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Al-Zaura, No. 422, February 28, 1874
Al-Zaura was the brainchild of the pro-Western, progressive Ottoman wali (governor) of Iraq, Midhat Pasha (reigned 1869–72). He established the newspaper when he brought with him from Paris a printing press, the first in Iraq, upon his assignment to Baghdad in 1869. Al-Zaura’s name was taken from a nickname for Baghdad, literally meaning a bend or curve, as the city sits within a wide bend of the Tigris River. The paper is arguably the most important source on Iraq’s history during the last 50 years of the ...
Al-Iraq, Number 1, June 1, 1920
Al-Iraq was a daily newspaper focusing on politics, literature, and the economy, first published in Baghdad on June 1, 1920. Owned by Razzuq Dawood Ghannam, the paper showed an independent editorial streak from its first few issues. Throughout its existence, it recorded the political, social, and economic history of Iraq and was considered the first and last source for news on national issues and causes. The paper did not represent the rising nationalistic, anticolonial elite, but it was pan-Iraqist in orientation and counted among its staff a number of young ...
The Archaeological Map of Iraq
The world’s first civilizations grew up in the fertile valley between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, the region of the Middle East long known as Mesopotamia (from the Greek meaning 'between two rivers'), that roughly corresponds to the territory of present-day Iraq. These ancient civilizations included Sumer, the Babylonian Empire, and the Assyrian Empire. This modern map produced by the Directorate General of Antiquities of Iraq shows the locations of archaeological sites and rock monuments in the country. The table at the lower left lists chronological periods from 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 ...
This calligraphic fragment includes verses 10-11 of the 48th chapter of the Qur'an, entitled Surat al-Fath (Victory). This surah dates from the Medinan period and contains 29 verses. It describes how triumph comes from courage, faith, and patience if the believer stays true to God: anyone who violates His [God's] oath, does so to the harm of his own soul, and anyone who fulfils what he has convenanted with God, God will soon grant him a reward (48:10). The text is executed in Kufi script with black ...
This calligraphic fragment includes verses 85-88 of the 6th chapter of the Qur'an entitled Surat al-An'am (The Cattle). This late Meccan surah describes the nature of God and how He reveals Himself. Verses 85-88 in particular describe a number of prophets such as Jesus, Elias, and Jonah as capable of guiding believers to the "straight path" (al-sirat al-mustaqim). The text is executed in Kufi script in black ink, at six lines per page, surrounded by a gold painted frame. Verses on the fragment's recto have worn off ...
Map of Persia and Adjacent Countries, for Sir John Malcolm's History of Persia
Sir John Malcolm (1769-1833) was a British soldier, colonial administrator, diplomat, linguist, and historian. He was born in Scotland, left school at age 12, and, through an uncle, secured a position in the East India Company. While stationed in various parts of India as an officer in the company’s military forces, he became interested in foreign languages, which he studied diligently. He became fluent in Persian and, over the years, served as an interpreter and British envoy to Persia in various capacities. In 1815, he published his History of ...
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.
Layla, Issue 1, October 15, 1923
Layla was the first women's magazine to be published in Iraq. Launched in 1923, the magazine dealt with new and useful matters related to science, art, literature, sociology, and in particular to child-rearing and the education of girls, family health, and other matters pertaining to home economics. The establishment of national rule in Iraq was followed by the emergence of several magazines and newspapers dealing with women's issues. Layla marked the beginnings of the women's press in Iraq, and the magazine is credited with being one of ...
The Coast of Arabia the Red Sea, and Persian Sea of Bassora Past the Straits of Hormuz to India, Gujarat and Cape Comorin
This 1707 map of the Arabian Peninsula and adjacent regions is the work of Pieter van der Aa (1659-1733), a Dutch publisher and bookseller based in Leiden who specialized in reissuing maps acquired from earlier mapmakers. The map appears to be based on an earlier Portuguese work, and uses a mix of Dutch, Latin, and Portuguese for titles and place names. The map covers only the eastern and central parts of the peninsula, which is shaped differently than shown on many other maps. The map shows four rivers on the ...
A Drawing (with a Western Perspective) of the East Indies from the Promontory of Good Hope to Cape Comorin
This portolan map by the Dutch engraver, publisher, and map seller Frederick de Wit (1629 or 1630-1706) shows the Indian Ocean from the Cape of Good Hope to the west coast of India (Malabar). The map was first published in 1675 and was reprinted in 1715. It is oriented with east at the top. Kishm is placed in the present-day United Arab Emirates (UAE) and repeated as “Quaro” and “Quiximi.” The shape of the Arabian or Persian Gulf differs from that shown on other maps. There is a big island ...
