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Alhabar arabice est plumbum ut apud Avicennam capitulo de alaunoch, sed in arabico alabar scribitur Stephanus vero abarum scripsit.


Alhabar e | Alahabar ABCH | Alahahar f {'b' misread as 'h'}

Abarum (-ruʒ e|) ACH ef | abaruz B {"sideways m" misread as "long z"}


Alhabar is Arabic for Latin plumbum {"lead"} as stated in Avicenna, chapter De alaunoch, but in Arabic it is spelt alabar. Stephanus writes abarum.


Siggel (1950: 76) ﺍﺑﺎﺭ /abār/ Blei; … verbranntes Blei {i.e. "lead, ... burnt lead"}. According to Goltz (1972: 84) Sumerian A.BAR was adopted into Akkadian abāru, which in turn was adopted into Aramaic /ābār-ā, abbār-ā/, which became Arabic /ab(b)ār/.

Wehr: ﺍﻧﻚ, /ānuk/, "lead (metal)"; Siggel (1950: 77): ﺍﻧﻚ, /ānuk/, ﺍﻧﻖ /ānuq/ Zinn, auch Blei akkadisch {i.e. "tin, also lead" Akkadian}.

The Arabic title of the chapter alluded to is from the Canon, book II, ﺍﻻﺑﺎﺭ ﻭ ﺍﻻﻧﻚ /al-abār wa al-ānuk/.

Arabic ﺍﻧﻚ /ānuk/ according to modern usage, cf. Wehr (1976), means "lead". It is ultimately from Akkadian annaku (AN.NA), where it meant "lead" or "tin". In Syriac /ʔankā/ is also "black and white lead", i.e. lead and tin.

Simon alludes to [Goehl] Avicenna's Canon, liber secundus, Capitulum 12. De alaunoch (ann.: alaunoc) et alahabar (followed by: id est plumbo eloto (ann.: alanoc et alabar id est plumbum - "alanoc and alahabar, i.e. washed lead"}). Alaunoch et alahabar quid est? Utrumque est plumbum nigrum ... - "What is alaunoch and alahabar? Both are black lead {i.e. 'lead'}".

Plumbum elotum, "washed lead" and its preparation are mentioned by Dioscorides Longobardus, 5, 106, ed. Stalder (1903: 209) De lotura plumbi, and in the Greek original cf. 5, 81, ed. Wellmann (1906-14: III.53-5) πεπλυμένος μόλυβδος /peplyménos mólybdos/. According to Goltz (1972: 136-7) it is probably a greyish-black mixture of metallic lead and lead oxide.

Plumbum nigrum: lead and tin were often not distinguished before the 17th century but were seen as different manifestations of the same metal with plumbum nigrum being lead and plumbum candidum or album being tin.

For further information cf. Goltz (1972: 83f) et passim.

Wilf Gunther 08/12/13

See also: Abarum, Cazdir

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