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RE: VMs: New guy on the block

Has anyone compared the vms with the two books written by Abu Bakr Ahmad ibn
Ali ibn Qais ibn Wahsiyah an-Nabati, who was a physician and botanist with
interests in agriculture, animal husbandry as well as alchemy, magic and
toxicology. He wrote in Iraq around 900 AD. He was not only a scholar of his
day, but perhaps the greatest spokesperson on behalf of his illustrious
ancestors, the Nabataeans, to whom he attributed nine-tenths of all
scientific knowledge known. His books are known as Al-Filiaheh an-Nabatiyah
(904 AD) and As-Sumum wat-Tiyaqat (900 AD). This manuscript may have been
one of the books that he used for reference when compiling his two great
works. There are some interesting similarities.

The Nabataean language has only 22 characters. Five of them are found in the
VMS. It seems that three of them have degenerated down into a single
character, although one section of the manuscript seems to have been written
by a different hand, and seems to differentiate between two of them. Since
the Nabataean language was written from right to left, the front of the book
would have been at the back, were all the text is. My feeling is that the
book is probably about the information collected by  merchant on this
travels. After the introduction, and the places visited (each beginning with
a Nabataean Star), the fold-out pages begin the appendices of: stories,
plants and star charts collected on the journey. The journey was probably to
the orient, hence the oriental/Chinese feel to the appendices. There are
still lots of bits of the book that need to be checked out, however, Abu
Bakr an-Nabati may have used this as one of his source texts when writing
his books of collected knowledge that was known in the Arabian Peninsula
around 900 AD. That's the theory I'm working on, but it is only a theory..
With lots of circumstantial evidence, but still no translation of the text.

Dan Gibson

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