Chapter 3 In Persian, Please!

The Translations of al-Iṣṭakhrī’s Book of Routes and Realms

In: Picturing the Islamicate World
Author: Nadja Danilenko
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1 Why Translate in the Thirteenth Century?

Some 300 years after al-Iṣṭakhrī composed the Book of Routes and Realms, three Persian translations surfaced in the Iranian lands – one in Jand (near the Aral Sea in today’s Kazakhstan), one probably in Shiraz and another perhaps in Isfahan. Although many details surrounding the translations remain unsolved, the Persian versions of al-Iṣṭakhrī’s work emerged hand in hand with changes introduced after the Mongols conquered the Islamicate East. By 1260, Genghis Khan’s (d. 1227) grand-children secured four khanates stretching from Turkey to China: the Yuan Khanate covered most of today’s China, Korea and Mongolia; the Golden Horde reached from today’s southern Ukraine to Caucasia and south-western Russia; the Chagatai Khanate expanded from central Pakistan to Kazakhstan and the Ilkhanate spanned from Afghanistan to Turkey.1 In the Islamicate world, only the Mamluks (r. 1250–1517) defied the Mongols reaching further west, whereas Baghdad fell in 1258. Although Hülegü Khan’s (r. 1258–1265) takeover in the Islamicate East claimed many lives and wrecked entire libraries, the Iranian lands bounced back thanks to the new rulers fostering trade, arts and culture.2 Building on trends preceding the conquest, the Ilkhans promoted Persian to the vernacular, boosted book illustrations and encouraged authors to make room for the Ilkhanate in the history of the Islamicate world. Coinciding with a continued interest in geography, the three shifts inspired the translations of the Book of Routes and Realms. While its beautiful images and focus on the Iranian lands sparked an interest on three separate occasions, tailoring al-Iṣṭakhrī’s work to the thirteenth-century setting was never the goal. By maintaining both text and maps for the most part, the translations rather opened the Book of Routes and Realms to the new audience as part of the cultural heritage the Ilkhans aimed to continue.

From the tenth century onwards, Persian began outranking Arabic in administration, literature and everyday life in the Islamicate East, also known as the Persianate World.3 Based on different strands of Middle Persian (Pahlavi) that was prevalent in the Sasanian Empire, New Persian dialects appeared in Arabic script by the ninth century. While the switch to Arabic script gradually stabilized, sources from the eighth century show that New Persian used other scripts as well, such as Syriac and Hebrew: A rock inscription in the Tang-i Azao mountains, 200 kilometers east of Herat, shows New Persian in Hebrew script, as does a letter written by a Jewish merchant from the Dandan-Öliq oasis in today’s western China.4 Moreover, texts in Arabic script reveal that New Persian varied according to regions before merging into a written lingua franca. In a Quran dating from the tenth or eleventh century, the interlinear New Persian translations exhibit linguistic details from Sīstān, suggesting the manuscript was created under Ṣaffārid rule (r. 861–1003).5

At the Samanid court in Bukhara (r. 819–1005), Persian translations flourished. When Naṣr b. Ahmad (r. 914–43) commissioned Rūdakī (fl. tenth c.) to translate Kalīla wa-Dimna into Persian, he also asked the poet to present the text in verses to suit the ruler’s taste.6 Not only did the translation boost Kalīla wa-Dimna’s circulation, it illustrated how audiences transformed the book throughout its transmission. The translation of al-Ṭabarī’s History shows this practice applied to other genres as well.7 When Ahmad’s son, Vizier Manṣūr b. Nūḥ (r. 961–76) ordered his minister Balʿamī (d. 974) to translate the History into Persian, he insisted on simplifying the book. In complying with the request, Balʿamī created a bestseller that surpassed the Arabic original, with over 160 manuscripts circulating in the aftermath of the translation. Turning up across the Persianate world, copies of Balʿamī’s translation could diverge from the original beyond recognition. Not only did copyists adjust the book’s style to fit coeval trends, they also expanded certain details while curtailing others. Although some changes resulted from model manuscripts missing pieces of the text, copyists also embellished the translation with poetry and quotes from other genres to please their patrons. As the History comprised several volumes, copyists sometimes lost track of the agenda they were trying to push, so that one manuscript spoke ill of Caliph ʿUthmān in one passage and stated “God bless him” in another.8 In addition to translations from Arabic, Pahlavi sources turned New Persian as well. In 957, the governor Abū Manṣūr Maʿmarī supervised the translation of the Khvadāynāmag that championed Sasanian rulers as heroes. Known as Abū Manṣūr’s Book of Kings (Shāhnāma-yi Abū Manṣūrī), only the introduction to the translation survived in the most famous Book of Kings by Firdawsī.9

Among the poetry flourishing in the tenth century, Firdawsī’s Shāhnāma (Book of Kings) influenced Persian literature and inspired various adaptations. Building on verses by Daqīqī (fl. tenth c.), Firdawsī set out to portray Iranian history from the Creation to the Arab conquests in a poem comprising over 60,000 verses.10 We know little about Firdawsī’s life other than that he came from Ṭūs (today’s Mashhad) and devoted 30 years to arranging the Shāhnāma, which he finished in 1010. In telling tales of kings like Alexander the Great, Firdawsī laid out models for rulers and their entourage. Although the Shāhnāma was dedicated to Sultan Maḥmūd of Ghazna who seized the Samanid realm in 997, Firdawsī did not link the sultan’s reign to Sasanian kings as al-Ṭabarī had done to reinforce the Abbasid rule. However, the Shāhnāma marked the transition of historiography from prose to verse.11 By dressing history in New Persian verse, Firdawsī echoed poets like Rūdakī and Daqīqī who expanded Persian poetry under Samanid patronage.12

Beyond poetry, Persian spread to historiography and the administration under Ghaznavid and Seljuq rule. While working at the Ghaznavid chancellery, al-Bayhaqī (d. 1077) composed the Compendium of Chronicles (Jāmiʿ al-Tavārīkh) to frame the Turkic rulers in line with Iranian kings.13 As Persian had already reached the Quran and its interpretation (tafsīr) under Samanid rule, the Ghaznavids promoted Persian to the official language.14 After defeating the Ghaznavids in 1035, the Seljuqs continued endorsing Persian. Not only did the ruler Niẓām al-Mulk (d. 1092) compose the Book of Politics (Siyāsātnāma) in Persian, he also established madrasas (called niẓāmiyyas) whose curricula included Arabic and Persian literature to educate the secretaries. Upon attending such a niẓāmiyya in Balkh, the chief secretary Rashīd al-Dīn Vatvāt (d. 1182–83) created a divan in both Arabic and Persian.15 Moreover, efforts at translating Arabic material continued well into the thirteenth century.16

With the Ilkhanate, Persian developed into the vernacular in addition to written sources. Not only did the Ilkhans maintain Persian within the administration, trade with the Yuan Khanate carried the language as far as China.17 While gravestones and weights inscribed in Persian indicate how far Persian reached, Mongolian and Chinese overshadowed it in Yuan administration and everyday life.18 As for the Iranian lands, the new rulers supported translations into Persian to grasp the written heritage in their realm. For instance, Ghāzān Khan (r. 1296–1304) commissioned the translation of Ibn Bakhtīshū’s (d. 1058) The Usefulness of Animals (Manāfiʿ al-Ḥayawān), in which the physician elaborated on homeopathic medicine.19 Historiographic works like ʿAbd Allah b. ʿUmar’s The History of Balkh (Taʾrīkh Balkh, composed in 1214) also surfaced in Persian by the end of the thirteenth century.20 Considering ever more genres emerged in Persian, geography was bound to turn up in the new contact language as well. However, al-Iṣṭakhrī’s Book of Routes and Realms fit the bill for additional reasons.

Al-Iṣṭakhrī’s maps suited the boom in illustrated books during the Ilkhanate. While manuscripts like the pseudo-Galen Book of Antidotes (Kitāb al-Diryāq) show that depicting philosophers and animals was not off-limits in the Islamicate world before the Ilkhans, illustrations skyrocketed from 1280 onwards.21 Books that had been created without images now appeared in new attire like Balʿamī’s History and al-Bīrūnī’s astrological work The Traces of Past Centuries (Kitāb al-Āthār al-Bāqiya ʿan al-Qurūn al-Khāliya, created in approximately 1000).22 A copy of the Book of Margrave (Marzubānnāma), a collection of fables from the tenth century, even holds an image of the Prophet Muhammad, who appeared in various manuscripts during the Ilkhanid rule.23 Unlike in many genres, people and animals did not enter the Quran during the Ilkhanid period. However, after Ghāzān Khan converted to Islam in 1295, his court commissioned large Qurans that comprised 30 volumes. Brimming over with ornament, the Qurans served to display the Ilkhans’ prestige.24

Illustrating the Shāhnāma also served to promote the Ilkhans. Even though Firdawsī’s text did not cover the Mongol conquests, images portraying Iranian kings in the Shāhnāma served to link the Ilkhans to Sasanian glory. From the fourteenth century onwards, large-scale Shāhnāmas circulated with more than 100 illustrations. Among these manuscripts, the so-called Great Mongol Shāhnāma stands out with approximately 200 images. In the Great Mongol Shāhnāma, illustrators strove for perfection on pages covering 41 × 30 cm that were probably created in the Ilkhanid capital Tabriz for Abū Saʿīd (r. 1316–1335).25 Today, the Great Mongol Shāhnāma is spread across several collections, because the art dealer Georges Demotte (active ca. 1900–23) broke it into pieces. After discovering the masterpiece, Demotte tried selling the Shāhnāma at first as a whole. However, since buyers refused to meet Demotte’s price, he decided to make a profit one page at a time. While Firdawsī’s text got lost in the process, collections like the Freer Galley in Washington D.C. display single illustrations from the Great Mongol Shāhnāma on site as well as online.26 Considering images from the Shāhnāma adorned palaces, ceramic and metal work in the Ilkhanate as well, the new rulers advertised their authority by tying themselves to the Iranian past.27 Building on this connection, Abāqā Khan (r. 1265–82) built a palace at Takht-i Sulaymān, where Sasanian kings had been crowned. Corresponding to the Mongol idea of a heavenly mandate, Sasanian kingship suited the Ilkhans’ self-image. Following the Ilkhan’s lead, poets such as the famous Saʿdī from Shiraz (d. 1292) praised the Mongols as a grace granted by God.28

Additionally, the Ilkhans recruited historians to frame the Mongols as heirs to the Sasanians. Juvaynī (d. 1283) first introduced a chronicle revolving around Genghis Khan and his successors in Persian. Even before entering Hülegü Khan’s service in 1255, Juvaynī began working on the History of the World-Conqueror (Tārīkh-i Jahāngushāy), which he completed in 1260 as the governor of Baghdad. Launching the History with Genghis Khan’s rise to power, Juvaynī addressed pre-Mongol rulers in Central Asia before attending to Hülegü Khan’s campaigns. In portraying the Ilkhanate, Juvaynī emphasized the legitimacy of the Mongol rule, while linking it to Sasanian kingship. Moreover, Juvaynī underlined how the Khans approved of Islam.29 Juvaynī’s younger brother and chief minister to Hülegü Khan, Shams al-Dīn, received another chronicle fifteen years later. Pushing the message from Juvaynī’s History, the System of Chronicles (Niẓām al-Tavārīkh) by Bayżavī (d. 1316) presented the Mongols as the latest link in the chain of Iranian dynasties.30

By commissioning the Compendium of Chronicles (Jāmiʿ al-Tavārīkh), Ghāzān Khan and Öljeytü (r. 1304–16) sealed this narrative for the Ilkhanid historiography. Composed by the vizier Rashīd al-Dīn, the Compendium blended the history of the Mongols with plots à la al-Ṭabarī, thus accommodating the Ilkhanate within the history of the Islamicate world as well.31 Since Rashīd al-Dīn created the Compendium in both Arabic and Persian, he meant to embed his chronicle in the Arabic tradition of the Islamicate world as well as the coeval vernacular. Moreover, the Compendium embraced the trend to illustrate manuscripts. Containing more than 500 images, the Compendium even outnumbered the Shāhnāma. In creating the Compendium, the army of illustrators adopted the Chinese style for images.32 Thanks to trade and diplomacy between the Ilkhanate and the Yuan Khanate, Chinese manuscripts had surfaced in the Iranian lands among many gifts and luxury goods.33 Based on Chinese material, illustrators working on the Compendium took up cloud-like shapes for mountains and transformed the Chinese dragon into the Iranian dragon. Also a symbol of sovereignty, the Chinese phoenix turned into the mythical bird Simurgh that figured in the Shāhnāma as well.34

Rashīd al-Dīn not only integrated the Ilkhans into Iranian history, but into geography as well. The Compendium closed with a volume called the Images of the Climes (Ṣuvar al-Aqālīm) that resembled the Book of Routes and Realms: Like al-Iṣṭakhrī, Rashīd al-Dīn addressed countries, water bodies and mountains, albeit according to the seven climes. Rashīd al-Dīn tells us the Images included regional maps as well. As the Compendium’s geographic volume has been lost, we have no way of knowing whether Rashīd al-Dīn based his maps on al-Iṣṭakhrī (or any other mapmaker for that matter) or if the Mongol postal relay stations (yāmhā) featured in the maps as they did in the text.35 By taking up geography and maps, Rashīd al-Dīn probably echoed writing that started promoting Iran’s position in the world.

