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The Wonders of Creation
Zakarīyā ibn Muhammad al-Qazwīnī (circa 1203–83), was a distinguished Iranian scholar who was conversant in poetry, history, geography, and natural history. He served as legal expert and judge in several localities in Iran and at Baghdad. After traveling throughout Mesopotamia and Syria, he wrote his famous Arabic-language cosmography, 'Aja'eb ol-makhluqat wa qara'eb ol-mowjudat (The wonders of creation, or literally, Marvels of things created and miraculous aspects of things existing). This treatise, frequently illustrated, was immensely popular and is preserved today in many copies. It has been translated ...
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National Library and Archives of the Islamic Republic of Iran
Mappamundi
Little is known about the 15th-century Venetian geographer and cosmographer Giovanni Leardo, beyond the fact that three of his world maps have survived from late-medieval times, signed by their creator. This is the oldest world map held in the library of the American Geographical Society, and it is considered the finest example of a medieval mappamundi in the Western hemisphere. Leardo’s two other maps, similar but not identical, are in Italy, at the Biblioteca Comunale in Verona and the Museo Civico in Vicenza. The map depicts the parts of ...
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University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Libraries
Atlas of Battista Agnese
Battista Agnese (circa 1500–1564) was an Italian cartographer, born in Genoa, who worked in Venice between 1536 and 1564 and became one of the most important figures in Renaissance cartography. He created approximately 100 manuscript atlases, of which more than 70 are extant, either with his signature or attributed to his school. His atlases, which are considered works of art for their high quality and beauty, are mostly portolan, or nautical, atlases printed on vellum for high-ranking officials or wealthy merchants. This 1544 atlas contains 15 full-page illuminated plates ...
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National Library of Spain
The Meadows of Gold and Mines of Gems
Abu al-Hasan Ali ibn al-Husayn ibn Ali al-Mas'udi (circa 896–956 AD, 283–345 AH) was an Arab historian and geographer, known as the "Herodotus of the Arabs." He was one of the first scholars to combine history and scientific geography in a large-scale work. Muruj adh-dhahab wa ma'adin al-jawhar (The meadows of gold and mines of gems) is a book of world history that combines rewritten versions of two of al-Masudi’s earlier works. The first half of the book is of enormous value, although somewhat sprawling ...
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Bibliotheca Alexandrina
The Dictionary of Countries
Yaqut Al- Hamawi (from Hamah, Syria, 1179–1229 AD, 574–626 AH) was an Arab geographer of Greek origins. Born in Byzantium (the ancient Greek city also known as Constantinople, or present-day Istanbul), he was captured in war and enslaved. He was purchased by a Baghdad merchant, who gave him a good education and ultimately freed him. Yaqut traveled extensively in Egypt, Syria, Iraq, and Persia (present-day Iran). His Mu'jam al-Buldan (Dictionary of countries) is a vast geographical encyclopedia, which summarizes nearly all medieval knowledge of the globe. The ...
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Bibliotheca Alexandrina
The Wonders of Creation
This cosmography by Zakarīyā Ibn Muhammad al-Qazwīnī (circa 1203–83), Kitāb‘Ajā’ib al-makhlūqāt wa-gharā’ib al-mawjūdāt (The wonders of creation, or literally, Marvels of things created and miraculous aspects of things existing), enjoyed great popularity in the Arab world and was transmitted in numerous copies for centuries. This version at the Bavarian State Library in Munich, Germany, is undated, but a strikingly similar manuscript in the National Library of France bears the date 1762. The script, style, and color spectrum of the depictions suggest that both manuscripts were produced ...
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Bavarian State Library
The Wonders of Creation
Zakarīyā Ibn Muḥammad al-Qazwīnī (1203–83) spent most of his life in present-day Iran and Iraq and served as a judge in Wasit and Hilla, Iraq, during the reign of the last Abbasid caliph, Musta‘sim (1240–58). Al-Qazwīnī was also a geographer and natural historian, and known for his encyclopedic knowledge. This work, Kitāb ‘Ajā’ib al-makhlūqāt wa-gharā’ib al-mawjūdāt (The wonders of creation, or literally, Marvels of things created and miraculous aspects of things existing), probably was written in the sixth decade of the 13th century and is ...
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Bavarian State Library