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Aḥsan al-taqāsīm fī maʿrifat al-aqālīm by al-Muqaddasī

Descriptio imperii Moslemici / auctore Schamso ’d-din Abu Abdollah Mohammed ibn Ahmed ibn abi Bekr al-Banna al-Basschari al-Mokaddasi. M.J. de Goeje’s Classic Edition (1877)

Edited by M.J. de Goeje

Shams al-Dīn Abū ʿAbdallāh Muḥammad b. Aḥmad b. Abī Bakr al-Bannāʾ al-Shāmī al-Muqaddasī is one of the most prominent representatives of Arabic geography in the second half of the 10th century CE. Building on the tradition of the “atlas of Islam” of which al-Iṣṭakhrī and Ibn Ḥawqal were also representatives, al-Muqaddasī was the first to systematize the subject into a proper science of geography of Islam for the benefit of both merchants and the cultivated man. Al-Muqaddasī’s Aḥsan al-taqāsīm fī maʿrifat al-aqālīm (“the best division for the knowledge of the provinces”) was the first work of its kind to be accepted as a form of literature. The treatment of each “province” ( iqlīm) begins with the division of its districts and towns, followed by their description. Then a general chapter of the province tends to discuss the following aspects: climate, products and specialties, waters, mines, mountains, holy places, money, taxes, weights and measures, customs, marvels, calendar, political power, factions, schools and Qurʾānic readings, and routes. Aḥsan al-taqāsīm fī maʿrifat al-aqālīm by al-Muqaddasī covers North Africa (including Iberia), Egypt, the Arabian Peninsula, Greater Syria, Iraq and Upper Mesopotamia, as well as eight non-Arab provinces including Iran and Afghanistan.

Aḥsan al-taqāsīm fī maʿrifat al-aqālīm by al-Muqaddasī

Descriptio imperii Moslemici / auctore Schamso ’d-din Abu Abdollah Mohammed ibn Ahmed ibn abi Bekr al-Banna al-Basschari al-Mokaddasi. The Second Edition (1906) by M.J. de Goeje

Edited by M.J. de Goeje

This is the second edition by M.J. de Goeje of the Arabic text of al-Muqaddasī’s Aḥsan al-taqāsīm fī maʿrifat al-aqālīm, the first BGA edition of which was published in 1877 by the same editor.

Shams al-Dīn Abū ʿAbdallāh Muḥammad b. Aḥmad b. Abī Bakr al-Bannāʾ al-Shāmī al-Muqaddasī is one of the most prominent representatives of Arabic geography in the second half of the 10th century CE. Building on the tradition of the “atlas of Islam” of which al-Iṣṭakhrī and Ibn Ḥawqal were also representatives, al-Muqaddasī was the first to systematize the subject into a proper science of geography of Islam for the benefit of both merchants and the cultivated man. Al-Muqaddasī’s Aḥsan al-taqāsīm fī maʿrifat al-aqālīm (“the best division for the knowledge of the provinces”) was the first work of its kind to be accepted as a form of literature. The treatment of each “province” ( iqlīm) begins with the division of its districts and towns, followed by their description. Then a general chapter of the province tends to discuss the following aspects: climate, products and specialties, waters, mines, mountains, holy places, money, taxes, weights and measures, customs, marvels, calendar, political power, factions, schools and Qurʾānic readings, and routes. Aḥsan al-taqāsīm fī maʿrifat al-aqālīm by al-Muqaddasī covers North Africa (including Iberia), Egypt, the Arabian Peninsula, Greater Syria, Iraq and Upper Mesopotamia, as well as eight non-Arab provinces including Iran and Afghanistan.

Kitāb al-Masālik wa l-mamālik by Abū Isḥāq al-Iṣṭakhrī

Viae regnorum: descriptio ditionis Moslemicae / auctore Abu Ishák al-Fárisí al-Istakhrí. M.J. De Goeje's Classic Edition (1870)

Edited by M.J. de Goeje

Little is known about the life of Abū Isḥāq Ibrāhīm b. Muḥammad al-Iṣṭakhrī, the author of Kitāb al-Masālik wa l-mamālik, which was written towards the end of the first half of the 10th century CE. The work built on the earlier concept of the “atlas of Islam”, which it developed further. The climates ( iqlīm) it describes are no longer those of Ptolemean geography, but, reflecting the Iranian tradition, refer to geographical entities or “countries”. Also reflecting the author’s background—whose most common nisba is al-Fārisī—Iran holds a favoured position on this work. Published in 1870, the present edition by M.J. de Goeje was the first volume in the first series of the Bibliotheca Geographorum Arabicorum.