The first Persian geography, the anonymous Horizons of the World (Ḥudūd al-ʿĀlam) dating from the end of the tenth century, had not yet put the Iranian lands first.36 In presenting the world, the author relied on existing literature by Ibn Khurrādadhbih as well as Ibn Ḥawqal and covered the entire Islamicate world as well as non-Islamicate realms like the Byzantine Empire.37 Much like geographic literature from the ninth and tenth centuries, the Horizons addressed Iraq as close to the world’s center and the “most prosperous country in Islam.”38 At the same time, the Horizons presented Khurasan as the center of the inhabited world and pointed out that Transoxania was the country where “justice and equity reign.”39 Since Khurasan and Transoxania featured among the longest chapters, the author probably came from one of the regions. Moreover, the Horizons was dedicated to the Farīghūnid ruler Muhammad b. Ahmad in Jūzjān (today’s north-western Afghanistan) who was among the Samanid vassals in eastern Khurasan, which is why the author might have granted more space to Khurasan and Transoxania.40

In the twelfth century, the Book of Fārs (Fārsnāma) championed the history and geography of Fārs.41 Although the author remains anonymous, he mentioned that his family came from Balkh, which is why he is today called Ibn al-Balkhī. According to Ibn al-Balkhī’s personal accounts in the Fārsnāma, he accompanied his accountant grandfather to Fārs in around 1099. Afterward, Ibn al-Balkhī probably entered the administrative service under Seljuq rule. Thanks to Ibn al-Balkhī’s knowledge of Fārs, Muhammad b. Mālik Shah (r. 1105–1118) commissioned him to compose the Fārsnāma. As Ibn al-Balkhī tells us, he had envisioned writing a general history starting with the prophet Muhammad to his own time, but limited himself to Fārs for his patron’s sake.42 While the main part of the Fārsnāma focused on the region’s history including Sasanian kings as well as the Arab conquests, the last third covered the geographic aspects of the region. First, Ibn al-Balkhī described Fārs as a square bordering on regions such as Kirman. Although the text refers to an illustration in the margins, both preserved manuscripts of the Fārsnāma do not hold any maps or diagrams.43 However, considering the shape that Ibn al-Balkhī explained as well as the region’s position according to the cardinal points, his image may have resembled al-Iṣṭakhrī’s version of Fārs.44 Following the introduction, Ibn al-Balkhī focused on the five districts of Fārs one after the other (Iṣṭakhr, Dārābjird, Ardashīr, Shāpūr, Qubād). In arranging the geographic details, Ibn al-Balkhī used headings that resemble Fārs in al-Iṣṭakhrī’s Book of Routes and Realms, such as castles and rivers. At the end of the geographic part of the Fārsnāma, Ibn al-Balkhī presented the distances between cities. Although Ibn al-Balkhī did not mention the Book of Routes and Realms as his source, the Fārsnāma may have been informed by al-Iṣṭakhrī’s work. By separating the historic from the geographic section, Ibn al-Balkhī introduced a pattern which was not only adopted by Rashīd al-Dīn, but also used in later historiographic works such as the Safavid chronicle Friend of Biographies (Ḥabīb al-Siyar) by Khvāndamīr (d. 1535/6).45

The thirteenth-century Book of the World (Jahānnāma) was the first treatise in the Islamicate world to explicitly design a world map with a coordinate system. Only the Jahānnāma lets us glimpse into the author’s life: Like Firdawsī, Muhammad b. Najīb Bakrān came from Ṭūs in Khurasan and devised a circular world map for the Khwarazm Shah ʿAlāʾ al-Dīn Muhammad b. Tekish (r. 1200–1220) in 1208–9. While Bakrān put the world map on cloth, he designed the Jahānnāma to explain the map. As is the case with the large-scale maps we know existed before the tenth century, Bakrān’s world map has also disappeared. However, the Jahānnāma has been preserved in two manuscripts, the earliest dating from 1265.46 As Bakrān clarified in the introduction, he built the Jahānnāma on contributions such as Ibn Khurrādadhbih’s and Nāṣir Khusraw’s who described his journey from Marw to Mecca (and farer west) from 1045 onwards in his Travelogue (Safarnāma).47 Considering Bakrān’s description of the Maghreb resembled the Book of Routes and Realms, Bakrān probably also consulted al-Iṣṭakhrī’s work. Like Ibn Khurrādadhbih’s Book of Routes and Realms, the Jahānnāma takes off from an astronomical perspective that addresses the world’s size and inhabited areas. However, Bakrān ended his book with mirabilia including the Seven Sleepers at Ephesus and diamonds from Sri Lanka.48 Similar to Ibn Rustah who closed the Precious Treasure with people bearing identical names (kunyas) and religious groups, Bakrān blended numerous sources to reveal as much knowledge about the world as possible. Additionally, he illustrated this knowledge in the world map that he explained in a brief chapter at the beginning: small circles represented cities, accompanied by captions; swirls delineated regions as well as districts; seas appeared in green with red captions, whereas rivers were blue; the map showed mountains in ruby and deserts in yellow and white areas indicated countries with snowfall; red lines stretching across all areas marked climes as well as longitudes and latitudes.49 Like al-Iṣṭakhrī, Bakrān depicted topography and dwellings, while confining history and sights to the text. Without Bakrān’s map, we do not know whether he put a region center stage. However, his contribution shows the interest in compiling and illustrating geographic knowledge continued. Moreover, the Jahānnāma inspired authors from the Ilkhanid period to advance the field with a new twist.

Finished in 1340, the Delight of the Hearts (Nuzhat al-Qulūb) holds the first world map focusing on Iran. While Rashīd al-Dīn tells us the astronomer Quṭb al-Dīn Shirāzī (d. 1311) had already presented a cartographic work to Arghūn Khan (r. 1284–91), the book has not been preserved. According to Rashīd al-Dīn, Shīrāzī’s work involved a map of the Mediterranean, including its western and northern regions.50 By contrast, the Delight had only one map showing the world. Created by the historian Ḥamd Allah Mustawfī (d. ca. 1344, famous for his Selected History (Tārīkh-i Guzīda)), the Delight comprises five parts: (1) spheres, heavenly bodies and elements, (2) inhabited quarters of the earth, (3) minerals, plants and animals, (4) man, his nature and faculties and (5) geography. While Mustawfī’s composition echoes encyclopedic treatises such as al-Qazwīnī’s (d. 1283) Wonders of Creation (ʿAjāʾib al-Makhluqāt wa-Gharāʾib al-Mawjūdāt),51 he put geography center stage by devoting almost half of the Delight to the last section.52 Intended to emphasize the accounts of Iran,53 Mustawfī dedicated over two thirds of the Delight’s geographic section to the Persianate world including Khurasan and Azerbaijan. While Mustawfī also addressed the Byzantine Empire, he placed the Maghreb, Syria and all of the Islamicate West in the last third of part (5) that covered areas surrounding Iran (according to the cardinal points). As if to match the texts and conventions Mustawfī built on, the Delight’s geographic section opened with the holy sites in Mecca. However, the main part revolved around Iran – as did the world map. Similar to al-Iṣṭakhrī and other mapmakers before him, Mustawfī oriented the circular world south, but accommodated the coordinate grid on the map.54 Covering the area between China and the Maghreb, Mustawfī’s world map sketches the landmass rather than capturing its outlines according to exact coordinates. Beneath the grid, captions indicate both regions and cities. Even though Mustawfī placed captions in the Islamicate West as well, the Iranian lands are brimming over with information by comparison. Through centering the world map and the Delight’s geographic section on Iran, Mustawfī shifted the perspective towards the Persianate world.

Moreover, by adopting the term īrān, Mustawfī participated in framing the Ilkhans as successors of the Sasanians. As we have seen above, authors writing history and geography in the Abbasid period had used īrānshahr to indicate the Sasanian Empire. While the term was no longer used within the mamlakat al-islām, the “land of Iran” (īrānshahr, īrānzamīn or simply īrān) celebrated its comeback from the thirteenth century onwards. To refer to the Ilkhanid realm, authors like Juvaynī, Bayżavī and Rashīd al-Dīn revived īrān, whereas they neglected the name in the sections about pre-conquest events.55 Considering the authors relied on previous chronicles for the history before the conquests, they adopted the jargon that did not emphasize īrān. However, in portraying coeval events, the historians tailored their vocabulary to the Ilkhans’ imperial outlook. Connecting to īrān as illustrated in the Shāhnāma, “land of Iran” rose to the official name for the Ilkhanid realm. In addition, illustrators recovered kishvars to display Iran’s central position in the world, such as in a copy of the anonymous Summary of Chronicles and Stories (Mujmal al-Tavārīkh va al-Qiṣaṣ, twelfth c.).56

The Book of Routes and Realms drew attention in the thirteenth century as a reference for the framing of the Ilkhans as well as the boom in illustrated manuscripts. Considering al-Iṣṭakhrī had labeled īrānshahr the most civilized and politically upright realm, his work matched the narrative linking the Ilkhans to the Sasanians. However, this connection may not have sufficed for translating the Book of Routes and Realms. After all, Ibn Ḥawqal also presented the Sasanian Empire as the best “pillar,”57 but his work never became Persian. Although both Ibn Ḥawqal and al-Iṣṭakhrī addressed the entire Islamicate world, al-Iṣṭakhrī devoted more pages to the Persianate regions, which may have additionally sparked an interest in the Book of Routes and Realms. Even al-Iṣṭakhrī’s name may have appealed to the translators because it recalled the Sasanian capital. Furthermore, al-Iṣṭakhrī’s maps rejoiced in colors and harmony relating to miniature painting that flourished in the Ilkhanid realm. By contrast, Ibn Ḥawqal’s as well as al-Muqaddasī’s maps appear less playful, which is why these authors may have been neglected in the translation process. It may also be that their works were not translated because they were not in circulation in the Iranian lands. Although none of the translators rendering the Book of Routes and Realms Persian delved into his motivation, the atmosphere seemed ideal for launching al-Iṣṭakhrī’s work to a new audience.

