29.5 MB (4.8 MB compressed)
2926 x 3525 pixels
24.9 x 30.0 cm ⏐ 9.8 x 11.8 in (300dpi)
SCIENCE SOURCE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SCIENCE SOURCE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
An engraving of an astronomer by Albrecht Durer, from the title page of Messahalah, De scientia motus orbis (1504). As in many medieval illustrations, the drafting compass here is an icon of religion as well as science, in reference to God as the architect of creation. Mashallah ibn Athari (740-815 AD) was an 8th century Persian Jewish astrologer and astronomer from the city of Basra. The Arabic phrase ma sha'a allah indicates acceptance of what God has ordained in terms of good or ill fortune that may befall a believer. His real name is unknown. Latin translators named him Messahala. The crater Messala on the Moon is named after him. He wrote over twenty works on astrology, which became authoritative in later centuries at first in the Middle East, and then in the West when horoscopic astrology was transmitted back to Europe beginning in the 12th century.
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