Pseudo-Aristotle’s Secret of Secrets (Sirr al-Asrar) Audiobook [Part 1/2]
Pseudo-Aristotle’s Secret of Secrets (Sirr al-Asrar) Audiobook [Part 2/2]
Translated from the Arabic into English by: Alexander Strathern Fulton
Read by: Dan Attrell
Translated from MS. Gotha 1869, with variants from MS. Gotha 1870, B.M. Or. 3118, B.M. Or. 6421, Laud. Or. 210, and the Hebrew text of Gaster
[From Wikipedia:] The Secretum Secretorum (Latin for “The Secret of Secrets”), also known as the Sirr al-Asrar (Arabic: كتاب سر الأسرار, lit. ‘The Secret Book of Secrets’), is a pseudoaristotelian treatise which purports to be a letter from Aristotle to his student Alexander the Great on an encyclopedic range of topics, including statecraft, ethics, physiognomy, astrology, alchemy, magic, and medicine. The earliest extant editions claim to be based on a 9th-century Arabic translation of a Syriac translation of the lost Greek original. Modern scholarship finds it likely to have been a 10th-century work composed in Arabic. Translated into Latin in the mid-12th century, it was influential among European intellectuals like Roger Bacon and Albertus Magnus during the High Middle Ages.
The origin of the treatise remains uncertain. The Arabic edition claims to be a translation from Greek by 9th-century scholar Abu Yahya ibn al-Batriq (died 815 CE), and one of the main translators of Greek-language philosophical works for Al-Ma’mun, working from a Syriac edition which was itself translated from a Greek original. It contains supposed letters from Aristotle to his pupil Alexander the Great. No such texts have been discovered and it appears the work was actually composed in Arabic. The letters may thus derive from the Islamic and Persian legends surrounding Alexander. The Arabic treatise is preserved in two copies: a longer 10-book version and a shorter version of 7 or 8 books; the latter is preserved in about 50 copies.
Modern scholarship considers that the text must date to after the Encyclopedia of the Brethren of Purity and before the work of Ibn Juljul in the late 10th century. The section on physiognomy may have been circulating as early as AD 940. The Arabic version was translated into Persian (at least twice), Ottoman Turkish (twice), Hebrew, Spanish, and twice into Latin. (The Hebrew edition was also the basis for a translation into Russian.) The first Latin translation was done for the Portuguese queen c. 1120 by the converso John of Seville; it is now preserved in about 150 copies. The second translation was done at Antioch c. 1232 by Philip of Tripoli; it is preserved in more than 350 copies. Some 13th-century editions include additional sections.
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