2 The Odd One

A governor in Jand received the first Persian translation of the Book of Routes and Realms. Appointed in approximately 1220 to rule the city near the Aral Sea (south-west of today’s Kazakhstan), Ali Khoja b. Muhammad found a geographic work in his library and commissioned its translation into Persian.58 As we will see below, the translation featured some curious illustrations, which is why I have called it The Odd One. Although the Arabic model was al-Iṣṭakhrī’s work, the translator Ali b. ʿAbd al-Salām attributed it to al-Jayhānī. Moreover, he referred to the model as the Forms of the World (Ashkāl al-ʿĀlam), while al-Jayhānī had also called his book the Book of Routes and Realms. The Arabic model could have caused the confusion. As we have seen in the last chapter, manuscripts of the Book of Routes and Realms listed different titles and authors, so that copyists and owners might have attributed them to al-Jayhānī as well. If the copy in Ali Khoja’s library did not feature any title or author, the translator might have recalled geographic works he had come across before and simply filled in the blanks.

Except as the ruler of Jand, Ali Khoja hardly appears in contemporary sources. As for Jand, the city had become an important center for the Oghuz tribes between the Caspian and the Aral Sea by the end of the tenth century. The city also featured in the story surrounding the eponym of the Seljuqs, Saljūq b. Duqāq (fl. tenth c.), who, upon coming to Jand, converted to Islam.59 Up to the Mongol conquests, Jand served as a strategic point, from where Seljuqs as well as the Khwarazmian dynasty undertook campaigns north to the steppes.60 After conquering Samarqand, Genghis Khan dispatched his oldest son Juchi (d. 1227) to Jand to negotiate a treaty. Since Juchi almost got killed in the process by the Jandian population, he decided to retaliate by conquering and ransacking Jand in 1220.61 Moving on to Khwarazm a year later, Juchi appointed Ali Khoja to govern Jand. According to Juvaynī’s History, Ali Khoja came from Qizhduvan (near Bukhara) and remained a loyal servant to the Mongols until his death.62 Since the sources do not elaborate on Ali Khoja’s life and library, we do not know if the copy of the Book of Routes and Realms he discovered had belonged to the chiefs that the Mongols ousted. Considering al-Muqaddasī reported having seen a manuscript of al-Iṣṭakhrī’s work in Bukhara, Ali Khoja might have owned a copy of the manuscript that he brought with him to Jand. As Bukhara does not presently have any manuscripts of the Book of Routes and Realms,63 the copy al-Muqaddasī saw probably transferred to another city at some point. To suppose Ali Khoja moved the copy would be mere speculation. Whatever the origin of the copy in Jand, it reveals that al-Iṣṭakhrī’s work was available in the Islamicate East several centuries after its composition.

The Odd One survived in three manuscripts, not including the original.64 Dating from 1609, the oldest copy is located at the National Museum in Kabul.65 First published by Hāshim Shāyiq for the Bulletin of the Historical Society of Afghanistan (Āryānā) in 1942, the manuscript caused some excitement, as scholars assumed it contained al-Jayhānī’s long lost Book of Routes and Realms.66 However, seven years after the discovery, Vladimir Minorskiy confirmed the copy represented a Persian translation of al-Iṣṭakhrī’s work. While the colophon indicates 1609 as the year the manuscript was created, it does not tell us where the copy originated or who its client was. However, a note before the text states that Ḥājjī-Khan presented the manuscript together with two other books (Yūsuf va Zulaykhā and Makārim al-Akhlāq) to one of his children, while admonishing the others not to interfere with his decision.67 Based on this remark, Minorskiy suggested Ḥājjī-Khan was the copyist of the manuscript from Kabul. However, he may have just as well owned the copy at some point, leaving us in the dark about the original client. A different note explains that Ḥājjī-Khan was alive on 9 Muharram (without a year) in Kiyākalā. Although Kiyākalā is a small Iranian town at the southern shore of the Caspian Sea, Minorskiy wondered if the writing might have been copied incorrectly from Karbalāʾ (Iraq). While conjecture, such a mistake might connect the manuscript to the remaining copies of Ali Khoja’s translation.

Two British Army officers commissioned copies of The Odd One in 1835–6 and 1840. The former was created for Robert Taylor in Baghdad,68 whereas the latter was made for Sir Henry Rawlinson in Kabul.69 Rawlinson noted in his manuscript that

this copy was made in Kabul in 1840 from an older and fine M.S. which I obtained at Isfahan in 1837, which being lent by me to Edward Conolly70 was lost by him during the troubles in Afghanistan.

Rawlinson’s “fine M.S.” might be the manuscript that surfaced in Kabul around 1940 and is now kept at the National Museum in Kabul. As Minorskiy has pointed out, the three manuscripts of The Odd One share the same images as well as gaps in the text,71 suggesting both Taylor’s and Rawlinson’s copies were based on the manuscript from Kabul. Therefore, Rawlinson’s “fine M.S.” was probably not the original version of The Odd One, but rather a copy that made its way from Jand to Isfahan (over 1.500 km). Either Ali Khoja’s original was transferred to Iran after the thirteenth century, where it sparked an interest, or more copies were created in Jand and sent as gifts to Iran. Taylor’s manuscript differs from the others in that it gathers all maps at the end and some of them are mirrored along the vertical axis. Considering the illustrator had otherwise reproduced all details from the other copies, he probably twisted some maps because of his technique for tracing the model’s layouts. He might have first copied the model onto a separate and thinner piece of paper and then positioned it on his copy incorrectly. Before moving to Isfahan, Rawlinson’s “fine M.S.” might have stayed in Baghdad, where Taylor could commission a copy. If so, reading Kiyākalā as Karbalāʾ might make sense, considering the city is close to Baghdad. Although the traces in the manuscripts do not allow us to pinpoint the trajectory of The Odd One between Jand and Kabul, they reveal how knowledge and artefacts moved within the Persianate world over the centuries.

Moreover, other copies of The Odd One might surface in the future. In browsing the catalogues of archives and libraries holding Persian manuscripts, I focused on the authors associated with composing the Book of Routes and Realms as well as related titles such as Ibn Ḥawqal’s The World’s Image. However, if I were to search the indices for “al-Jayhānī” or “Ashkāl al-ʿĀlam,” more manuscripts of The Odd One might come to light. Considering a manuscript of al-Iṣṭakhrī’s work in New Delhi has been attributed to Ibn Khurrādadhbih,72 the Book of Routes and Realms is probably hiding behind even more authors and titles. Therefore, the copies I have found of The Odd One might just be the tip of an iceberg.

The Odd One maintains the structure of the Book of Routes and Realms and its linguistic style. According to the translator’s introduction, Ali Khoja asked him to render the text Persian in a “simple and concise manner.”73 Considering al-Iṣṭakhrī and Ibn Ḥawqal delivered the text in a straightforward fashion to begin with, Ali Khoja’s remark may seem odd. Since Balʿamī reported the same instruction in his History, it may represent a commonplace request for translations during this period.

However, The Odd One displays large gaps throughout the text. Armenia, Arrān and Azerbaijan contains nothing but the first lines74 and al-Jibāl misses its first third,75 much like the Caspian Sea that breaks off after the introduction and only resumes at the last third.76 Moreover, Khurasan only features the introduction as well as the last two thirds77 and Transoxania skips large sections after the first third.78 In addition to these gaps, The Odd One contains only nineteen maps, with Armenia, Arrān and Azerbaijan and al-Jibāl missing. Considering all copies of Ali Khoja’s translation share these details, the question arises whether The Odd One was meant to reshape the Book of Routes and Realms.

A defective model explains the omissions best. First, the breaks have not been smoothed over to create new meaning. Instead, the text of the Book of Routes and Realms simply resumes at a later stage, as if the copyist did not know the sentences belonged to different sections. How may he have overlooked that? If the binding of the model manuscript had been damaged, loose folios could have fallen out. The length of the missing sections suggests they fit on several pages that made up a folio or a quire. Due to some repetitive phrases, the text might have still appeared as a coherent unit to the copyist. In most cases, catchwords in the lower margin of the right page indicate the next word on the left page, which helps the binder assemble a manuscript. If the model was missing catchwords, the copyist of the Kabul manuscript would not have seen any hints for a disarray in the text. However, even if he did, he had three options for finishing his job: either leave blanks in the writing to indicate lacunae,79 come up with new details to fill them or just keep writing. The Odd One suggests the copyist chose option three.

It is not clear whether Ali Khoja’s Arabic model was damaged or the Persian copy that the copyist for the Kabul manuscript used – either may be possible. Not only did no one try to smooth over the textual ruptures, we also find a switch between the introduction and the Arabian Peninsula in The Odd One. Before concluding the introduction, the text leaps to the beginning of the Arabian Peninsula, only to jump back to the introduction after a brief passage.80 This disarray further points to the model holding loose folios that had been mixed up, thus creating a new sequence. Although no existing Arabic copy of the Book of Routes and Realms matches the disorder in The Odd One exactly, the earliest manuscript of the Baseline features a similar switch.81 As The Odd One was based on a manuscript from TransIraq,82 damages in the bindings of models appear to have caused several mix-ups in the manuscript tradition of the Book of Routes and Realms. Alternatively, The Odd One might have been based on a copy from TransArmIraq. However, with most of Armenia, Arrān and Azerbaijan missing, we cannot be certain. Moreover, The Odd One lacks several details most copies in TransArmIraq feature.83 In case The Odd One related to TransIraq, the extant coeval copies in this branch could have hardly served as models.84 Not only does the map design in The Odd One diverge from both copies (not alike either), textual details from this branch also do not appear in the translation.85 By pointing to the textual and visual range within TransIraq, The Odd One reveals that the existing manuscripts of the Book of Routes and Realms represent only a fraction of the corpus circulating until the thirteenth century.

The gaps in The Odd One might also have resulted from the translator aiming to create an abridgement of the Book of Routes and Realms. Particularly when it came to al-Iṣṭakhrī explaining his maps, the translator leaned towards conciseness. As for the paragraph clarifying how the world map related to the regional maps in the introduction,86 the translator reduced it to

My book’s objective was to illustrate these regions (aqālīm), which nobody I know has ever done before […] I drew the whole world as enclosed by the Encircling Ocean, where nobody goes. If someone were to look at the image [world map], he would know where all regions are located.87

In a similar vein, the translator simplified al-Iṣṭakhrī’s note about the map of Khurasan: Al-Iṣṭakhrī had elaborated on how he had decided to place some cities from Khurasan in the map of Transoxania instead, because the respective outline fitted them better.88 In The Odd One, this statement transformed into “Khurasan has many cities.”89 Assuming the translator’s model featured maps, he might have chosen to neglect information about them because he felt they were stating the obvious. Alternatively, he might not have understood the text as relating to the images and omitted sections that did not make any sense to him. Although illustrations lay outside the copyists’ or translators’ purview, the Arabic copies of the Book of Routes and Realms as well as the other translations did include al-Iṣṭakhrī’s explanations. By contrast, the translator of The Odd One appears to have deliberately shortened the text relating to some maps.

As for the large omissions, I cannot detect any strategy or message in reshaping al-Iṣṭakhrī’s work to this Persian form. Even though several chapters have been curtailed, all twenty Islamicate regions are part of The Odd One. If Ali Khoja intended to promote one region while neglecting others through The Odd One, the translator fell short of the task. Not only has no region been removed, Khurasan and Transoxania have suffered from the cuts as well, which would have been an odd choice in view of Ali Khoja’s origin. Moreover, if leaving out details in five regions was intentional, why only skip two maps?

