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Type of Item
The Near East
This 1952 map by the Army Map Service of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers provides a broad overview of the Near East, the geographic region traditionally thought of as encompassing the countries of southwest Asia, including Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Israel, and Jordan, and the countries of the Arabian Peninsula. In addition to political borders, the map shows lakes, rivers, and other bodies of water, marshlands, cities by population, pipelines, railroads, and pumping stations. Above the key is a glossary of topographic terms with transliterations and translations into ...
Map of Northern Arabia: in Illustration of Lady Anne Blunt’s Journeys
This map shows the routes of two Arabian journeys taken in the late 1870s by Lady Anne Blunt (1837–1917) and her husband, the poet Wilfrid Scawen Blunt (1840–1922). Lady Anne was a skilled equestrienne and horse breeder, who purchased Arabian horses from Bedouin tribesmen, which she then had transported back to England. Her work did much to establish the Arabian breed in Britain. In 1878, Lady Anne journeyed from Beirut, across northern Syria, and south through Mesopotamia to Baghdad. From there she traveled north along the Tigris River ...
Map of Persia, Turkey in Asia: Afghanistan, Beloochistan
Samuel Augustus Mitchell (1792–1868) was a renowned American geographer and cartographer. The majority of his work focused on the United States, but he also made maps of other parts of the world, including this 1868 map of the Ottoman Empire, Persia (present-day Iran), Afghanistan, and Baluchistan. The main territorial units that Mitchell shows are Turkey, meaning the core of the Ottoman Empire comprised of present-day Turkey, Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon; Persia; Afghanistan; and Baluchistan (mainly present-day Pakistan). Egypt and much of the Arabian Peninsula were at that time technically ...
Persia, Arabia, et cetera
This map appeared in A New Universal Atlas, published in 1846 by Henry Schenck Tanner, an early American geographer and cartographer. This map shows the political and geographic features of the Arabian Peninsula, using the traditional divisions of Arabia Petraea, Arabia Deserta, and Arabia Felix. Also shown are the region of the Hedjaz with the cities of Mecca and Medina, and Al-Dahna (present-day Kuwait and southern Iraq). The key in the bottom right differentiates between capitals, important towns, and smaller towns by means of starred and shaded circles. The boundaries ...
The Eastern Question in Europe and Asia
In the late-19th century, European politics were troubled by what had come to be called the “Eastern Question,” the fate of the 600-year Ottoman Empire. Once encompassing the Ottoman heartland of Anatolia (present-day Turkey), most of the Arab Middle East, and the Balkan Peninsula, by 1886 the empire had shrunk dramatically as a result of wars with European powers, Russia in particular, and revolts by subject peoples. This 1886 map, published in London, shows the Turkish Empire as comprised mainly of Albania, Thrace, Crete, Anatolia, and parts of the Arab ...
Persia, Arabia, Tartary, Afghanistan
This map by Thomas Gamaliel Bradford (1802–87), depicting parts of the Middle East and Central Asia, appeared in Bradford’s A Comprehensive Atlas: Geographical, Historical & Commercial, which was published in Boston in 1835. Bradford was born in Boston of a distinguished New England family. He made maps of both U.S. states and foreign countries and became the assistant editor of the Encyclopedia Americana, the first significant encyclopedia produced in the United States. The map uses colored lines to delineate the boundaries of the Persian Empire, Afghanistan, Arabia, and ...
The Euphrates Valley: Syria, Kurdistan, et cetera
This early 20th-century British map depicts the Euphrates Valley, a region that includes parts of present-day Iraq, Iran, Turkey, and Syria. Also shown is the northern part of the Arabian Peninsula. The map indicates railroads, both existing and projected, and the route of submarine telegraph cables. The vilayets (administrative provinces) of the Ottoman Empire in Syria, Mesopotamia, Palestine and southern Anatolia are marked by red lines. A dotted line running across Persia (present-day Iran) from west to east is labeled “Southern limit of Russian sphere.” Under the Anglo-Russian Convention of ...
Map of the River Jordan and Dead Sea: And the Route of the Party Under the Command of Lieutenant W.F. Lynch, United States Navy
In 1847-48, Lt. William Francis Lynch of the U.S. Navy led a 16-man expedition to explore the Dead Sea and the course of the River Jordan to its source, with the assent of the Secretary of the Navy John Y. Mason and the support of the United States Naval Hydrographic Office. The United States had no formal designs on territory in the Middle East, but personally Lynch found the Holy Land ripe for colonization and commerce. Upon his return, he published accounts of the expedition and lectured on the ...
The Holy Land or Promised Land (Formerly Palestine), Recently Depicted and Published
Nicolaus (also spelled Nicolas, Nicolaes) Visscher was the son of a Dutch master painter and mapmaker, Claes Janszoon Visscher, and was known for the exquisite artistry of the maps he produced. In the 16th and 17th centuries the Dutch were involved in a race against Portugal for control of the spice trade. The antipathy between the two states ran especially deep because of the alliance of Portugal with the Kingdom of Spain, with whom the Dutch had been embroiled in the Eighty Years' War (1566-1648). Only one year before the ...
A Voyage to the East Indies: Containing Authentic Accounts of the Mogul Government in General, the Viceroyalties of the Decan and Bengal, with Their Several Subordinate Dependencies
This two-volume work is the third edition of a book first published as a single volume in 1757, expanded to two volumes in 1766, and republished in 1772. The author, John Henry Grose (active 1750-83), was born in England and went to Bombay (present-day Mumbai) in March 1750, to work as a servant and writer for the British East India Company. The book contains Grose’s descriptions of 18th-century India, including his account of the war of 1756-63, in which the British East India Company largely eliminated France as a ...
