[ASTRONOMICAL MANUSCRIPT / SATURN] Teshîl-i Zuhâl: Isbû teshîlin faidesi budur ki ola Zuhâl’in merkez ve hasse ve avcunu istihrâc… [i.e., The benefit of this facilitating chart is that it gives the account of deviation and centre angles of Zuhal (Saturn)

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EL-ANKARAVÎ, MÜNECCIM MÜDERRISZÂDE SEYYID SADULLAH B. ABDÜLKERIM B. MUSTAFA SEYHÎ (1792-1855), Manuscript, [probably Istanbul], AH 1258 = [1842].

Original manuscript, a fine nesta'liq script on polished paper in black and red ink. Signed “Müderriszâde Sadullah el-Ankaravî” on verso. Large roy. 8vo. (25 x 17 cm). In Ottoman script (Old Turkish with Arabic letters) with Arabic chart. [2] p. A small hole in the blank area of the chart, restored the torn right extremity without loss. A very good manuscript.

An early 19th-century astronomical autograph manuscript containing an Arabic account of Saturn based on the observations on an attractive early handwritten chart including angles and anomalies by Ottoman astronomer Müderriszâde Sadullah el-Ankaravî. The descriptive text signed and dated in Ottoman Turkish on verso by the astronomer, is a user guide of the detailed chart. Considering the calligraphic art in the manuscript, it is obvious that el-Ankaravî was well-trained in calligraphy.

This detailed manuscript astronomical chart includes anomalies of Saturn based on el-Ankaravî’s observations under the 15 titles such as “Derecât-i Merkez” [i.e., Center angles], “Derecât-i Hasse” [i.e., Angle of Deviation, or Anomaly], “Hasse-i Cevzâ” [i.e., Anomaly of the Gemini], “Hasse-i Cedî” [i.e., Anomaly of the Capricorn], etc.

Saturn is known for its vortex storms forming where there is a steep latitudinal gradient in the speed of winds blowing across the planet’s atmosphere. Named after the Roman god of agriculture, its Arabic name - Zuhal (زحل) - reflects the planet and the mythology, representing fertility and growth. The planet takes its name from the fact that it is “far removed, in the seventh heaven" in Arabic. Zuhâl was the goddess to whom the Kaaba was consecrated, and like her equivalent Saturn, had power over cultivation and the produce of the soil, and punished anyone who ruined arable land.

The Ottoman astronomer el-Ankaravî, who lived in Ankara in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, produced astrological maps of individuals in high positions of the state. Sources mention the depth of his knowledge of “ilm-i nücûm” using the letter symbolism of worshiping the stars, making sense of the positions and movements of the stars, and looking at fortune-telling with the zodiac. It is known that he worked as a judge and a clergyman in Ankara and that he came to Istanbul before his death and contributed to the translations made at the Mühendishâne-i Berr-i Hümâyûn [i.e., the Ottoman School of Engineering]. 


Author's copies of the manuscripts by Muslim astronomers are excessively rare in the market, institutional holdings, and auction records. After a considerable trace of these kinds of manuscripts, we can easily say that it’s a unique copy. This content-rich manuscript, which uniquely reveals the contributions to scientific history by a 19th-century Muslim astronomer who spent his life dealing with the horoscopes of high-ranking people, will be an invaluable source of the history of Islamic science.

For more information about el-Ankaravî’s biography: KOÇ, Gülçin /Tunali): "Sadullah el-Ankaravî: Daily concerns of an Ottoman astrologer".