Born 11th century
Died 12th century
Era Islamic Golden Age
Main interests
Astronomy, Mathematics

Abū al-Fath Abd al-Rahman Mansūr al-Khāzini or simply al-Khāzini (أبوالفتح عبدالرحمن منصور الخازنی  (Persian), flourished 1115–1130) was an astronomer of Byzantine origin from Seljuk Persia. His astronomical tables written under the patronage of Sultan Sanjar (Zīj al-Sanjarī, 1115) is considered to be one of the major works in mathematical astronomy of the medieval period.[1]:107 He provided the positions of fixed stars, and for oblique ascensions and time-equations for the latitude of Marv in which he was based.[2]:197 He also wrote extensively on various calendrical systems and on the various manipulations of the calendars.[1] He was the author of an encyclopedia on scales and water-balances.[3]


Al-Khazini was an emancipated slave in Marv,[2]:197[4] which was then one of the most important cities of Khorasan. He got his name from his master (Abu‘l Husayn ‘Alī ibn Muhammad al-Khāzin al-Marwazī) who was the treasurer of Marv.[1]:107 The term khāzin was simply the title of the royal treasurer since the early Islamic period.[5] His master made provisions so that al-Khazini could obtain a first-class education.[1] Some believe that al-Khazini was a pupil of Omar Khayyam.[4] While this is not known, he wrote about Khayyam, in particular, he gave a description of the water-balance invented by him (and improved upon by Al-Isfizari).[2]:176 And according to some sources, he collaborated with him on the reformation of the Persian calendar in 1079.[6]:199

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.[3] Al-Khazini was one of only about twenty astronomers of the Islamic era who performed original observations.[3] His works reached Byzantium in the 14th century, in particular, they were studied by George Chrysococces and later by Theodore Meliteniotes.[1]:107


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.[3] His best-known works are "The Book of the Balance of Wisdom", "Treatise on Astronomical Wisdom", and "The Astronomical Tables for Sanjar".[3]

"The Book of the Balance of Wisdom" is an encyclopedia of medieval mechanics and hydrostatics composed of eight books with fifty chapters.[3] It is a study of the hydrostatic balance and the ideas behind statics and hydrostatics, it also covers other unrelated topics.[3] There are four different manuscripts of "The Book of the Balance of Wisdom" that have survived.[3] 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.[3] Sanjar’s treasurer out of fear destroyed al-Asfizari’s balance; he was filled with grief when he heard the news.[3] Al-Khazini called his balance "combined balance" to show honor towards Al-Asfizari.[3] The meaning of the balance was a "balance of true judgment".[3] The job of this balance was to help the treasury see what metals were precious and which gems were real or fake.[3] In "The Book of the Balance of Wisdom" al-Khazini states many different examples from the Koran ways that his balance fits into religion.[3] 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.[3]

The "Treatise on Astronomical Wisdom" is a relatively short work.[3] It has seven parts and each part is assigned to a different scientific instrument.[3] 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.[3] The treatise describes each instrument and their uses.[3]

"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.[3] The tables in "The Astronomical Tables for Sanjar" are tables of holidays, fasts, etc.[3] The tables are said to have the latitudes and longitudes of forty-three different stars, along with their magnitudes and (astrological) temperaments.[3] It is said that al-Khazini’s observations for this work were probably done in Merv in various observatories with high quality instruments.[3]

See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 Montelle, C. (2011). The ‘Well-Known Calendars’: Al-Khāzinī’s Description of Significant Chronological Systems for Medieval Mathematical Astronomy in Arabic. In Steele J. (Ed.), Calendars and Years II: Astronomy and Time in the Ancient and Medieval World (pp. 107-126). Oxford; Oakville: Oxbow Books.
  2. 1 2 3 Meyerhof, M. (1948). 'Alī al-Bayhaqī's Tatimmat Siwān al-Hikma: A Biographical Work on Learned Men of the Islam. Osiris, 8, 122-217.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 Al-Khāzinī, Abu’l-Fath ‘Abd Al-Raḥmān [Sometimes Abū Manṣūr ’ Abd Al-Raḥmān or ’Abd Al-Rahmān Manṣūr]., Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography., 2008, pp. 335–351.
  4. 1 2 Rosenfeld, B. (1994), Book reviews: Middle ages & renaissance., Journal of the History of Science in Society, pp. 85(4), 686.
  5. Floor, Willem. "kazinadar". Encyclopædia Iranica. Retrieved 4 December 2017.
  6. Mehdi Aminrazavi, The Wine of Wisdom: The Life, Poetry and Philosophy of Omar Khayyam, Oneworld Publications (2007)
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