Editorial Method

The Glossary is arranged according to the Latin alphabet. The Arabic counterparts to the Latin lemmata are arranged in descending order of frequency in the corpus. The Arabic terms are translated into English, so that a reader without knowledge of Arabic can consult the Glossary and study the semantic range which lies behind a Latin term.

The reader can choose between a shorter version of the lemma, which shows all Arabic counterparts of a Latin term without quotations, and a longer version, which shows a maximum of two quotations for each source.


The Latin lemmata comprise all those entries in modern Arabic–Latin glossaries that have a counterpart in the Arabic and that are not gross translator’s mistakes. The Glossary also covers generic and proper names, with the exception of the names of single persons, and hence contains many loan words, especially in botany, zoology and astronomy.

The lemmata include a broader range of grammatical categories than is normally found in Latin lexica: passive infinitives, participles, adverbs, comparative and superlative forms, phrases of several words, and relative clauses. This has proved a practical way to picture the complex translation process from a Semitic to an Indo-European language.

Spelling and Vocalization

The spelling of the Latin lemmata is standardized according to classical usage if the word is of classical origin. Medieval Latin words retain the spelling of their source in the form chosen by the modern editor. The spelling of the quotations is always that of the source; hence, some quotations are in classical spelling, some in medieval.

The transliteration of the Arabic follows the rules laid down by the Deutsche Morgendländische Gesellschaft, with the exception that the diphthongs aw and ay are used instead of au and ai.

English Translation

The English translation of the Arabic term does not give the general meaning as found in Arabic lexica, but the specific meaning which the term has in the quotations. Hence, in a good number of cases, the meaning is not recorded in the standard Arabic lexica such as Lisān, Freytag, Lane, Dozy and Wehr. The translation does not cover meanings which the term may have in other passages of the source that are not quoted.


The selection of quotations follows a routine method. If a Latin term appears more than twice in a source, only two occurrences are quoted, usually the first and last.

For pragmatic reasons, the Glossary is much more economical in Arabic quotations than in Latin quotations. As a rule, each Latin lemma contains at least one Arabic quotation, but need not contain more if the meaning of the Arabic term is unproblematic.

The context of a quotation is sometimes elucidated by additional words in square brackets [sc. ...]. Variant readings are also noted in square brackets: [var. ...].


Thanks to the diligence of the editors, many Arabic–Latin glossaries give complete lists of occurrences of a term. In these cases, the Arabic and Latin Glossary notes the frequency of a term in the list of sources. For example: the term bellum as a translation of ḥarb appears 125 times in Abū Maʿšar’s The Great Conjunctions, and once in al-Qabīṣī’s Introduction. The sources are listed in chronological sequence of their translation.

Arabic–Latin Version

The reader can use the menu to search for Arabic terms in the Glossary. This search function serves two goals: first, as a means for studying techniques of translation, and, second, as a tool for understanding the vocabulary of Arabic philosophical and scientific texts – since the Latin translators were nearly contemporary and often very intelligent readers and interpreters of these Arabic texts.

In addition, we plan to generate an Arabic–Latin version of the Glossary automatically when the Latin-Arabic part is completed.

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