Beyond the omissions, the few changes in The Odd One do not indicate the translation was meant to contribute to framing the Mongols, Ali Khoja or anything else for that matter. In contrast to translations like Balʿamī’s History, The Odd One does not introduce new sections to the Book of Routes and Realms. Rather, we find minor changes like events being put into past tense, such as ʿUbayd Allah’s conquest of Fez and ʿAbd al-Raḥmān III’s rule in al-Andalus (912–929).90 Since the translator did not insert coeval rulers in the section, The Odd One was not designed to update or reshape al-Iṣṭakhrī’s work to fit the Ilkhanid present. Even for Khurasan, the translator only added the Farīghūnids (ninth to eleventh c.) as past rulers in the region, without bridging to coeval events.91 Additionally, al-Iṣṭakhrī’s comment that the kings of Fārs had been written about “in books” transformed into “in the Shāhnāma.”92 Considering the changes did not touch upon events or works from the Ilkhanid period, someone other than the translator might have placed them in The Odd One. Even though the translator might have haphazardly adjusted some sections of the Book of Routes and Realms, the Arabic model could have already covered them as well. Moreover, readers could have altered al-Iṣṭakhrī’s text by striking words or amending details above the lines, which the next copyist took up for a new manuscript that then served as the model for The Odd One.

One change seems to have been introduced by the translator, albeit in an inconsistent way. When presenting al-Iṣṭakhrī’s first-person accounts, the translator alternated between retaining the text and inserting “the author of the book says” (muʾallif-i kitāb (-)gūyad) before the report. Al-Iṣṭakhrī’s remark about not seeing any fruit bearing trees other than palms in Mecca was maintained in The Odd One.93 The same holds true for al-Iṣṭakhrī’s account of Santarém (shantarīn, in today’s Portugal) as the only city in the Mediterranean area to have ambergris.94 In contrast, several accounts in Transoxania feature “the author of the book says,” such as al-Iṣṭakhrī’s statement that he heard about more than 10,000 ribāṭ (military-religious institutions) in the region.95 To what end the translator added this expression remains unclear. He might have included “the author of the book says” to label information that came from al-Iṣṭakhrī (or al-Jayhānī, as he thought), whereas he maintained “I” whenever an account matched his own experience. However, it seems unlikely the translator would have been more familiar with the Islamicate West than his governor’s region, Transoxania. Whatever the reason for the expression, The Odd One shares it with The Popular One (see below), indicating it might have been part of the translation practice in this period.

As for the nineteen maps in The Odd One, they suggest the illustrator strove to accommodate motifs he knew from other illustrated manuscripts. Like the first manuscript from the Baseline,96 The Odd One holds maps that cover only one page each and resemble al-Iṣṭakhrī’s design. However, some outlines in the translation were expanded, like the Persian Sea (see below). Moreover, cities were reduced to their captions, which highlighted the water bodies and other topography. As no Arabic copy in my survey fits this description, we have an additional indicator that The Odd One was based on an Arabic model which has since been lost.

While the illustrator devoted much effort to the first five maps as well the fifteenth (the Caspian Sea), he seems to have lost interest in portraying the rest. If he prepared the maps in order of appearance in the Book of Routes and Realms, the client running out of money might have prevented him from finishing the work he had started. However, how could he have devoted time and effort to the Caspian Sea in this scenario? Alternatively, the illustrator might have simply reproduced the images from the model that had already displayed different levels of care in the maps. Without the original of The Odd One, we have no way of knowing whether the oddities it exhibits belonged to the translation from the start or appeared in later copies such as the manuscript from Kabul.

The world map suggests the illustrator enhanced al-Iṣṭakhrī’s work with icons representing general knowledge. Around the earth’s circle, we see four rings in front of the Encircling Ocean that appears as a blue ring with white ornament. Next to the image, a small caption reads “Mount Qāf and the Encircling Ocean,” indicating the rings represent the mythical mountain. While al-Iṣṭakhrī neither mentioned nor depicted Mount Qāf in the Book of Routes and Realms, the illustrator picked up this barrier from cosmological ideas that circulated in the Islamicate world.97 If the blue ring was meant to represent the Encircling Ocean, the illustrator would have confused the sequence of the barriers surrounding the world. However, the blue and white ornament might have served as a frame to the map, while the second inner ring depicted the Encircling Ocean. Since the ring is green, the color might have pointed to the ocean’s alternative name, the Green Ocean. Although we cannot say for certain which ring was meant to represent which barrier, the world map in The Odd One shows how illustrators modified material to match their knowledge.

Moreover, the map of Egypt (Fig. 13) shows this knowledge was informed by other images the illustrator might have come across before working on The Odd One. While the map relates to the general outline of Egypt as depicted by al-Iṣṭakhrī,98 the shape of the Nile and the buildings representing Alexandria stem from other sources. The earliest manuscript showing the source of the Nile at the Mountains of the Moon (Jabal al-Qamar) in a similar fashion is al-Khwārizmī’s The World’s Image dating from 1036.99 However, the Nile meanders in this manuscript and we do not see any buildings at the shore of the Mediterranean. Only one Arabic copy of the Book of Routes and Realms points to the Lighthouse of Alexandria, but does so in the map of the Mediterranean. While the copy probably belongs to the same textual branch as The Odd One (TransIraq) and also dates from the thirteenth century,100 its map design differs too much from the Persian translation to have been its model. The manuscript was damaged and the map of Egypt is missing. However, the map of the Mediterranean shows a column with ornament next to the caption of Alexandria, which might have implied the lighthouse. The building might have featured in Egypt as well, introducing icons that the illustrator of The Odd One adapted. However, as The Odd One portrayed a building rather than a column and featured more detailed miniatures in other maps, a different source was more likely to inspire the illustrator of the translation.

Figure 13
Figure 13Egypt in The Odd One© The British Library Board, MS. ADD. 23542 (1836 CE, Pers.), F. 63

The world map in the anonymous Summary of Chronicles and Stories (Mujmal al-Tavārīkh va al-Qiṣaṣ, twelfth c.) mentioned above features the Nile and the lighthouse very much like in The Odd One. Preserved in four manuscripts dating from the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries,101 the Summary displays a handful of illustrations that differ slightly in each copy. The earliest manuscript to include a world map that depicts the Nile and the Lighthouse of Alexandria almost identically to how they are presented in The Odd One is housed at the University Library Heidelberg (Fig. 14).102

Figure 14
Figure 14The world map in the Summary of Chronicles and StoriesWith Kind Permission of the Universitätsbibliothek Heidelberg, MS. COD. HEID. Orient. 118 (CA. 1475 CE, Pers.), F. 258V–259

While maintaining the shape and outlines introduced by previous maps like in the Book of Routes and Realms, the illustrator introduced several elements we have not seen before in world maps from the Islamicate world. To begin with, the overall layout of the map puts the Iranian lands closer to the center, similar to Mustawfī’s world map. The Mediterranean has been reduced to its southern and western shores, which means that Europe does not appear on the world map anymore. However, the illustrator labelled the western shore of the Mediterranean on the African continent as ifranja, which implies Europeans (Franks). Moreover, the Persian Sea shows Sri Lanka with Adam’s Peak that represented the Cupola of the Earth according to Indian geographic ideas. Additionally, the wall of Gog and Magog stands out in the lower left part of the world map. While some copies of the Book of Routes and Realms accommodated Gog and Magog in the north-west of the world map, their location had been moved north-east in the Summary. This position corresponds to Mustawfī’s world map as well as the world map by al-Idrīsī (d. ca. 1165) that he created for the Roger II of Sicily (r. 1130–1154).103 The gates in the wall also appeared on coeval European world maps to indicate the barrier against the mythical people in the North.104 While we cannot trace who first relocated Gog and Magog, the world map in the Summary illustrates that different images of the world circulated and changed over time.

As for the larger gate in the lower right part of the world map, it might indicate the Caspian Gates that mark a ground-level pass through the Elburz Mountains. The Caspian Gates were mentioned by Greek authors like Strabo (d. 23) and were also included in European world maps. However, they appeared close to the wall of Gog and Magog.105 Even though it may be literally a stretch, the illustrator in the Summary might have moved the Caspian Gates further west and misspelled the caption above the gates into al-kuḥḥa instead of kūhhā-yi alburz to refer to the Elburz Mountains. As we have seen in the maps from the thirteenth-century copy of al-Iṣṭakhrī’s work above, illustrators and copyists sometimes made mistakes, especially if they were not familiar with the content they reproduced. The misplaced ifranja in the Summary are a case in point. In addition to the confusing caption above the gates, the illustrator might have placed the miniature closer to the Nile and the Mediterranean shore because he did not know better. Whoever designed the world map in the Summary focused on general ideas rather than accuracy. This is probably why the wall of Gog and Magog takes up half of Asia and the Caspian Gates are simply located east of the wall. While the gates’ relative position to the wall connects to where authors and mapmakers imagined both barriers, the illustrator separated them with a river. Since the illustrator left the river without a caption, we do not know which river he meant to present in this position. However, the river ending in a mountain range resembles al-Iṣṭakhrī’s outline of Transoxania, where rivers from Lake Zarah (probably today’s Lake Iskanderkul) extend to the Zarafshan Mountains (today’s Tajikistan and Uzbekistan).106 If the illustrator had seen maps from the Book of Routes and Realms or other books with maps, he might have transferred some elements to the world map in the Summary.

In addition to the barriers in the world map of the Summary, we see the Nile reaching to the Mountains of the Moon and the Lighthouse of Alexandria, which resembles the map of Egypt in The Odd One. Since the original translation for Ali Khoja is missing, we are faced with the ‘chicken or egg’ dilemma regarding the illustrations. If The Odd One featured the lighthouse from the thirteenth century onwards, the author or illustrator of the Summary might have picked up the motif. Rather than devoting a regional map to the characteristics in Egypt and Africa, the illustrator decided to install them in the world map that already highlighted legendary buildings. This arrangement brings to mind al-Masʿūdī’s mention of a world map showing “great buildings and superb architecture.”107 If this world map or a copy still existed in the twelfth to fourteenth centuries, it might have independently informed the illustrators of the Summary and The Odd One. Alternatively, the Summary might have inspired the illustrator who created the manuscript from Kabul in the seventeenth century. Although the material witnesses holding the images of the Nile and the lighthouse are insufficient to unravel the motif’s origin, The Odd One demonstrates how images surfaced and influenced each other. Moreover, since al-Iṣṭakhrī’s maps had been designed without miniatures, we see how illustrators adapted images to motifs they had encountered while working on other books. However, several maps in The Odd One indicate not all illustrators did so in a sophisticated manner.

The maps of the Persian Sea and the Maghreb suggest the illustrator struggled to emulate images he had seen before. While both maps recreate al-Iṣṭakhrī’s outlines to some extent, they feature unusual inhabitants (Figs. 15 and 16).108

Figure 15
Figure 15The Persian Sea in The Odd One© The British Library Bboard, MS. ADD. 23542 (1836 CE, Pers.), F. 61
Figure 16
Figure 16The Maghreb in The Odd One© The British Library Board, MS. ADD. 23542 (1836 CE, Pers.), F. 62

Both maps show fish as well as a naked figure with wings and a halo in the water. Moreover, the Maghreb displays four ducks, and one of them also has a halo. Since no other map in The Odd One depicts people, the illustrator might have intended to highlight the Persian Sea and the Maghreb. If so, whom did the figures represent? Considering the figures appeared at the thresholds to the Encircling Ocean, the illustrator might have alluded to the utmost East and West from the Alexander Romance, which were represented by Ruby Island (indicating Sri Lanka) and the Pillars of Hercules (indicating the Rock of Gibraltar and Jebel Musa).109 Since the figure in the Persian Sea reaches out towards the islands labelled “ruby mine” (kān-i yāqūt) and Sri Lanka (kūh-i sarandīb), this link might make sense. However, the Maghreb does not display the Pillars of Hercules or point to them through captions. If perhaps the illustrator simply forgot to include them, could the naked figures depict Alexander the Great?