Kitāb Ṣūrat al-arḍ by Abū l-Qāsim Ibn Ḥawqal

Viae et regna: descriptio ditionis Moslemicae / auctore Abu ’l-Kásim Ibn Haukal. M.J. de Goeje’s Classic Edition (1873)

Edited by M.J. de Goeje

The journeys of Abū l-Qāsim Ibn Ḥawqal, who might have been a merchant, took him to North Africa, Spain and the southern edge of the Sahara (947-51), Egypt, Armenia and Azerbaijan (c. 955), the Arabian Peninsula, Iraq, Khuzistan, and Iran (961-69), Khwarazm and Transoxania (c. 969), and Sicily (973). By about 988 CE the final version of Ibn Ḥawqal’s Kitāb Ṣūrat al-arḍ was ready. It is effectively both a continuation and an update of al-Iṣṭakhrī’s Kitāb al-Masālik wa-l-mamālik and is also known under that same title.

Ibn Ḥawqal transformed what was meant as a commentary on a series of maps into a work in its own right, which also included remarks on various countries or peoples bordering on the Islamic world, e.g. the Turks, the Khazars, the towns of southern Italy, the Sudanese and the Nubians. Although he owed much to al-Iṣṭakhrī’s work, Ibn Ḥawqal aimed to place the text firmly within his own period. He took great care to depict a region precisely in the state and at the date that he himself had seen it, with occasional references to the distant or more recent past. This is particularly true of the notes on economic matters, which form a complete break with convention. Ibn Ḥawqal was the only Arab geographer of the period who really sketched a vivid picture of production.

Ibn Ḥawqal’s Kitāb Ṣūrat al-arḍ

Opus geographicum / Abu al-Kasim Ibn Haukal al-Nasibi. The Second Edition (1938-39) by J.H. Kramers

Edited by J.H. Kramers

This is the second edition by J.H. Kramers of the Arabic text of Ibn Ḥawqal’s Kitāb Ṣūrat al-arḍ, the first BGA edition of which was published in 1873.

The journeys of Abū l-Qāsim Ibn Ḥawqal, who might have been a merchant, took him to North Africa, Spain and the southern edge of the Sahara (947-51), Egypt, Armenia and Azerbaijan (c. 955), the Arabian Peninsula, Iraq, Khuzistan, and Iran (961-69), Khwarazm and Transoxania (c. 969), and Sicily (973). By about 988 CE the final version of Ibn Ḥawqal’s Kitāb Ṣūrat al-arḍ was ready. It is effectively both a continuation and an update of al-Iṣṭakhrī’s Kitāb al-Masālik wa l-mamālik and is also known under that same title.

Ibn Ḥawqal transformed what was meant as a commentary on a series of maps into a work in its own right, which also included remarks on various countries or peoples bordering on the Islamic world, e.g. the Turks, the Khazars, the towns of southern Italy, the Sudanese and the Nubians. Although he owed much to al-Iṣṭakhrī’s work, Ibn Ḥawqal aimed to place the text firmly within his own period. He took great care to depict a region precisely in the state and at the date that he himself had seen it, with occasional references to the distant or more recent past. This is particularly true of the notes on economic matters, which form a complete break with convention. Ibn Ḥawqal was the only Arab geographer of the period who really sketched a vivid picture of production.

Indices, Glossary and Additions & Corrections to BGA I vols.1-3

Indices, glossarium et addenda et emendanda ad part I-III. Compiled by M.J. de Goeje (1879)

Edited by M.J. de Goeje

This volume, which was originally published in 1879, contains the indices compiled by M.J. de Goeje to his critical text editions of al-Iṣṭakhrī’s Kitāb al-Masālik wa-l-mamālik (BGA I:1), Ibn Ḥawqal’s Kitāb Ṣūrat al-arḍ (BGA I:2) and al-Muqaddasī’s Aḥsan al-taqāsīm fī maʿrifat al-aqālīm (BGA I:3). It also includes his Arabic-Latin glossary to these works, and additions and corrections.

