Geography and cartography in medieval Islam
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After its beginnings in the 8th century based on Hellenistic geography, Islamic geography was patronized by the Abbasid caliphs of Baghdad. Various Islamic scholars contributed to its development, and the most notable include Al-Khwārizmī, Abū Zayd al-Balkhī (founder of the 'Balkhī school') and Abu Rayhan Biruni. Muslim geography reached its apex with Muhammad al-Idrisi in the 12th century. Later developments took place under Turks, particularly under the Ottoman Empire, with notable scholars such as Mahmud al-Kashgari and Piri Reis.
Islamic cartographers inherited Ptolemy's Almagest and Geographia in the 9th century which is said to have stimulated an interest in geography and map-making, however, they made almost no direct use of the latter in map-making. The way in which earlier knowledge reached Muslim scholars is crucial. For example, since Muslims inherited Greek writings directly without the influence of the Latin west, T-O maps play no role in Islamic cartography though popular in the European counterpart. Muslim scientists then made many of their own contributions to geography and the earth sciences.
Notes and references
- Alavi, S. M. Ziauddin (1965), Arab geography in the ninth and tenth centuries, Aligarh: Aligarh University Press
- Edson, Evelyn; Savage-Smith, Emilie (2004). Savage-Smith, Emilie, ed. Medieval Views of the Cosmos. Oxford: Bodleian Library. ISBN 978-1-85124-184-2.
- King, David A. (1983), "The Astronomy of the Mamluks", Isis 74 (4): 531–555, doi:10.1086/353360
- King, David A. (2002), "A Vetustissimus Arabic Text on the Quadrans Vetus", Journal for the History of Astronomy 33: 237–255
- King, David A. (December 2003), "14th-Century England or 9th-Century Baghdad? New Insights on the Elusive Astronomical Instrument Called Navicula de Venetiis", Centaurus 45 (1-4): 204–226, doi:10.1111/j.1600-0498.2003.450117.x
- King, David A. (2005), In Synchrony with the Heavens, Studies in Astronomical Timekeeping and Instrumentation in Medieval Islamic Civilization: Instruments of Mass Calculation, Brill Publishers, ISBN 90-04-14188-X
- McGrail, Sean (2004), Boats of the World, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-927186-0
- Mott, Lawrence V. (May 1991), The Development of the Rudder, A.D. 100-1337: A Technological Tale, Thesis, Texas A&M University
- Rashed, Roshdi; Morelon, Régis (1996), Encyclopedia of the History of Arabic Science, 1 & 3, Routledge, ISBN 0-415-12410-7
- Sezgin, Fuat (2000), Geschichte Des Arabischen Schrifttums X–XII: Mathematische Geographie und Kartographie im Islam und ihr Fortleben im Abendland, Historische Darstellung, Teil 1–3 (in German), Frankfurt am Main