Picatrix, a problem in translation

The Picatrix is an important manuscript with a thorny lineage. It was composed in Arabic, probably as a compilation | distillation of multiple texts before being translated (reputedly poorly [citation needed]) into Castilian and then into Latin. There is every likelihood that errors were compounded in the chain of translations, no matter how perfect the Arabic source might be.

Fast forward a few hundred years and there is a desire to have this important work available in English. While thoroughly understandable such efforts have relied on Latin sources when it would clearly be more desirable to have a translation from the original Arabic.

But here we are presented with a conundrum: while the Latin translation is certainly flawed (the only real question is to the extent), a translation from medieval Arabic requires a detailed knowledge of the medieval state and usage of Arabic — not exactly a common skill set.

There are two recent translations into English from the Latin and an attempt from the Arabic. The latter does not appear to be readily available and may only include the first two of the four books. Those from the Latin seem to be beset with their own problems.

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