had died five years before. It is estimated £ 300K, lot 36.
Euclid at Sotheby's : SOLD for £ 320K including premium
Almagest at Sotheby's : unsold
Compendium at Christie's : unsold