Anonymous Andalusi

Kitāb fī tartīb awqāt al-ghirāsa wa ’l-maghrūsāt

There are no known biographical details of this anonymous Andalusi although internal references in his Kitāb fī tartīb awqāt al-ghirāsa wa ’l-maghrūsāt, ‘Book on the order of the times for planting and cultivations’, suggest that he lived at the end of the 10th and beginning of the 11th centuries in Cordoba, making this short text the earliest existing Andalusi agricultural work as such (López y López 1990, pp. 17-19). It cites from the 6th/7th century Cassianus Bassus (probably from the Al-Filāḥa al-Rūmīya or ‘Byzantine agriculture’) and Mahrārīs, as well as from the Arabic works of ‘Arīb ibn Sa‘īd, the author of the ‘Calendar of Cordoba’ written for 961 AD, and Ibn al-Jazzār, the famous 10th century physician from Qayrawan (d. 979/80)(Guzmán Álvarez 2005, p. 106), providing a  terminus a quo for the work. With certain reservations López y López has identified the anonymous author with Ibn Abī ’l-Jawwād, mentioned by the later agronomists Ibn al-‘Awwām and Ibn Luyūn as the author of a Risāla fī ’l-filāḥa, of which there are no known manuscripts (López y López 1990; Carabaza Bravo & García Sánchez 2009).

The Kitāb fī tartīb has a limited coverage compared to later agronomical works.  It does not deal with water, soils, manures, cereals, legumes or animal husbandry but sets out the proper times for planting various crops and plants, as may be inferred from its title, and describes various methods of cultivation as practiced in the gardens and orchards of Al-Andalus.  It is organized into ten chapters that focus on tree-crops (chapters 1-4), ornamental plants (chapter 5), horticulture (chapters 6-7), and various practical matters including pruning and domestic economy (chapters 8-10) (García Sanchez 1992, p. 988; Lagardère 1993, p. 205). The fifth chapter is particularly noteworthy since it gives instructions for the cultivation of the most important ornamental plants grown in Al-Andalus at that time and includes additional information not given in ‘Arīb ibn Sa‘īd‘s ‘Calendar of Cordoba’ (García Sanchez 1992, p. 988). Chapters five and six are structurally similar if not identical to the corresponding chapters in Ibn Ḥajjāj’s Al-Muqni‘ (466/1073) which leads Lagardère to postulate a common source used by both agronomists (Lagardère 1993, pp. 204, 205).

Published Editions & Translations

  • Anonymous Andalusi (1990). Kitāb fī Tartīb Awqāt al-Ghirāsa wa ’l-Maghrūsāt: Un Tratado Agrícola Andalusí Anónimo. Edited with Spanish translation by A.C. López y López. Granada: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas.
This edition includes a comprehensive glossary of plants documented from the Andalusi agronomical and botanical texts.


There are just two copies of the treatise by the Anonymous Andalusi, found in the following manuscripts and respective folios:

(Source: Carabaza Bravo & García Sánchez, 2001)


Attié B. (1969). ‘Les manuscrits agricoles arabes de la Bibliothèque Nationale de Paris’. Hespéris‑Tamuda 10 (3),  pp. 241-261.
Carabaza Bravo, J.M., García Sánchez, E. & Llavero Ruiz, E. (1991). ‘Obras manuscritas de los geoponos andalusies (siglos X-XII)’. In: Emilio Molina et al. (eds.). Homenaje al Profesor Jacinto Bosch Vila, vol. 2, pp. 1115-1132. Granada: Universidad de Granada.
Carabaza Bravo, J.M., & García Sánchez, E. (1998). ‘Códices Misceláneos de Agronomía Andalusí’. Al‑Qantara 19, pp. 393-416.
Carabaza Bravo, J.M. & García Sánchez, E. (2001). ‘Estado actual y perspectivas de los estudios sobre agronomia andalusi’. In: Tawfik et al. (eds.). El Saber en al-Andalus: Textos y Estudios 3, pp. 101-118. Sevilla: Universidad de Sevilla.
Carabaza Bravo, J.M. & García Sánchez, E. (2009). ‘Studies on the agronomy of Al-Andalus’. Revue des Mondes Musulmans et de la Méditerranée [Online] 126. Consulted 9 August 2010. URL :
García Sanchez, E. (1992). ‘Agriculture in Muslim Spain’. In: Jayyusi, S. K. (ed.). The Legacy of Muslim Spain, vol. 2, pp. 987-999. Leiden: Brill.
Guzmán Álvarez, J. R. (2005). ‘El compendio de agricultura atribuido a Ibn Wāfid/al-Nahrāwī: nuevas perspectivas sobre su autoría’. Anaquel de Estudios Árabes 16, pp. 83-124.
Lagardère, V. (1993). ‘Review of A.C. López y López, Kitāb fī Tartīb Awqāt al-Ghirāsa wa ’l-Maghrūsāt : Un Tratado Agrícola Andalusí Anónimo (Granada, 1990)’. Bulletin Critique des Annales Islamologiques 10, pp. 204-205.
López y López, A.C. (ed.) (1990). Kitāb fī Tartīb awqāt al-ghirāsa wa ’l-maghrūsāt: Un tratado agrícola andalusí anónimo / edición, traducción y estudio con glosario de Ángel C. López y López. Granada: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Escuela de Estudios Árabes.
Sáez, P. (1994). ‘Fuentes grecolatinas del Tratado agrícola andalusí anónimo’. In: García, E. (ed.). Ciencias de la Naturaleza en al-Andalus. Textos y Estudios 3, pp. 283‑292. Granada: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas.
Vajda, G. (1953). Index Général des Manuscrits Arabes Musulmans de la Bibliothèque Nationale de Paris (Publications de l'Institut de Recherche et d'Histoire des Textes 4). Paris: Éditions du Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique.