Ms. nº 617j, Bibliothèque Générale, Rabat

A miscellaneous work perfectly preserved, written in a small maghrebi script with very good and clear calligraphy. Vowels are almost non-existent and when shown not very important. There are 21 or 22 lines per page and some marginal notes corresponding in general to some errors found in the text. A different coloured ink is used for the chapter headings and for words and phrases that indicate a thematic change. All the pages have a religious invocation in the upper left corner. There are some stains and small holes in the manuscript, which has been repaired.

It seems to have two types of handwriting, and though the differences are minimal it could be that there is more than one copyist at work. In any case the identity of the copyist is not stated. The date of the manuscript is 25 shawwal, 1278 (25 April, 1862), and the date of the copy from which it was made is 21 muharram, 970 (Sept. 20, 1562)1, these dates occurring on pp. 509 and 510 of the manuscript.

This miscellaneous work, which sometimes lacks blank spaces within the text, contains three Andalusian agricultural treatises: those of Al-Ṭighnarī (pp. 1-269), Ibn Baṣṣāl (pp. 270-413) and the one attributed to Ibn Ḥajjāj (pp. 414-510).

In the first part, Al-Ṭighnarī’s work, the title is framed by some drawings after the basmala and taṣliya but omits the name of the author. Neither the copyist’s name nor date is given.

The beginning of each theme, introduced by a faṣl, is marked with thicker strokes, sometimes in a different coloured ink. This occurs as well with the names of plants and references cited throughout the whole text.

It finishes with the characteristics of the nana‘ or mint. The themes and their order are identical to the ones in manuscript nº IV of the Archivo Municipal de Cordoba and of other summaries.

Ibn Baṣṣāl’s text (pp. 270-413) corresponds with manuscript nº 6519 of the Bibliothèque Royale, Rabat and with Millás’ edition except for chapters XI and XII:
XI: al-bāb al-ḥādīashara fī zirāa al-qiṭṭā’ wa’l-biṭṭīj wa-mā ashbaha-hā wa-qāraba shakla-hā.
XII: al-bāb al-ṭānīashara fī zirāa al-qiṭṭā’ wa’l-biṭṭīj wa’l-qara wa-mā ashbaha dhālika.
In the rest of the text there are just minor differences limited to a few words or a larger epigraph than the others.

The last treatise, (pp. 414-510), is the only one that has the author’s name, on the first page, in this case that of Ibn Ḥajjāj. As with manuscript nº 5013 of the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, it was used by the Jordanian editors of Al-Muqnī‘, and thus covers the whole of this work, i.e. the treatise of Al-Nahrāwī/Al-Zahrāwī or Ibn Wāfid (pp. 414-478) and excerpts from Ibn Ḥajjāj(pp. 478-510).

This manuscript 617j does not contain the chapters referring to the grape vine, a few sentences about preparing the vegetable garden, and descriptions of two types of tree grafting that are present in the Jordanian edition and belong to the first treatise in this 2.

(translated from Carabaza Bravo, J. M., García Sánchez, E. & Llavero Ruiz, E. (1991). ‘Obras manuscritas de los geoponos andalusies (siglos X-XII)’, pp. 1126-27. In: Emilio Molina et al. (eds.). Homenaje al Profesor Jacinto Bosch Vila, vol. 2, pp. 1115-1132. Granada: Universidad de Granada)


1 Note that, curiously, this is the same date which appears in ms. 5013 of the B. N. in Paris so ms. 617j may be a copy of this.
2 Compare Ibn Ḥajjāj, Al-Muqnī‘, pp. 26-29, 35, and 47-48, and ms. 617j, pp. 433, 438-9, and 448.