A 10th-century Text

The Calendar of Cordoba is difficult to trace, as it brings the ideas from Iraq and Central Asia into Spain and, from there, is likely disseminated. It survives in two forms: Latin and Judeo-Arabic. This text is the preface:

Abū ’l-Ḥasan ‘Arīb ibn Sa‘d the secretary – may God forgive him and ourselves – says:
Here is a book that recounts the periods and seasons of the year, the number of months and the days they have, the sun’s course through the zodiac and the mansions, the far points where it rises, the measure of its declination and its elevation, the variable length of the shadow it casts at the time of the meridian, the periodic return of the seasons, the succession of days with the increase and decrease of their lengths, the cold season and warm season and those, moderate and temperate, which separate them, fixing the date of the beginning of each season, the number of days it contains, after the doctrine of the astronomers who calculated the position and movement of the stars, and the ancient physicians who determined the seasons and their natures, for, in the division of the year there appeared among these scholars differences that will be mentioned and discussed in this book, God willing.

We will also set down those times that no one can do without concerning the times for sowing and planting, and for various agricultural operations, the first harvesting of fruit, the storage and preservation of foodstuffs, the onset of maturity of fruits that are eaten dried, the dates of parturition, as well as other details concerning the well-being and health of people, such as the most suitable times for the purification of the body through the absorption of medicines and phlebotomy, the gathering of herbs and medicinal seeds, and the preparation of drugs, syrups and preserves, when appropriate and possible.

We will also recount the knowledge regarding the changes of the winds and the theories of the Arabs concerning the anwā’ and the rains, for they were particularly interested in these and the need to determine the dates of the rising and setting of the stars, to distinguish those that brought the rain from those that did not, in order to adjust their migrations in search of grazing and their transfer to water sources…