Combining naked female features with a halo and wings to portray Alexander the Great would have added injury to insult. Most illustrated manuscripts reserved halos for prophets, like a fifteenth-century anthology created for the Timurid Sultan Iskandar (r. 1403–1415) that shows Abraham amid the flames with a golden halo, shaped like fire.110 A coeval copy of Ḥāfiẓ-i Abrū’s (d. 1430) Summary of Chronicles (Majmaʿ al-Tavārīkh) holds an image depicting Muhammad’s calling to prophethood by Gabriel, in which the prophet also has a flame-like halo.111 In a fourteenth century copy of Balʿamī’s History, prophets and Abbasid caliphs alike appear with halos.112 In the Great Mongol Shāhnāma, halos also extended to kings like the Sasanian Bahrām V (r. 420–38), who is shown killing the horned wolf with a golden halo encircling his head.113 Alexander the Great, on the other hand, has both royal headgear and a halo in the Great Mongol Shāhnāma, for example, at the talking tree.114 The Ottoman Alexander Romance (İskendernāme) by Ahmedī, dating from 1416, portrays many men with halos, including Alexander the Great.115 Except for this deviations, most manuscripts dating from later periods presented Alexander the Great without a halo, such as the sixteenth century Safavid copy of Niẓāmī’s (d. 1209) Five Poems (Khamsa). In a scene with the prophets Khidr and Ilyas, Alexander the Great searches for the fountain of life. While the prophets have flame-like halos, Alexander the Great appears with royal headgear.116 Considering most coeval manuscripts refrained from depicting Alexander the Great with a halo, the figure in the Persian Sea of The Odd One probably represented someone else.117

The figures in The Odd One resemble illustrations from scientific manuscripts, such as al-Qazwīnī’s Wonders of Creation. As the oldest copy of al-Qazwīnī’s work118 shows angels with halos and wings like the figures from The Odd One, they might have represented angels as well. However, adding tails to angels would have been an odd choice. Adorning the duck at the bottom of the Maghreb with a halo also seems unusual. While angels, prophets and kings may have appeared with halos in illustrated manuscripts, animals usually did not.119 However, a copy of al-Qazwīnī’s Wonders of Creation that dates from the turn of the fourteenth century shows many birds with halos. As Stefano Carboni has shown in his in-depth study, the manuscript represents an outlier in the manuscript tradition of al-Qazwīnī’s work. Possibly originating from Mesopotamia, the so-called London Qazwīnī remained uncopied.120 If the illustrator for The Odd One had seen this manuscript, the haloed birds might have inspired him to reproduce this unusual motif in the translation of al-Iṣṭakhrī’s work. However, considering the other ducks in the Maghreb and the Caspian Sea remained without halos, the illustrator did not introduce haloed animals as a new motif for the translation. Alternatively, the illustrator might have failed to grasp the halo’s meaning in general or used it to cover up a mistake. The illustrator may have started drawing the halo before he realized the figure beneath it was a duck and simply completed the illustration so as not to disrupt the entire image. However, illustrators often sketched the images before filling them with precious pigments, so that the illustrator would have had a chance to see his mistake. Taking all details into account, the images in The Odd One suggest the illustrator had no clue about the message all figures were meant to communicate. Had the illustrator been working from memory only, he may have confused many features. If so, was it a manuscript of the Book of Routes and Realms he remembered or a different work?

A fifteenth-century copy of the Book of Routes and Realms might shed some light on the motifs behind the figures in The Odd One. Possibly created in Shiraz around 1460, the Persian copy is brimming over with miniatures in every map.121 Regarding the Persian Sea in this copy (Ms. B. 334), it shows Jonah and the whale, which is represented by a fish. As we will see in the next chapter, the miniature did not relate to al-Iṣṭakhrī’s text, but probably originated from other genres. While emerging from the fish’s mouth, the naked Jonah reaches for the garment towards the angel Gabriel who hands Jonah clothing from the African shore (Fig. 17). Since the disposition of Jonah’s body corresponds to the figure in The Odd One, the illustrator might have aimed to reproduce the motif. Considering the fish are separate from the figure and Gabriel is missing, the illustrator in The Odd One would have clearly failed at presenting this image. However, if the illustrator only recalled ‘naked’ and ‘fish,’ then he managed to amend the Persian Sea according to his memory. As I have not yet had access to the map of the Maghreb in Ms. B. 334, I cannot say whether it featured miniatures similar to The Odd One. However, the map of Egypt in Ms. B. 334 shows a tusked fish in the Mediterranean and Moses at Mount Sinai.122 While this manuscript depicts Moses with headgear only, another coeval copy presents him with a flame-like halo (Ms. Mixt. 344).123 If the illustrator of The Odd One had seen these manuscripts or other copies holding similar illustrations, he might have tried to recreate them in the Maghreb. This might explain the duck with a halo that is located approximately where Moses was placed in Mss. 334 and Mixt. 344. The illustrator might have remembered the halo in that position, but put it on a duck instead. Additionally, if this is true, it means he confused the tusked fish with the only human in the map, Moses, and gave him a tail.

While The Odd One might have echoed the other manuscripts to some extent, the illustrator’s rendition of the miniatures raises too many questions to be conclusive. Not only does their meaning remain unclear, we also have no clues as to why the illustrator only embellished some maps in The Odd One, whereas his models likely featured miniatures in every map. Since most miniatures in The Odd One appear rather clumsy, the illustrator was hardly working in a courtly workshop. However, by adding miniatures to al-Iṣṭakhrī’s maps, The Odd One demonstrates how illustrators transformed new copies. If The Odd One included the miniatures right away, the translation would show that the boom in illustrated manuscripts impacted geography as well. In contrast to the text of the Book of Routes and Realms that the translator barely modified, al-Iṣṭakhrī’s maps served as a playground for picking up designs from other works. In case the miniatures were first added to the seventeenth century copy in Kabul, The Odd One would at least reveal that motifs circulated across large distances.

3 The Lonely One

The second translation of al-Iṣṭakhrī’s Book of Routes and Realms has survived in only one manuscript, which is why I call it The Lonely One.124 In 1811, Sir William Ouseley (d. 1842) bought the manuscript in Shiraz. Before his journey, Ouseley had served in the King’s Royal Irish Regiment in India for six years until 1794. Afterwards, Ouseley went to Leiden to study Persian. As a passionate manuscript collector, Ouseley published catalogues of oriental collections as well as the “Persian Miscellanies. An Essay to Facilitate the Reading of Persian Manuscripts.”125 Moreover, Ouseley edited and translated several Arabic and Persian works, among them al-Iṣṭakhrī’s Book of Routes and Realms, which he attributed to Ibn Ḥawqal.126 Having failed to become a government envoy to the Qajar court, Ouseley finally came to Iran as secretary to his brother Gore, who was the British ambassador in Tehran between 1810 and 1815. After Ouseley’s death in 1942, the Bodleian Library in Oxford acquired his manuscript collection, including The Lonely One.127

The slightly damaged manuscript in Oxford is not the original translation. In the colophon, the anonymous copyist tells us he created the copy in 1297 by collating the model. However, we do not know if his model was the original or yet another copy. Since the copyist added that he performed his work by correction (taṣḥīḥ), he may have had more than one copy at his disposal. Several marginal notes marked ṣaḥḥa also point to different manuscripts the copyist consulted. Copyists used ṣaḥḥa to indicate they had copied words directly from their model, even if their spelling might have seen odd – much like sic is still used today.128 When using more than one model to create a new copy, some copyists also marked deviating versions of the main text with ṣaḥḥa.129 Since the marginal notes in The Lonely One comprise sentences which appear in the same hand as the main text, the copyist might have indicated he had taken the additional information from a different version of the same work. If this is the case, it means both the original and other copies of The Lonely One vanished into thin air.

The Lonely One was prepared by Muhammad b. Asʿad b. ʿAbd Allah al-Ḥanafī al-Tustarī, who translated other works into Persian as well. When Hermann Éthé catalogued the manuscript in 1889, he reproduced the translator’s name from the colophon with the nisba al-Ḥanaẓī instead of al-Ḥanafī. However, in the edition of The Lonely One, Īraj Afshār scrutinized the name and concluded the copyist must have misspelled al-Ḥanafī.130 Not only did Afshār correct the manuscript’s date to 1297 (instead of 1272 in the catalogue), he also attributed other translations created at the beginning of the fourteenth century to al-Ḥanafī. During Öljeytü Khan’s reign (1304–1316), the Stories of Prophets (Qiṣaṣ al-Anbiyāʾ) by al-Būshanjī (fl. tenth/eleventh c.) was translated into Persian. Dating from 1331, the earliest copy of the Persian Stories of Prophets attributes the translation to Muhammad b. Asʿad b. ʿAbd Allah al-Ḥanafī al-Tustarī.131 In the coeval Selected History (Tārīkh-i Guzīda), Mustawfī additionally credited the same author (yet Saʿd instead of Asʿad) with composing the Anthology of Stories (Muntakhab Jāmiʿ al-Ḥikāyāt) during Öljeytü’s reign.132 By comparing fragments from the translations with The Lonely One, Afshār determined that all three texts must have stemmed from the same al-Ḥanafī, whose name appeared in different versions. According to Kātib Çelebi’s (d. 1657) encyclopedia Kashf al-Ẓunūn, al-Ḥanafī died after 1330. Taking the date in the Oxford copy into account, The Lonely One was probably among al-Ḥanafī’s first translations close to the end of the thirteenth century.

While the sources mention al-Ḥanafī, the prince to whom he dedicated The Lonely One remains a mystery. The introduction tells us Qāzān b. al-Amīr al-Kabīr al-Ajall al-Muẓaffar Tavakkultimūr found an Arabic geography with maps and ordered al-Ḥanafī to translate it in an accurate, but simple way, much like The Odd One.133 However, we do not learn who Qāzān was, where he ruled or how he found the Arabic manuscript. Based on similar names in the family of Genghis Khan, Afshār supposed Qāzān might have also belonged to the Mongol house. Although I could not locate Qāzān either, his name as well as al-Ḥanafī’s activities show that The Lonely One also related to the translation movement in the Iranian lands after the Mongol conquests.

Before The Lonely One reached Oxford, the copy seems to have changed hands several times. Scattered across various pages, five seals in the manuscript indicate different individuals owned The Lonely One at some point. The three seals on the opening page have faded or have been smudged, making them impossible to decipher. After comparing the remaining two seals to existing databases and reference works, I still could not attribute them to a person. However, one of the seals provides the date 1623.134 Considering the age of the copy and the fact that it changed locations, even if it were within one city only, more copies of The Lonely One might have been created for the different owners. As the history of the Book of Routes and Realms and other works like al-Ḥanafī’s show, manuscripts have been often attributed to authors other than al-Iṣṭakhrī. Since The Lonely One neither features a title nor an author for the Arabic model, the Persian translation may have been connected to a different work that eluded my search. After all, a nineteenth century copy of the Book of Routes and Realms has been listed in the catalogue of the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin as the work of al-Wāqidī (d. 822) who was a historian and expert in Islamic law.135 Thanks to the image search in the digitized collection of the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin, I stumbled across this manuscript. With ever more collections transferring online, we may discover more copies of The Lonely One soon.

