Ms. nº 5754 Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris (Vajda, 1953: 342)

This is written in moderately clear maghrebi script. It has 23 lines per page throughout the manuscript, with a few notes in the margins written in a different hand. Titles of the various sections and numerous words in the subject headings are highlighted using a different coloured ink and thicker lines, with the peculiarity that most of them have an oriental, not maghrebi, style.

The name of the only copyist, Muḥammad al-Ṣāliḥ b. Aḥmad Zarrūq b. Muḥammad al-‘Antarī, which occurs twice, in folios 151r and 186r, where we also find, in both folios, the date when it was written: the end of rajab of 1192, corresponding to the end of August 1778. Folio 175v doesn’t seem to be written by Al-‘Antarī, for the script is larger and the epigraphs are in a different style to the rest of the copy.

The agricultural theme of this miscellaneous manuscript starts in folio 152v1 and extends till 186r, which is the end of the work. There are two explicits (fols. 176v and 186r), both with the name Abū ’l-Qāsim b. ‘Abbās al-Nahrāwī and the name of his work, Kitāb al-Filāa. This author is, as mentioned before, most probably identifiable with Abū ’l-Qāsim Jalaf b. ‘Abbās al-Zahrāwī from Cordova. The explicit in folio 176v defines this as the “first agricultural treatise” in this copy by Al-‘Antarī, whose contents correspond to the first part of the Jordanian edition of Al-Muqnī‘ (Ibn Ḥajjāj, 1982. Al-Muqnī‘ fī ’l-filāa. Edited by S. Jarrār & Y. Abū Ṣāfiya. Ammān: Majma‘ al-Luga al-‘Arabiyya al-Urduniyya, pp. 5-85), even though the editors didn’t refer to this Parisian manuscript in their work. Compared to the Jordanian edition, manuscript 5754 has some differences such as: changes in some chapter titles; loss of some lines in the introduction and in the recommendations on vineyards; alterations to the text in the chapter on diseases of crops; absence of the paragraphs entitled “Vines with bountiful shoots”, “Vines that produce perfumed grapes” and about the cultivation of some trees; change in the order of certain crops and the grafting of trees; loss of a small chapter on wine; some additional words regarding vinegar and oil; loss of part of the chapters dedicated to bees, pigeons, hens and peacocks; and textual alterations in the section on how to repel mice, snakes, ants, fleas and mosquitoes 2.

With reference to folios 176v to 186r, even though they are also attributed to Al-Nahrāwī, they don’t agree at all with the Jordanian edition. Bachir Attié’s opinion is that they are an anonymous summary - or fragments of a summary - of the agricultural treatise of Ibn al-‘Awwām, Sevillian agronomist of the end of the 12th and beginning of the 13th centuries (Attié, B., 1969. ‘Les manuscrits agricoles arabes de la Bibliothèque Nationale de Paris’. Hespéris‑Tamuda 10 (3),  p. 261).

(translated from Carabaza Bravo, J. M., García Sánchez, E. & Llavero Ruiz, E. (1991). ‘Obras manuscritas de los geoponos andalusies (siglos X-XII)’, pp. 1120-21. In: Emilio Molina et al. (eds.). Homenaje al Profesor Jacinto Bosch Vila, vol. 2, pp. 1115-1132. Granada: Universidad de Granada.

Here is what Attié has to say about Ms. no. 5754 in the Bibliothèque Nationale de Paris:

The agricultural texts of this compilation are identical to those of ms. no. 1550 of Algiers. In the inscription of that one, Fagnan distinguishes two different treatises: the first is Kitāb al-falāḥa of Abū-l-Qāsim b. ‘Abbās an-Nahrāwī (Fols. 150 -180), the second is anonymous (Fols. 180a – 193). This distinction is not clear in the description of the ms. in Paris.

  1. Fols. 152b – 176b.  Kitāb al-falāḥa – Nahrāwī
    All through this study, the inscriptions identifying the manuscipts have been suspect to our eyes. The inscription which attributes this Kitāb al-falāḥa to Abū-l-Qāsim b. ‘Abbās an- Nahrāwī is similarly suspect. But it has been useful to dissociate the basse-cour …. from the treatises of Abū’l Khayr and that of Ibn Ḥajjāj. In fact, this treatise, which is composed of two sections, agriculture and basse-cour, is attributed to An-Nahrāwī in this ms. and in that of Algiers only. It is anonymous in the following ms.: No. 10106 of the Biblioteca Nacionalof Madrid, which is a medieval Spanish version of treatise no. 5013 in Paris (Millás Vallicrosa, J.M., 1942. Las Traducciones Orientales en los Manuscritos de la Biblioteca Catedral de Toledo. Madrid. pp. 92 – 96), the compendium of M. Aziman, and the ms. edited by Sidi Tuhāmī under the name of Abu’l-Khayr (Abū al-Khayr Al-Ishbīlī, 1938. Kitāb fī al-Filāa. Fez: Sīdī al-Tuhāmī al-Nāṣirī al-Ja‘farī, pp. 1-83)

    Dr Millás attributes this treatise to Ibn Wāfid. The title of the treatise of Ibn Wāfid, Al-Majmū‘ (‘The Compendium’) fits with Kitāb fī-l-falāḥa. Abū-l-Muṭarrif is definitely the kunya of Ibn Wāfid. It seems to us that this treatise is not attributable to any of the agronomists that we know. We do not know who was An-Nahrāwī. It is surely not Khalaf Abū-l-Qāsim b. ‘Abbās az-Zahrāwī. For us, it remains anonymous.
  2. Fols. No. 176b – 186. An abridgement of the treatise of Ibn al-‘Awwām – Anon
    The second treatise is an abridgement, or fragments of an abridgement, of the treatise of Ibn al-‘Awwām.

    (translated from Attié, B., 1969. ‘Les manuscrits agricoles arabes de la Bibliothèque Nationale de Paris’. Hespéris‑Tamuda 10 (3),  p. 261).


1 Folios 2v to 69v are given over to a history of the royal court. Folios 70r-72r are blank. Folios 72v to 151r comprise the Al-Rila al-Gazzāliyya, a geographical work by Aḥmad b. al-Mahdī al-Gazzāl al-Fāsī, and folios 151v to 152r are also blank.
2 Compare Ibn Hajjāj, Al-Muqnī‘, pp. 5, 20-22, 24-26, 31, 41-44, 48-49, 51-52, 55-56, 69-70, 75-78 and 80-84 to ms. 5754 fols. 152v, 158r-159v, 161v, 165r, 168r-168v, 169v-170r, 174r-176v.