Special Maps of Persia 1477-1925


This volume complements the best-seller and award-winning General Maps of Persia, praised by Dr. John Hébert, Chief of the Geography and Map Division of the Library of Congress: “This carefully researched work is a must have item in any collection of research materials on the history of cartography... I cannot wait for the arrival of subsequent volumes of further great scholarship and readable map reproductions on other detailed aspects of the history of mapping of Persia.”

Encouraged by numerous commending reviews in five languages – English, French, German, Persian and Armenian – and gratifying testimonials from many renowned authorities in the fields of ‘History of Cartography’ and ‘Iranian Studies’, Cyrus Alai continued his research and collected further material to produce the present volume: Special Maps of Persia, 1477-1925, covering every map of that region, other than general maps. Thus, it not only complements the General Maps of Persia, it is also a completely new volume in its own right and, providing an even closer insight into the region.

The book is divided into nine chapters: Historical Maps, District Maps, Frontier Maps, Town Maps, Political Maps etc. Like the preceding volume, it has a dual character, being both a carto-bibliography and a mapping history of Persia. It contains 761 map-entries, of which 409 are illustrated, mostly in colour. Concise related historical accounts precede every chapter and section, and essential historical notes are also supplied within many of the map entries.

Undoubtedly, this book is a treasure house not just for cartographers, but also historians, social historians, linguists and archaeologists.

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Cyrus Alai was born in Iran and received his Ph.D. degree (Dr.-Ing.) from ‘Die Technische Universität, Berlin-Charlottenburg’. He founded a group of engineering companies in Iran which he directed for twenty years, and he also lectured at the University of Teheran for eight years. Dr. Alai settled later in England, working as a consulting engineer and at the same time studying the history of cartography and collecting old maps of Persia. He has written numerous articles on ‘the cartography of Persia’ and ‘the traditional cartography of classical Islamic societies’, including the entry ‘Geography: Cartography of Persia’ for the Encyclopaedia Iranica. His book General Maps of Persia was published by Brill in 2005.
“[…] a scholarly tour de force whose formal nature masks a more personal quality[…]. For those who know and love Iran, the work achieves a surprising degree of what, for want of a more precise term, must be called intimacy. To see quarters or maidans or avenues or bridges that one has known, walked, even inhabited, is a powerful thing. This may give the book an appeal beyond the strictly scholarly, perhaps among the several million persons in the Iranian diaspora around the world.” Bert Johnson, THE PORTOLAN, Journal of the Washington Map Society, issue 80, Spring 2011.

“The care and effort used for identifying these maps, and the related historical, geographical, linguistic and, when applicable, archaeological information, contained in the two volumes, have made them a necessary tool for any historical, geographical and some other scientific, research works in the field of Iranian Studies. […] Producing and publishing of these volumes have been a unique and major scientific event which can hardly be described in words. One should see them to appreciate their high value and importance.”
Prof. Dr. Ehsan Yarshater in Iran-Nameh. A Persian quarterly of Iranian Studies 26.3-4 (2011), pp. 224-231.
Special Abbreviations

Chapter One: Historical Maps
Section One: The Ancient (Pre-Islamic) Periods in General
Section Two: Median Period
Section Three: Achaemenid Period
Section Four: Alexander Campaign and Seleucid Period
Section Five: Parthian (Arsacids) and Sasanian Periods
Section Six: Pre-Safavid Islamic Period

Chapter Two: District Maps
Section One: Azerbaijan, Northwest Persia
Section Two: Baluchistan and Sistan, Southeast Persia
Section Three: Fars, South Persia
Section Four: Gilan, North Persia
Section Five: Khorasan, East Persia
Section Six: Southwest Persia: Kurdistan, Bakhtiari Mountains, Luristan, Khuzistan and Southwest Persia
Section Seven: West Persia

Chapter Three: Caspian Sea and its Persian Shores

Chapter Four: Persian Gulf, Persian Shores and Islands
Section One: The Persian Gulf
Section Two: Persian Shores, Parts of the Persian Gulf, and Gulf of Oman
Section Three: The Persian Islands

Chapter Five: Frontier Maps
Section One: Western Frontiers
Section Two: Northern Frontiers
Section Three: Eastern Frontiers

Chapter Six: Route Maps

Chapter Seven: Town Maps, Historical Sites
Collection of Towns: Ardebil, Bampur, Bandar Abbas, Bisotun, Bushehr, Hamadan, Hormoz, Isfahan: City of Isfahan, Meydan-i-Shah, Other Important Monuments; Izad-Khvast, Jolfa, Kashan, Kerman, Kermanshah, Mashhad, Persepolis, Qazvin, Qom, Qomsheh, Rey, Sarakhs, Sarpol-i-Zahab, Saveh, Shiraz, Soltanieh, Tabriz, Teheran, Yazd, Historical Sites

Chapter Eight: Political, Transport/Communication, and Tribal Maps
Section One: Political and Military Maps
Section Two: Transport, Communication and Economic Maps
Section Three: Tribal Maps

Chapter Nine: Natural-Topographical and Geological Maps
Section One: Rivers
Section Two: Lakes and Salt Plains
Section Three: Mountains and Cross-Sections
Section Four: Geological Maps

List of Consulted Map Collections
List of Plates
Chronological Index of Map Entries
Index of Personal and Institutional Names
Index of Geographical Names
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