As the binding of The Lonely One has been compromised, the translation is incomplete. After Syria, the text breaks off and resumes in the second half of Khuzestan, which means that the chapters on the Mediterranean, Mesopotamia and Iraq are entirely missing. As the catchword before the gap does not match the first word after the gap, the folios in-between seem to have fallen out.136 Since all other catchwords in the manuscript correspond to the first word on the next page, the interruption further suggests The Lonely One used to hold more folios. In addition to these physical clues, the introduction to The Lonely One does not indicate that al-Ḥanafī left out regions on purpose. Considering al-Ḥanafī did mention Iraq and Khuzestan in the introduction, leaving them out afterwards would have been inconsistent. However, the introduction does not mention the Mediterranean and Mesopotamia, so we could assume al-Ḥanafī had chosen to skip them from the start. Nevertheless, he also did not refer to al-Jibāl, but the region is part of The Lonely One. Therefore, the introduction does not point to al-Ḥanafī deliberately omitting sections of the Book of Routes and Realms. Assuming the now missing chapters once belonged to The Lonely One, al-Ḥanafī based the translation on an Arabic manuscript from the branch TransArmIraq that included details we do not find in The Odd One.137 As no existing copy of the Book of Routes and Realms matches the map design in The Lonely One exactly, TransArmIraq appears to have circulated in more versions than we can access today.138 Moreover, this branch seems to have been more widespread in the Iranian lands than any other, since the third translation also related to the branch.

Al-Ḥanafī maintained the style and content of the Book of Routes and Realms, changing only minor details. In contrast to The Odd One, al-Ḥanafī did not update the text to include the Shāhnāma, the Farīghūnids or any other dynasty for that matter. However, similarly to The Odd One, he changed several events into past tense like ʿAbd al-Raḥmān III’s rule.139 In the section about the fauna in Egypt, al-Ḥanafī embellished al-Iṣṭakhrī’s reference to a lizard (saqanqūr) with two lines of verse, which neither Afshār nor I could attribute to a poet.140 Considering al-Ḥanafī’s literary expertise, he might have composed them himself to integrate what he had learned about this animal. While translating most of al-Iṣṭakhrī’s work to the letter, this delicate change suggests al-Ḥanafī spotted a sentence where he could leave a trace of himself without infringing on the integrity of the Book of Routes and Realms. As for al-Iṣṭakhrī’s personal accounts, al-Ḥanafī did not introduce them with “the author of the book says” like in The Odd One. However, he sometimes transformed al-Iṣṭakhrī’s “I” as seen in the account about fruit bearing trees in Mecca. In The Lonely One, al-Ḥanafī presented it as “nobody has seen any fruit bearing trees other than palms.”141 Moreover, al-Ḥanafī put several accounts in Transoxania into passive voice.142 Al-Ḥanafī may have changed al-Iṣṭakhrī’s first person accounts if he felt they did not require further validation because they presented common knowledge. When details eluded al-Ḥanafī’s expertise, like ambergris in Santarém,143 he might have kept the “I” as a signpost to the author of the Arabic text. All amendments considered, The Lonely One stays as close as possible to al-Iṣṭakhrī’s Book of Routes and Realms without framing the Mongol conquests like in other coeval genres.

The maps in The Lonely One have not been adjusted or embellished like in The Odd One. Due to the lost folios, The Lonely One holds seventeen maps, not including the Mediterranean, Mesopotamia, Iraq and Khuzestan. As typical for the branch TransArmIraq, the world map as well as the maps of Khurasan and Transoxania make up two pages each, whereas the remaining maps are presented on one page. Moreover, the outlines in The Lonely One match what is most likely the oldest manuscript in this branch (kept today in Medina), with Syria exemplifying the connection best.144 In The Lonely One, one of the rivers cutting into the landmass from the Mediterranean also crosses the mountain range. Moreover, the Dead Sea and the Sea of Galilee appear vertically aligned, as opposed to horizontally or diagonally in other copies from the same branch.145 Additionally, two semicircles surround the fortress Jisr Manbij (also known as Qaʿlat Najm) in the bottom left corner: the Euphrates River as well as a line marking the city’s contour. Only the manuscript in Medina, The Lonely One and the third translation include two semicircles around Jisr Manbij.

The muted colors in The Lonely One lend the maps less brilliance than in The Odd One and the third translation. In contrast to the first translation, The Lonely One includes circles and polygons around city names in the maps. However, no colors fill the shapes, which emphasizes all other elements, such as water bodies and mountains. With mountains represented in violet and water bodies in blue and green, the maps in The Lonely One center on dark and cold colors that are occasionally contrasted by red islands and red contours for cities. Although The Lonely One maintains the distinction between salt and fresh water, the world map shows all water bodies in blue only. If the Arabic model already displayed this coloring in the world map, The Lonely One demonstrates how the branch TransArmIraq oscillated between distinguishing salt from fresh water and merging all water bodies to blue like in the third Persian translation.146 In addition to the text, the maps in The Lonely One illustrate the translation was meant to preserve al-Iṣṭakhrī Book of Routes and Realms without adjusting the material to coeval trends like framing the Mongol conquests and miniature painting.

4 The Popular One

The third translation of al-Iṣṭakhrī’s Book of Routes and Realms makes up most Persian copies, which is why I call it The Popular One. With 32 manuscripts, The Popular One not only surpasses the other Persian translations, but also all Arabic versions, which currently include 21 manuscripts.147 Even if we account for several Arabic copies that have been lost, The Popular One ensured the Book of Routes and Realms made it to the nineteenth century. While only one Arabic manuscript dates from the nineteenth century,148 The Popular One surfaced in ten copies.149

We do not know who translated The Popular One or for whom he did so. In contrast to the other translations, The Popular One does not include an introduction that could help narrowing down where and when the translation was created. The earliest manuscript referring to the year of the copy dates from 1307–8 (Ms. 972).150 However, another copy without a colophon has been attributed to the thirteenth century (Ms. 5405),151 so that The Popular One probably appeared around the turn of the fourteenth century. In addition to establishing a time frame, both manuscripts suggest the translation circulated in different circles.

In one corner, we have Ms. 5405, whose quality may be described as humble, at best. The writing suggests a copyist who had not mastered the regular naskh type, but rather hastened through the text to get it done. No illuminations embellish the headings in this copy and even the maps have been sketched rather than crafted. Moreover, only seven maps appear in Ms. 5405. However, fourteen empty pages in-between the text indicate that the copy was meant to include more illustrations. As the maps and the text seem to have come from the same hand, the person creating Ms. 5405 might have grown impatient with reproducing the images from his model and decided to leave this work unfinished. Alternatively, he might have felt he was not up to the task, as his sloppy sketches clearly show. Whatever the reason he stopped drawing the maps, the manuscript suggests the copyist created it for personal use and not a wealthy client.

In the corner opposite, Ms. 972 showcases The Popular One. The book title is drowning in a kaleidoscope of gold, and geometric as well as floral patterns are used. Moreover, flowers and gold surround all headings in the copy and every map features cities that have been filled with gold. Although the manuscript’s size (ca. 15 × 25 cm) does not match large-scale manuscripts from the same period, the copy indicates a client who could afford to shower the pages in costly pigments. While the owner of Ms. 5405 probably stored the manuscript among literature he valued for its content, Ms. 972 might have been mounted in a library showing off the owner’s wealth – not only in the fourteenth century: the Safavid Shah Abbas I (r. 1588–1629) was among the later owners who marked Ms. 972 with their seal.152

As with The Odd One and The Lonely One, the original of The Popular One seems to be missing. Considering the text in Ms. 972 mostly corresponds to Ms. 5405, both manuscripts had the same source. However, the elaborate maps in Ms. 972 indicate the copy could not have been based on Ms. 5405. Since both copies are damaged and missing several parts, reconstructing their relationship to each other is difficult. Nevertheless, another manuscript probably served as a model for both copies. As this model seems to be lost, I cannot establish whether it was the original of The Popular One or yet another copy.

The first manuscript placing The Popular One in Isfahan dates from 1325 (Ms. 3515).153 The colophon ascribes the translation to Ibn Sāvjī (fl. 1332) who is known for translating the astronomic treatise Solution of the Problems (Ḥall al-Mushkilāt) by Ḥakīm Ṭamṭam al-Hindī as well as sayings by Ali.154 Since Ms. 3515 matches the wording in the previous copies (Mss. 972 and 5405), The Popular One originated from one translator who might have been Ibn Sāvjī. However, as the earlier copies did not ascribe The Popular One to anyone, the colophon in Ms. 3515 might have credited Ibn Sāvjī with translating the Book of Routes and Realms after the fact.

To add to the confusion surrounding the origins of The Popular One, the translation circulated in two versions. While Mss. 5405 and 972 related to the Arabic branch TransArmIraq, the copy naming Isfahan and Ms. 1331 that surfaced at the turn to the fourteenth century155 related to TransIraq. Except for the marker in Armenia, Arrān and Azerbaijan that separates the branches, both versions of The Popular One are mostly identical regarding the content and style. Therefore, we are not dealing with two separate translations, but rather consecutive versions of the same effort. If the translator had published his work based on a manuscript from TransIraq and only afterwards came across a copy belonging to TransArmIraq, he might have collated the missing marker from Armenia, Arrān and Azerbaijan. As a result, both versions circulated at the same time. In fact, Ms. 1331 shares details from both branches of The Popular One, pointing to intermediate copies surfacing during the translation process.156 When Afshār edited The Popular One in 1969, he accommodated the version relating to TransArmIraq157 in the footnotes and presented the version based on TransIraq in the main text.158

The Popular One further reveals that the Baseline was not in demand in the Iranian lands. Considering all Persian translations originated from TransIraq or TransArmIraq, these branches were at least more available than the Baseline. As the first manuscript from this branch came to light in Istanbul in the fifteenth century,159 the Baseline seems to have circulated in numbers that do not compare to the other branches. However, this ‘print run’ might have related to the evolution of the Book of Routes and Realms rather than a taste for TransIraq and TransArmIraq. If al-Iṣṭakhrī started amending his work right away, only few copies of the Baseline might have seen the light of day.

Moreover, The Popular One also suggests more Arabic copies of the Book of Routes and Realms had circulated until the thirteenth century than those covered in my survey. Both versions of The Popular One present maps that were reproduced from Arabic models without major changes or adornments as in The Odd One. However, none of the existing manuscripts from TransIraq and TransArmIraq could have served as models for both versions of The Popular One. As several copies of The Popular One and the other translations show, manuscripts suffered from water, weather and wear. While some of this damage resulted in incomplete or incorrectly bound copies, others were lost or destroyed. Considering the upheavals connected with the Mongol conquests, we can count ourselves lucky the Book of Routes and Realms did not disappear altogether. Additionally, the translations help reconstruct how al-Iṣṭakhrī’s maps evolved. Due to damage and rip, the map of the Arabian Peninsula is missing from all Arabic branches until the thirteenth century. Assuming the Persian translations reproduced their model maps, they allow us to glimpse the design of the Arabian Peninsula in TransIraq as well as TransArmIraq.160

Damage to the binding probably also caused the TransIraq branch of The Popular One to circulate in two versions. Ms. 3515 that refers to Ibn Sāvjī in Isfahan is the first copy in which Egypt breaks off after the introduction and only resumes for the last paragraphs. As a result, Egypt’s map is not part of the manuscript. Moreover, the middle third of the consecutive chapter about Syria (including its map) is missing as well.161 The microfilm copy of Ms. 3515 that I examined clearly shows the manuscript’s binding has been compromised, which could have caused folios to fall out. If we compare the edition to the manuscript, the missing sections would have fit on approximately two bi-folios for Egypt and one for Syria. As the units making up quires, bi-folios could easily get lost if the binding was damaged. Moreover, the catchwords in Ms. 3515 usually connect to the next page, except for the gaps. Since the breaks leave sentences unfinished, they were clearly not created on purpose. When Ms. 3515 was created in 1325, it probably still kept all folios that displayed a Persian version of TransIraq. Since the next manuscript with the same gaps dates from the sixteenth century,162 we only know the folios were lost or removed in the meantime.