Making the Beautiful Inlaid Pearlwork of the Orient, Damascus, Syria
This early-20th century photograph, taken in Damascus by William H. Rau, depicts men, women, and children in a crowded workshop making what Rau described as “inlaid pearlwork” furniture. The workshops of Damascus were famed for this intricate craft, which features geometrical designs of alternating pieces of mother of pearl and polished wood. Rau was an American photographer best known for his images of railroads and American landscapes. He first traveled to the Near East in 1882 for a six-month journey with publisher Edward L. Wilson.
Third Class Carriage, Sultan's Railway, Syria
Railway construction in the Ottoman Empire began in the mid-19th century, generally with European financing and supervision in the context of Great Power rivalry. By the early 20th century, railways had become a major mode of transportation in the Near East. This stereo-view image from around 1908 depicts men seated in a railroad car, some wearing traditional dress, others in Western dress with fezzes. The producer of the image was the Stereo Travel Company of Corona, Long Island, New York, a small firm active in the early years of the ...
At Prayer in the Mosque, Damascus, Syria
This card from around 1908 depicts Muslim men at prayer in the Great Umayyad Mosque of Damascus (Jāmi' al-Umawī al-Kabīr). Constructed in the eighth century on the site of earlier places of worship, the mosque is a site of spiritual significance to both Sunni and Shi’a Muslims. It is also said to house the head of John the Baptist. The card is a “stereo view,” produced by the Stereo Travel Company of Corona, Long Island, New York, which was active in the early years of the 20th century. Popular ...
Damascus. The Great Mosque and View of Damascus.
This photograph by the firm of Maison Bonfils depicts the Great Umayyad Mosque of Damascus (Jāmi' al-Umawī al-Kabīr) as it appeared in the late 19th century. Constructed in the eighth century on the site of earlier places of worship, the mosque is a site of spiritual significance to both Sunni and Shi’a Muslims. It also is said to house the head of John the Baptist. Maison Bonfils was the extraordinarily prolific venture of the French photographer Félix Bonfils (1831-85), his wife Marie-Lydie Cabanis Bonfils (1837-1918), and their son, Adrien ...
Sixth Map of Asia
Several editions of Ptolemy’s Geographia (Geography), translated into Latin from the original Greek, were published in Europe in the 15th century. This map is from the 1478 edition, which was published in Rome. Ptolemaic atlases included 12 maps of Asia. The “Sixth Map of Asia” covered the Arabian Peninsula. The outlines of this map are crude, but many geographic features, including the Red Sea, the Indian Ocean, and different features of the peninsula are clearly recognizable.
The Benefits from Knowing the Basics and Rules of Seafaring
This work is a collection of eight treatises related to the science of seafaring and navigation by Ibn Mājid al-Julfārī al-Sa‘dī, the most renowned Muslim navigator of the 15th century (9th century AH). It was originally assembled in 1490. The works are bound together in one large tome and include information about the Indian Ocean, the Red Sea, the Persian Gulf, the Arabian Sea, and other major bodies of water known to the author. The work meticulously lists and describes sea routes, harbors, and other points of interest to ...
Report of the Commission Entrusted by the Council with the Study of the Frontier between Syria and Iraq
After World War I, the victorious Allied and Associated Powers agreed to place various territories that had been detached from the defeated German and Ottoman empires under League of Nations mandates. Palestine, Iraq, and Transjordan were assigned to Britain, Syria and Lebanon to France. The Franco-British Convention of December 23, 1920 established the border between Syria and Iraq in general terms, but called for a definitive demarcation of the frontier to be carried out by an Anglo-French Boundary Commission. Under these agreements, a Commission Entrusted with the Study of the ...
This text is an Arabic translation of a Christian work originally written in Greek in the 11th century, known as the Pandect (or Pandektes) of Nikon of the Black Mountain. The Greek title of the book means The Universal (Book). The Arabic title, Al-Ḥāwī, has almost the same meaning: The Comprehensive Book. The text is divided into 63 sections and offers an exposition of Christian doctrine and life based on excerpts from the Bible, the church fathers, and church canons. The work was popular among Arabic-speaking Christians, as evidenced by ...
Commentary on Song of Songs; Letter on the Soul; Letter on Ascesis and the Monastic Life
This 14th-century manuscript is a collection of translations into Arabic. At the beginning is the Commentary on the Song of Songs, originally in Greek, by Gregory of Nyssa (died 394), brother of Basil the Great and, with him and Gregory of Nazianzus, one of the three so-called Cappadocian Fathers. Next comes one of the many pieces of philosophy in Arabic attributed to Hermes the Sage, A Letter on the Soul. The manuscript concludes with a letter of Isaac of Nineveh (active, end of the seventh century) on asceticism and monasticism ...
Five Doctrinal Works
This 17th-century manuscript is a collection of five doctrinal works translated into Arabic from Greek. Three of the works are by John of Damascus (died circa 750): On the Orthodox Faith, Dialectics, and Against the Heretics. John of Damascus was often read in both Greek and Arabic (he himself was bilingual, although he wrote only in Greek). The other two texts are by the monk, Paul of Antioch, Bishop of Sidon in the 13th century. They are a letter entitled That the Creator is One and that Christians are not ...
The Savior from Demise: A Book on Withstanding the Harms of Deadly Poisons
The study of poisons and their remedies has played an important role in the Islamic medical tradition since the first century of the Hijra, and mention of the treatment of poisoning is already found in the hadith. The major Arabic medical encyclopedias—al-Rāzī's Kitāb Al-Manṣūrī and Al-Ḥāwī fī al-Ṭibb and Avicenna's Canon—included chapters on poisons in the early tenth and early 11th centuries. Famous authors such as Jābir ibn Ḥayyān (circa 721–815) and Moses Maimonides (the Jewish philosopher, theologian, and physician whose medical ...