al-Masʿūdī’s Kitāb al-Tanbīh wa l-ishrāf

Kitab al-Tanbih wa-al-israf / li-Abi al-Hasan Ali b. al-Husayn al-Masudi. M.J. de Goeje’s Classic Edition (1894) with Indices and Glossary to BGA I: 7–8

Edited by M.J. de Goeje

Al-Masʿūdī composed his Kitāb al-Tanbīh wal-ishrāf in the years 955 and 956, finishing it not long before his death. Based in part on earlier historical-geographical works, it offers a description of astronomical and meteorological phenomena; the divisions of the earth; the seas; ancient nations; universal chronology, and then the history of Islam until the caliphate of al-Muṭīʿ (r. 946-74).

Mukhtaṣar Kitāb al-Buldān by Ibn al-Faqīh al-Hamadhānī

Muktasar kitab al-buldan / talif Abi Bakr Ahmad Ibn Muhammad al-Hamadani al-maruf bi-Ibn al-Faqih. M.J. de Goeje’s Classic Edition (1885) with Index and Glossary

Edited by M.J. de Goeje

Ibn al-Faqīh was the Iranian author of a Geography in Arabic entitled Kitāb al-buldan written around the year 903. The original work is lost, but the abridged version, possibly composed around 1022, has survived in a handful of manuscripts. Only three manuscripts were known during De Goeje’s life and he used them all for his edition, which was originally published in 1885. Its introduction includes a summary of Ibn Faqīh’s life on the basis of the classical sources by De Goeje. Ibn al-Faqīh’s Kitāb al-buldan offers geographical and historical details not found in other sources, and it was in itself an important source for later works, for example by Muqaddasī and Yāqūt.

Ibn Khurradādhbih’s Kitāb al-Masālik wa l-Mamālik and part of the Kitāb al-Kharāj by Qudāma ibn Jaʿfar

Liber viarum et regnorum / auctore Abu al-Kasim Obaidallah ibn Abdallah ibn Khordadhbeh; et excerpta e Kitab al-karrag auctore Kodama ibn Dja’far. M.J. de Goeje’s Classic Editions (1889) with Indices and Glossary

Edited by M.J. de Goeje

Abu ’l-Qāsim ʿUbayd Allāh b. ʿAbd Allāh Ibn Khurradādhbih (d. c. 911 CE) is one of the earliest geographical writers in Arabic whose writings have survived more or less in their original form. The Kitāb al-Masālik wa l-mamālik (‘The book of itineraries and kingdoms’) made his reputation. In this edition, Ibn Khurradādhbih’s geographical text is published alongside an excerpt from Qudāma Ibn Jaʿfar’s Kitāb al-Kharāj, which relied on the same sources as Ibn Khurradādhbih. Qudāma b. Jaʿfar was a prominent philologist and historian who died between 940 and 948 CE.

Ibn Rusta’s Kitāb al-Aʿlāq al-nafisa and Kitāb al-Buldān by al-Yaʿqūbī

Kitab al-Alaq al-nafisa / tasnif Abi Ali Ahmad b. Umar b. Rusta. Kitab al-buldan / tasnif Ahmad b. Abi Yaqub b. Wadih al-Katib al-maruf bi-al-Yaqubi. M.J. de Goeje’s Classic Editions (1892)

Edited by M.J. de Goeje

Abu ʿAlī Aḥmad b. ʿUmar Ibn Rusta was born in Isfahan at an unknown date and he flourished in the first decade of the 10th century CE. Only the seventh volume of his Kitāb al-Aʿlāq al-nafīsa has survived. The work deals with mathematical, descriptive and human geography and a variety of historical and other subjects. One of his sources seems to have been a more complete version of Ibn Khurradādhbih, which has not survived. The Kitāb al-Aʿlāq al-nafīsa, which has been characterized as an encyclopedia of geographical knowledge, is a rich source on the kinds of subjects that interested
the cultivated classes of ʿAbbāsid society. It is published here together with the Kitāb al-buldān (‘The book of countries’) by al-Yaʿqūbī (d. c. 905 CE). al-Yaʿqūbī’s Kitāb al-buldān is an administrative geography based in part on the author’s extensive travels, which also contains valuable historical data. For instance, it provides the earliest information about the political history and state-building of the Sudan west of the Nile.