Sixth Map of Asia: Which Includes Arabia Felix, Carmania, and the Persian Gulf
This map from Ptolemy’s Geographia was published in 1578 and reprinted on many occasions between 1584 and 1704. It is much more finely engraved than maps in previous Ptolemy editions. The map mentions several places in present-day Qatar (Abucei, Leaniti, Themi, Asateni, and Aegei). Names added to this edition of the map include Mesmites Sinus, Idicar, and a second Idicar, located in present-day Kuwait. This name is similar to the island of “Ichara” found near Magorum Sinus. Contemporary research has confirmed that Kharj is the island known to the ...
A Chart of the Coast of Arabia, the Red Sea and Persian Gulf, Drawn from the Chart of the Eastern Ocean
This English map is a reprinting, with slight changes, of an earlier French map published in 1740 by order of Jean-Frédéric Phélypeaux, Count de Maurepas (1701-81), secretary of state under King Louis XV. The map was drawn from an earlier chart of the Eastern Ocean, “improv’d from particular surveys and regulated by astronomical observations.” This English edition of the de Maurepas map has a different title cartouche. The “Remarks” section at the lower right gives abbreviations for physical features on the map, and notes: “ A Stroke under ye Name ...
Map of the Coast of Arabia, the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf
This 1740 map is by the French cartographer and hydrographer Jacques-Nicolas Bellin (1703-72). It was published by order of Jean-Frédéric Phélypeaux, Count de Maurepas (1701-81), secretary of state under King Louis XV. The map focuses exclusively on the coastlines, and provides no detail about the interior of the Arabian Peninsula. It shows pearl banks along the coast from Bahrain to Julfar. Qatar is noted (“Katara”), but the peninsula that it occupies is not accurately drawn. Kuwait is not shown, but the island of “Peleche” is indicated. The Red Sea is ...
This 1662 Latin map of Arabia is a copy of an earlier map by Willem Janszoon Blaeu (1571-1638), the founder of the Blaeu cartographic firm. It is one of the first maps to show internal features of the Arabian Peninsula. Mountains are depicted, oases denoted by trees, and points used to indicate pearl deposits in the Arabian Gulf. The map uses dotted lines to show international borders. The Red Sea is denoted by three Latin names: Mare Rubrum (Red Sea), Mare Mecca (Sea of Mecca), and Sinus Arabicus (Gulf of ...
This map of 1616, with Latin place names, is a reprint of a work by Jodocus Hondius (1563-1612), a Flemish cartographer and engraver who settled in Amsterdam in about 1593 and established a business that produced globes and the first large maps of the world. The place names on the map are unclear. “Coromanis” is shown on many older maps as located in present-day Kuwait, but here is shown as lying beyond “Catiffa,” or Al Qatif. “Luna,” on the coastal belt of the Arabian Gulf, could be Ras Tanurah, located ...
This 1616 map is a reprint of a map originally published in 1598 by Jodocus Hondius (1563-1612), a Flemish cartographer and engraver who settled in Amsterdam in about 1593 and established a business that produced globes and the first large maps of the world. The map covers the territory from west of the Gulf of Suez to the eastern side of the Arabian Peninsula, and from the mouth of the Euphrates River to Aden. The only cities indicated on the western coast of the Persian or Arabian Gulf are Qatar ...
A Current and Correct Depiction of Arabia Felix, Arabia Petraea, and Arabia Deserta
This map from 1658 was published by Johannes Janssonius (1588-1664), or Jan Jansson. Jansson was born in Arnhem, the son of Jan Jansson the Elder, a publisher and bookseller. Jansson’s maps are similar to those of Willem Janszoon Blaeu (1571-1638), the founder of the Blaeu cartographic firm, and Jansson is sometimes accused of copying from his rival, but many of his maps predate those of Blaeu or cover different regions. This map is very similar to an earlier Blaeu map. The map shows more rivers on the Arabian Peninsula ...
Map of Ancient Arabia
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 ...
Flowers of Abu Ma'shar
Ja‘far ibn Muḥammad al-Balkhī (787–886), known as Abū Ma‘shar, lived in Baghdad in the 9th century. Originally an Islamic scholar of the Hadith (the prophetic traditions of Muhammad) and a contemporary of the famous philosopher al-Kindī, Abu Ma’shar developed an interest in astrology at the relatively late age of 47. He became the most important and prolific writer on astrology in the Middle Ages. His discourses incorporated and expanded upon the studies of earlier scholars of Islamic, Persian, Greek, and Mesopotamian origin. His works were translated ...
Introduction to Astronomy, Containing the Eight Divided Books of Abu Ma'shar Abalachus
Ja‘far ibn Muḥammad al-Balkhī (787–886), known as Abū Ma‘shar, lived in Baghdad in the 9th century. Originally an Islamic scholar of the Hadith (the prophetic traditions of Muhammad) and a contemporary of the famous philosopher al-Kindī, Abū Ma‘shar developed an interest in astrology at the relatively late age of 47. He became the most important and prolific writer on astrology in the Middle Ages. His discourses incorporated and expanded upon the studies of earlier scholars of Islamic, Persian, Greek, and Mesopotamian origin. His works were translated ...