Al-Khazini

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Abu al-Fath Abd al-Rahman Mansour al-Khāzini or simply Abu al-Fath Khāzini (Arabic: أبو الفتح الخازني‎‎, Persian: ابولفتح خازنی‎‎) (flourished 1115–1130) was a Muslim astronomer of Persian Greek ethnicity from Merv, then in the Khorasan province of Persia (located in today's Turkmenistan). Merv was known for its literary and scientific achievements.[1]

Muslim scientist
Abd al-Rahman al-Khazini
Title Al-Khazini
Born 11th century
Died 12th century
Ethnicity Byzantine Greek, Persian
Era Islamic Golden Age
Creed Islamic astronomy
Main interest(s) Astronomy

Life

Al-Khazini was a slave in Marw.[2] He was the pupil of Umar Khayyam.[2] He got his name from his master al-Khanzin. His master is responsible for his education in mathematics and philosophy.[1][2] Al-Khazini was known for being a humble man. He refused thousands of Dinar for his works, saying he did not need much to live on because it was only his cat and himself in his household.[1] Al-Khazini is one of the few Islamic astronomers to be known for doing original observations.[1] His works are used and very well known in the Islamic world, but very few other places around the world acknowledge his work.[1]

Achievements

Al Khazini seems to have been a high government official under Sanjar ibn Malikshah and the sultan of the Seljuk Empire. He did most of his work in Merv, where they are known for their libraries.[1] His best-known works are "The Book of the Balance of Wisdom", "Treatise on Astronomical Wisdom", and "The Astronomical Tables for Sanjar".[1]

"The Book of the Balance of Wisdom" is an encyclopedia of medieval mechanics and hydrostatics composed of eight books with fifty chapters.[1] It is a study of the hydrostatic balance and the ideas behind statics and hydrostatics, it also covers other unrelated topics.[1] There are four different manuscripts of "The Book of the Balance of Wisdom" that have survived.[1] The balance al-Khazini built for Sanjar’s treasury was modeled after the balance al-Asfizari, who was a generation older than al-Khazini, built.[1] Sanjar’s treasurer out of fear destroyed al-Asfizari’s balance; he was filled with grief when he heard the news.[1] Al-Khazini called his balance "combined balance" to show honor towards Al-Asfizari.[1] The meaning of the balance was a "balance of true judgment".[1] The job of this balance was to help the treasury see what metals were precious and which gems were real or fake.[1] In "The Book of the Balance of Wisdom" al-Khazini states many different examples from the Koran ways that his balance fits into religion.[1] When al-Khazini explains the advantages of his balance he says that it "performs the functions of skilled craftsmen", its benefits are theoretical and practical precision.[1]

The "Treatise on Astronomical Wisdom" is a relatively short work.[1] It has seven parts and each part is assigned to a different scientific instrument.[1] The seven instruments include: a triquetrum, a dioptra, a "triangular instrument," a quadrant, devices involving reflection, an astrolabe, and simple tips for viewing things with the naked eye.[1] The treatise describes each instrument and their uses.[1]

"The Astronomical Tables for Sanjar" is said to have been composed for Sultan Sanjar, the ruler of Merv and his balance was made for Sanjar’s treasury.[1] The tables in "The Astronomical Tables for Sanjar" are tables of holidays, fasts, etc.[1] The tables are said to have the latitudes and longitudes of forty-three different stars, along with their magnitudes and (astrological) temperaments.[1] It is said that al-Khazini’s observations for this work were probably done in Merv in various observatories with high quality instruments.[1]

References

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