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The constellations of Canis Minor, Argo Navis, Draco, Crater, Corvus and Centaurus in the southern hemisphere

The constellations of Canis Minor, Argo Navis, Draco, Crater, Corvus and Centaurus in the southern hemisphere

From an Ottoman Turkish translation of al-Qazvini, ʿAjaʾib al-Makhluqat (Wonders of creation), copied late 16th/early 17th century

Bodleian Library, University of Oxford, MS Turk d 2, fol 40b–41a

This manuscript is a Turkish translation of a work by a Persian cosmographer, who wrote the original in Arabic. Later copies were translated into Persian and then into Ottoman Turkish.

The original author, al-Qazvini (d 1283), compiled previous texts of astronomy, astrology, geography, zoology and botany in order to produce an encyclopedic work that condensed the entire understanding of the physical world of his time. The purpose was to induce wonder at divine creation in all its variety and supposed form.

The 'Wonders of creation' enjoyed enormous popularity in the medieval Islamic world, including in the vast sphere of Persianate cultural influence.