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Lost Maps of the Caliphs

Format: Hardback
Publisher: Bodleian Library, United Kingdom
Published: 1st Feb 2019
Dimensions: w 154mm h 234mm d 27mm
Weight: 745g
ISBN-10: 1851244913
ISBN-13: 9781851244911
Barcode No: 9781851244911
About a millennium ago, in Cairo, someone completed a large and richly illustrated book. In the course of thirty-five chapters, our unknown author guided the reader on a journey from the outermost cosmos and planets to Earth and its lands, islands, features and inhabitants. This treatise, known as The Book of Curiosities, was unknown to modern scholars until a remarkable manuscript copy surfaced in 2000. Lost Maps of the Caliphs provides the first general overview of The Book of Curiosities and the unique insight it offers into medieval Islamic thought. Opening with an account of the remarkable discovery of the manuscript and its purchase by the Bodleian Library, the authors use The Book of Curiosities to re-evaluate the development of astrology, geography and cartography in the first four centuries of Islam. Early astronomical 'maps' and drawings demonstrate the medieval understanding of the structure of the cosmos and illustrate the pervasive assumption that almost any visible celestial event had an effect upon life on Earth. Lost Maps of the Caliphs also reconsiders the history of global communication networks at the turn of the previous millennium. Not only is The Book of Curiosities one of the greatest achievements of medieval map-making, it is also a remarkable contribution to the story of Islamic civilization.

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'This study is the first overview of a masterpiece of medieval mapmaking and Islamic civilisation.' * Apollo * "With its focus on eleventh-century Fatimid Cairo, 'Lost Maps of the Caliphs' reinterprets early Islamic apprehensions of the earth and the heavens, while reorienting our modern understanding of medieval Arabic mapmaking and its part in the transmission of Late Antique cartographic knowledge. A remarkable and important book of dazzling scholarship." -- Jerry Brotton * author of A History of the World in Twelve Maps * "The two authors, Savage-Smith on the heavens and Rapoport on the earth, explain 'The Book of Curiosities' with exemplary scholarship and lucidity. Like the manuscript itself, this companion volume vastly enhances our understanding of the classical Arabic worldview in all its rich complexity." -- Hugh N. Kennedy * SOAS, University of London * "'Lost Maps of the Caliphs' is organized along the lines of the original manuscript, and exceptionally well documented, using a dazzling range of sources in an equally dazzling range of languages. The result is totally fascinating, with untold potential to illuminate any treatment of the medieval world on any continent in the Eastern Hemisphere." -- Ingrid Rowland * University of Notre Dame *