Anaritius Nazirius the Trigonometrician

  December 16, 2023   Read time 1 min
Anaritius Nazirius the Trigonometrician
Abū’l-‘Abbās al-Faḍl ibn Ḥātim al-Nairīzī (Latin: Anaritius, Nazirius, c. 865 – c. 922) was a Persian mathematician and astronomer from Nayriz, now in Fars Province, Iran.

Little is known of al-Nairīzī, though his nisba refers to the town of Neyriz. He mentioned al-Mu'tadid, the Abbasid caliph, in his works, and so scholars have assumed that al-Nairīzī flourished in Baghdad during this period. Al-Nairīzī wrote a book for al-Mu'tadid on atmospheric phenomena. He died in c. 922.

Al-Nayrizi wrote a commentary to the translation in Arabic by Al-Ḥajjāj ibn Yūsuf ibn Maṭar of Euclid's Elements. Both the translation and the commentary have survived, as well as a 12th-century Latin translation by Gerard of Cremona. Al-Nayrizi's commentary contains unique extracts of two other commentaries on the Elements, produced by Hero of Alexandria and Simplicius of Cilicia.

Al-Nairīzī used the umbra (versa), the equivalent to the tangent, as a genuine trigonometric line, as did the Persian astronomer al-Marwazi before him. He gave a proof of the Pythagorean theorem using the Pythagorean tiling.

Al-Nayrizi gave a mathematical proof of the parallel postulate based on the assumption that parallel lines are equidistant. He wrote a treatise on an exact method for the numerical determination of the kibla and a text about a device for measuring the heights, widths, and depths.

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