While The Popular One maintained al-Iṣṭakhrī’s style and content, the translator stepped in more often than in The Odd One or The Lonely One. Some changes aimed at correcting the Book of Routes and Realms, without infringing on al-Iṣṭakhrī’s work. As in the other translations, The Popular One presented ʿAbd al-Raḥmān III’s rule in past tense.163 Moreover, The Popular One refers to infidels in al-Daylam in the past.164 Most switches to the past appear in Fārs and Khurasan, suggesting the translator was more familiar with these regions. Although the translator knew ministers and rulers like Ḥajar b. Ahmad b. al-Ḥasan were no longer in office in Fārs, he did not update the information.165 The same holds true for Marw in Khurasan, where the translator tells us melons used to be cultivated.166 Again in Khurasan, the translator omitted al-Iṣṭakhrī’s references to clay buildings in many cities, maintaining only those for Qāyin and Balkh.167 Although these changes show the translator cared about accuracy, he refrained from introducing his insights into coeval building techniques.

In addition, the translator adjusted some sections to improve readability. When al-Iṣṭakhrī listed 40 cities in Fārs, he added “with/without pulpit” after every entry.168 Rather than boring the reader with the litany, the translator chose to cluster those cities with a pulpit and those without.169 As I have shown above, al-Iṣṭakhrī arranged the regional maps according to cities with pulpits. Therefore, the repetitive section might have assisted him in laying out the items on the map of Fārs. For the translator of The Popular One, however, the list made just as much sense in clusters. However, in chapters like Sijistān, the translator overplayed his hand. When listing the distances between four cities, al-Iṣṭakhrī had indicated one day between each of them. In The Popular One, the translator summarized the information as “the distance between them is four days in total.”170 While not false, the new version rendered the section less accurate. By cutting corners regarding distances throughout The Popular One, the translator neglected a key component in geographic works. Although listing distances might have appeared dull to the translator, these segments had settled in geographic literature from the ninth century onwards. In adjusting the distances to his taste, the translator indicated he was not familiar with the genre.

When dealing with al-Iṣṭakhrī’s voice, the translator become bolder and even appropriated it. For the most part, The Popular One maintained al-Iṣṭakhrī’s first person accounts. In several regions, the translator introduced the accounts with “the author of the book says” like in The Odd One.171 Moreover, he cloaked his own experience in al-Iṣṭakhrī’s “I” on several occasions such as in Syria. While al-Iṣṭakhrī had commented on Baalbek’s buildings as the largest and most impressive in the region, the translator added “that I saw.”172 Similar changes appear in the Arabian Peninsula, Khuzestan, al-Jibāl, al-Daylam, the Caspian Sea, the Desert of Khurasan and Fārs as well as Transoxania.173 Rather than flagging his personal experience with “the translator of the book says,” the translator chose to appropriate al-Iṣṭakhrī’s voice. This strategy allowed him to leave a mark in the Book of Routes and Realms without drawing a client’s or buyer’s attention to the changes.

Not only do the changes in first person accounts suggest the translator travelled in the Islamicate East, one adjustment even indicates he came from Sīrāf in Fārs. Positioned along trade routes in the Persian Gulf leading as far as China, Sīrāf prospered in the ninth and tenth centuries.174 When al-Iṣṭakhrī described the city, he pointed out that its inhabitants were the most sinister in the region. Moreover, he emphasized that some of them owned 60,000,000 Dirham.175 For The Popular One, the translator turned the section into: “Many merchants live in this city. The author of the book says I saw them and every one of them owns 60,000,000 Dirham.”176 To shift the focus from the people’s negative character to their wealth, the translator hijacked al-Iṣṭakhrī’s voice. While the occasional “I” the translator added might not have caught the reader’s attention, crediting the author with the observation lent the translator’s view authority. Considering the translator did not push the envelope for any other city, he (or his client) seemed to have cherished Sīrāf too much to ignore al-Iṣṭakhrī’s words. However, similar to the other adjustments, the translator wove his opinion into the fabric of the Book of Routes and Realms without weighing down the text with new information. This strategy suggests he aimed at preserving al-Iṣṭakhrī’s work rather than exploiting it for his or his client’s interests.

For the most part, the translator updated minor details in the Book of Routes and Realms. When describing Marw, he added the city had an artisans’ market, which al-Iṣṭakhrī had not mentioned.177 Regarding Rayy in al-Daylam, al-Iṣṭakhrī had mentioned graves of prominent figures such as Muhammad b. al-Ḥasan al-Shaybānī (d. ca. 805), a Ḥanafī jurist, who served as a judge in Baghdad during Hārūn al-Rashīd’s rule. On route with the caliph, al-Shaybānī died in Rayy.178 In The Popular One, the translator listed the grave of another Ḥanafī scholar who died in Rayy, Hishām b. ʿAbd Allah al-Rāzī (d. 817). Moreover, the translator mentioned the grave of the Sufi Sheikh Ibrāhīm al-Khawwāṣ (d. 903).179 While the translator illustrated his familiarity with the Islamicate East through the additions, he tailored them to the scope of Book of Routes and Realms. Rather than introducing more contemporary scholars and their graves, the translator limited his amendments to figures al-Iṣṭakhrī could have known about.

However, the translator broke his pattern when he imbedded a tale in the Persian Sea. Al-Iṣṭakhrī had mentioned a strait in the Red Sea, where the wind opened vortices no ship could escape. Located between al-Qulzum and Ayla, Tārān was not simply the most dangerous place in the Persian Sea; according to al-Iṣṭakhrī, the pharaoh had drowned there, which probably referred to Moses crossing the Red Sea.180 In The Popular One, the translator related a story about a ship that got caught in the vortex.181 After being stuck for a long time, a giant fish emerged from the sea and devoured a person from the crew every day. A wise man submitted the crew could escape their doom by sacrificing a member and using the fish’s strength. The crew could attach the volunteer to a rope that would yank the ship from the vortex once the fish swam away with its prey. When one member agreed to make the sacrifice, the crew succeeded in escaping the vortex.

The story the translator added seems to fuse subjects from different tales of seafarers. Abū Zayd al-Sīrāfī (fl. tenth c.) explained how dangerous the sea around al-Qulzum was in the Accounts of China and India (Akhbār al-Ṣīn wa-l-Hind).182 However, he did not mention any giant fish or vortices. In the Pearl of Wonders (Kharīdat al-ʿAjāʾib wa-Farīdat al-Gharāʾib), Ibn al-Wardī (d. 1457) described a fish in the sea of al-Qulzum that was bigger than 100 meters and could sink ships with a beat of its tail.183 Although Ibn al-Wardī published his work well after The Popular One was created, he had based it on previous literature such as al-Ḥarrānī’s (fl. 1332) Collection of Diversity and Diversion of the Aggrieved (Jāmiʿ al-Funūn wa-Salwat al-Maḥzūn).184 Considering most authors incorporated material from older sources in their work, the story about the large fish might have already circulated during the thirteenth century, coinciding with The Popular One.

Fish and ropes played a central role in a different story in the Pearl of Wonders that related to a location possibly close to al-Qulzum. In the chapter on the western part of the Encircling Ocean, Ibn al-Wardī tells us about a vortex ships cannot escape.185 Some merchants reported how a rough wind had led them astray and that their blind, but skilled, captain kept asking them whether they could see anything. After some time, they told him they saw a black bird above the water, whereupon the captain became agitated and declared that their inevitable doom had arrived. When they came closer to the bird, the merchants realized they had actually spotted ships and on them, all people were dead. As the merchants lost all hope, the captain offered to save them in return for half their fortune. When they agreed, the captain had them fill two bottles with fat and hang them from the ship as bate for the fish. Moreover, the captain asked them to attach ropes to the dead from the other ships and to toss them in the sea as well. As the fish began devouring the dead, they started pulling the ship from its position, until it emerged from the vortex. While the captain saved the day in rather a sneaky than wise way, the character and his solution echoes the story in The Popular One. However, giant creatures and men sacrificing themselves to escape the doom in the vortex appear in other stories as well.

When portraying the Persian Sea in the Wonders of Creation, al-Qazwīnī also brought up a vortex.186 In the section preceding the Sea of al-Qulzum, al-Qazwīnī quoted from a book he called Wonders of the Sea (ʿAjāʾib al-Baḥr). The story revolved around a man from Isfahan who could not make ends meet and set sail on a ship with merchants. When the ship got sucked into the famous vortex in the sea, a wise man told the people on board he would strive to find a solution, but one of them may have to sacrifice himself. The desperate man stepped forward, saying he could face the doom as he had nothing to lose. However, in exchange for sacrificing his life, the merchants would have to pay his debts and take care of his children. When they agreed, the wise man told the volunteer to cross over to an island nearby and beat the drum he was given. The volunteer did as he was told and spotted the biggest tree he had ever seen on the island. In the evening, a giant bird landed on the tree, frightening the man. After a while, the man gathered all his courage and held on to the bird’s claws as it was about to fly away. The man’s courage was rewarded when the bird set him down on a pile of hay in a port. People gathered around him and brought him to their king who asked the man to tell his story. Upon hearing it, the king asked the man to stay with them and offered him a lot of money. After the sea had calmed, the man saw that his ship had arrived in the port. When his crew asked the man what had happened, he told them God had rewarded his sacrifice in a marvelous way.

Similarly to The Popular One, al-Qazwīnī’s story features a vortex in the Red Sea, a wise man and one who sacrifices himself. Like the captain in the Pearl of Wonders, the man asked the crew to compensate his act with money. However, the man’s sacrifice in the Wonders of Creation does not directly lead to saving the ship. While his crew arrives in the port on their own, he is personally rewarded for his actions. Moreover, instead of a fish, al-Qazwīnī’s tale presents a giant bird as the man’s salvation. With this element, al-Qazwīnī echoed tales about the bird Roc (rukhkh).

Starting with Bozorg b. Shahriyār’s (fl. tenth c.) Wonders of India (ʿAjāʾib al-Hind), seafarers told stories about a mythical bird that is huge enough to obscure the sun. Closely related to the myth of Simurgh, the Roc probably originated from the stories told by the Taoist Chuang Tzu (d. ca. 290 BCE). In the Transcendental Bliss, Chuang Tzu described a giant fish called Leviathan in the northern sea that changed into an equally huge bird called Roc.187 Cosmology from the Islamicate world also featured a giant fish (bahamūt) that supported the bull who carried the world.188 However, the fish did not turn into a bird. Although the giant bird was not always called Roc, it appeared in different stories about stranded seafarers like in the Wonders of India. After a ship had run ashore on an island close to Sri Lanka, the crew was stuck for such a long time that many members died. The few members who were left saw a giant bird landing on the island and departing again, opening a window of opportunity for escape. They decided they would try, one after the other, to clench the bird’s claws to be transported to a different place. The first man descended on a mountain, where a shepherd found him the next morning, and told him he had arrived in an Indian village. As for the rest of his companions, they followed after him in the same way.189 As in al-Qazwīnī’s Wonders of Creation, the giant bird rescued the seafarers from an island. However, they devised their own plan without a captain or a wise man instructing them. Moreover, all men participated in this Hail Mary pass instead of one sacrificing himself.

Although the different stories do not match the tale in The Popular One exactly, they suggest the translator blended narratives from travelogues he had read or heard. If the translator had travelled as much as the changes in The Popular One indicate, he had probably come across more than one fabulous story. However, he chose to embellish the Book of Routes and Realms only once in this fashion, suggesting the Sea of al-Qulzum mattered to him for some reason. He might have lived at the Red Sea for some time or he might have originated from the Persian Gulf, where similar stories circulated that inspired him to incorporate at least one of them in al-Iṣṭakhrī’s text. Whatever the translator’s motivation, the intervention reveals once more that he amended the Book of Routes and Realms to accommodate his experience and knowledge rather than to frame recent events in the Iranian lands.

