Map of Ancient Arabia

Description

This map of the Arabian Peninsula, published in 1720, shows Arabia Felix, Arabia Deserta, and Arabia Petraea. Other regions included are Palestine, Mesopotamia, Chaldea, Persia, Aegyptus, and Aethiopia. A large number of towns are shown. The title cartouche includes nine vignette coins. The tribal and town names on the map are those used by Ptolemy. Some are used more than once, with variations. Thus “Indicara,” “Iacara,” “Ichara,” and “Aphana” all could indicate the same place: the spot where Alexander the Great intended to build a capital on an island in the Arabian Gulf, enabling him to control the trade of the region and extend his empire (a scheme that he was unable to accomplish before he died). Archeological research suggests that this place was Failakah Island in present-day Kuwait, although some historians place it at Abu Ali Island. The map shows a peninsula near present-day Bahrain. The islands of “Arathos” and “Thylaso” indicate Muharraq and Bahrain islands, respectively, which are actually located north of Qatar. On this map, they are placed on the Persian coast side, probably because the cartographer confused them with “Hormuz” and “Qishm.” Qatar is mentioned on the map as “Catara,” but its shape and location are not accurate. The map is by Christoph Weigel, a German engraver, art dealer, and publisher.

Last updated: June 17, 2014