While the trend in miniature painting, the translations into Persian and the framing of the Mongol conquests drew attention to the Book of Routes and Realms in the thirteenth century, the three translations only echo these trends. The person illustrating The Odd One attempted to adorn al-Iṣṭakhrī’s maps with symbolic images that stemmed from other illustrated manuscripts, whereas The Lonely One and The Popular One did not alter the maps. As for changes relating to the text of the Book of Routes and Realms, most translators quite literally stuck to the script, although they introduced cosmetic changes in some instances. Even the translator of The Popular One, who pushed the envelope in comparison to his colleagues, changed al-Iṣṭakhrī’s text in a way that the reader would not identify as stemming from a thirteenth-century context. While each translation displays individual traits, they all point to an interest in preserving al-Iṣṭakhrī’s work rather than updating it. Although the makeup and history of the Islamicate world had changed by the time the translations surfaced, they portrayed the mamlakat al-islām according to al-Iṣṭakhrī’s tenth century perspective. In addition to al-Iṣṭakhrī’s beautiful maps and focus on the Iranian lands, his timeless design and encyclopedic outlook might have also sparked the interest in the Book of Routes and Realms. This appeal caused the Book of Routes and Realms to survive the Mongol conquests and flourish afterwards, mostly in The Popular One. Not only did the third translation bring about most copies of the Book of Routes and Realms, it also contributed to new interpretations at the Ottoman court in the sixteenth century.


Rossabi, Morris (2002): The Mongols and Their Legacy. In Komaroff, Linda (Ed.): The Legacy of Genghis Khan. Courtly Art and Culture in Western Asia, 1256–1353. New York City, p. 16.


Carboni, Stefano (2002): Synthesis. Continuity and Innovation in Ilkhanid Art. In Komaroff, Linda (Ed.): The Legacy of Genghis Khan. Courtly Art and Culture in Western Asia, 1256–1353. New York City, p. 209; Melville, Charles (2002): The Mongols in Iran. In Komaroff, Linda (Ed.): The Legacy of Genghis Khan. Courtly Art and Culture in Western Asia, 1256–1353. New York City, p. 38; for introductions to the topic see Komaroff, Linda (Ed.) (2002): The Legacy of Genghis Khan. Courtly Art and Culture in Western Asia, 1256–1353. New York City, Komaroff, Linda (Ed.) (2006): Beyond the Legacy of Genghis Khan. Leiden and Pfeiffer, Judith (Ed.) (2014): Politics, Patronage, and the Transmission of Knowledge in 13th–15th century Tabriz. Leiden.


Amanat, Abbas and Ashraf, Assef (2018): The Persianate World. Rethinking a Shared Sphere (Iran Studies, 18). Leiden; see also Dabashi, Hamid (2012): The World of Persian Literary Humanism. Berlin, Cambridge, Mass. and Green, Nile (Ed.) (2019): The Persianate World. The Frontiers of a Eurasian Lingua Franca. Oakland, California; Bernd Fragner has coined the term “Persophonie” for the catchment of Persian in literary circles (including spoken Persian), stretching from the Ottoman to the Mughal Empire (Fragner, Bert G. (1999): Die “Persophonie”. Regionalität, Identität und Sprachkontakt in der Geschichte Asiens (ANOR, 5). Berlin); see also Perry, John R. (2012): New Persian. Expansion, Standardization and Inclusivity. In Spooner, Brian and Hanaway, William L. (Eds.): Literacy in the Persianate World. Writing and the Social Order. Philadelphia, p. 70; Spuler and Marcinkowski, Persian Historiography and Geography, p. 11.


Green, Nile (2019): Introduction. The Frontiers of the Persianate World (800–1900). In Green, Nile (Ed.): The Persianate World. The Frontiers of a Eurasian Lingua Franca. Oakland, California, p. 11; for a linguistic introduction to New Persian, see Paul, Ludwig: Persian Language. i. Early New Persian. EIr online; on Persian in non-Arabic script, see for instance, Henning, Walter Bruno (1957): The Inscriptions of Tang-i Azao. In BSOAS 20, pp. 335–342; Maggi, Mauro and Orsatti, Paola (Eds.) (2011): The Persian Language in History (Beiträge zur Iranistik, 33). Wiesbaden and Sims-Williams, Nicholas (2011): Early New Persian in Syriac Script. Two Texts from Turfan. In BSOAS 74 (3), pp. 353–374.


Fillipone, Ela (2011): The Language of the Qorʾān-e Qods and its Sistanic Dialectal Background. In Maggi, Mauro and Orsatti, Paola (Eds.): The Persian Language in History (Beiträge zur Iranistik, 33). Wiesbaden, p. 226.


Daniel, Elton L. (2012): The Rise and Development of Persian Historiography. In Melville, Charles and Yarshater, Ehsan (Eds.): Persian Historiography (A History of Persian Literature, 10). London, p. 103; Hanaway, William L. (2012): Secretaries, Poets, and the Literary Language. In Spooner, Brian and Hanaway, William L. (Eds.): Literacy in the Persianate World. Writing and the Social Order. Philadelphia, p. 115; Meisami, Julie S. (2014): Medieval Persian Court Poetry. Princeton, N.J., p. vii.


Daniel, Persian Historiography, p. 1070.


Peacock, Andrew (2007): The Medieval Manuscript Tradition of Balʿamī’s Version of al-Ṭabarī’s History. In Pfeiffer, Judith and Kropp, Manfred (Eds.): Theoretical Approaches to the Transmission and Edition of Oriental Manuscripts. Proceedings of a Symposium Held in Istanbul, March 28–30, 2001 (Beiruter Texte und Studien, 111). Beirut, Würzburg, pp. 102–103.


Green, Frontiers, p. 13; Khalegi-Motlagh, Djalal: Abū Manṣūr Maʿmarī. EIr online.


For a general introduction, see Askari, Nasrin (2016): The Medieval Reception of the “Shahnama” as a Mirror for Princes. Leiden; Dabiri, Ghazzal (2010): The Shahnama: Between the Samanids and the Ghaznavids. In Iranian Studies 43 (1), pp. 13–28; Huart, Clément and Massé, Henri: Firdawsī. EI² online; Khalegi-Motlagh, Djalal: Ferdowsī, Abuʾl-Qāsem. i. Life. EIr online; van den Berg, Gabrielle and Melville, Charles (Eds.) (2018): The Reception of the Shahnama (Studies in Persian Cultural History, 12). Leiden, Boston.


Bosworth, Clifford E.: Maḥmūd b. Sebüktigin. EI² online; Dabiri, Shahnama, pp. 23–27.


Green, Frontiers, p. 13; Syed, Muhammad A. (2012): How Could Urdu Be the Envy of Persian (raskh-i-Fārsi)! The Role of Persian in South Asian Culture and Literature. In Spooner, Brian and Hanaway, William L. (Eds.): Literacy in the Persianate World. Writing and the Social Order. Philadelphia, p. 282; thanks to these poets, Persian poetry encompassed the genres of qaṣīda (poems of a certain length, one rhyme and uniform meter), mathnawī (poem written in rhythmic couples) and ghazal (elegy of love).


Green, Frontiers, p. 16; Naficy, Said: Bayhaḳī. EI² online.


Green, Frontiers, p. 14; Fragner, Persophonie, p. 62; Keeler, Annabel: Exegesis iii. In Persian. EIr online.


Green, Frontiers, p. 16; Hanaway, Secretaries, p. 115.


Daniel, Persian Historiography, p. 114; Fragner, Persophonie, p. 50; Meisami, Julie S. (2012): History as Literature. In Melville, Charles and Yarshater, Ehsan (Eds.): Persian Historiography (A History of Persian Literature, 10). London, p. 15; the translations encompassed The History of Bukhara (Tārīkh-i Bukhārā) by Abū Bakr Muhammad b. Jaʿfar Narshakhī (composed for the Samanid ruler Nūḥ b. Naṣr in 943; Abū Naṣr Ahmad b. Muhammad Qubāvī began translating it in 1128), The Book of Conquests (Kitāb al-Futūḥ) by Abū Muhammad Ahmad b. Aʿtham al-Kūfī (composed in 819; around 1200, a Muhammad b. Ahmad Mustawfī began translating it for an unnamed vizier of Khwarazm Shah ʿAlā al-Dīn Muhammad) as well as the history of Maḥmūd of Ghazna, al-Kitāb al-Yamīnī (composed after 1020) by Abū Naṣr Muhammad b. ʿAbd al-Jabbār in 1206.


Blair, Sheila S. (1992): The Development of the Illustrated Book in Iran. In Muqarnas 10, pp. 269–270; Fragner, Persophonie, p. 69; Morgan, David (2012): Persian as a Lingua Franca in the Mongol Empire. In Spooner, Brian and Hanaway, William L. (Eds.): Literacy in the Persianate World. Writing and the Social Order. Philadelphia, p. 161; Spuler and Marcinkowski, Persian Historiography and Geography, p. 25.


Haw, Stephen (2014): The Persian Language in Yuan-Dynasty China. A Reappraisal. In East Asian History 39, pp. 21–24.


Blair, Sheila S. (1992): The Development of the Illustrated Book in Iran. In Muqarnas 10, p. 267; Contadini, Anna (1996): The Horse in Two Manuscripts of Ibn Bakhtīshū’s Kitāb Manāfiʾ al-Ḥayawān. In Alexander, David (Ed.): Furūsiyya. Vol. 1 The Horse in the Art of the Near East. Riyadh, p. 142.


Spuler and Marcinkowski, Persian Historiography and Geography, p. 40.


Hillenbrand, Arts of the Book, p. 135; I refer to the Ms. Arabe 2964 (12th c.), Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France. pseudo-Galen: Book of the Antidotes. Available online at; for a general introduction, see Contadini, Anna (Ed.) (2007): Arab Painting. Text and Image in Illustrated Arabic Manuscripts. Leiden.


Blair, Sheila S. (2002): The Religious Art of the Ilkhanids. In Komaroff, Linda (Ed.): The Legacy of Genghis Khan. Courtly Art and Culture in Western Asia, 1256–1353. New York City, p. 111; 117; Hillenbrand, Robert (2002): The Arts of the Book in Ilkhanid Iran. In Komaroff, Linda (Ed.): The Legacy of Genghis Khan. Courtly Art and Culture in Western Asia, 1256–1353. New York City, p. 143.


Blair, Religious Art, p. 117; Hillenbrand, Arts of the Book, p. 150; the copy dates from 1299 and is held at the Archeological Museum Library in Istanbul (Ms. 216); for more on illustrations of the prophet see Gruber, Christiane (2009): Between Logos (kalima) and Light (nūr). Representations of the Prophet Muhammad in Islamic Painting. In Muqarnas 26, pp. 229–262 and Gruber, Christiane (2019): The Praiseworthy One. The Prophet Muhammad in Islamic Texts and Images. Bloomington, Ind.


Blair, Illustrated Book, p. 269; Blair, Sheila S. (2014): Tabriz. International Entrepôt under the Mongols. In Pfeiffer, Judith (Ed.): Politics, Patronage, and the Transmission of Knowledge in 13th–15th century Tabriz (Iran Studies, 8). Leiden, pp. 337–339; Blair, Sheila S. (2015): The Ilkhanid Qurʾan. An Example from Maragha. In Journal of Islamic Manuscripts 6 (2–3), pp. 174–195; you can take a look online at a copy created for Sultan Öljeytü (r. 1304–16) that is held in London: Ms. Or. 4945 (1310–11 CE), London, British Library. N.N.: Quran. Available online at


Hillenbrand, Arts of the Book, pp. 150–158; for more on the Shāhnāma, see Grabar, Oleg and Blair, Sheila S. (1980): Epic Images and Contemporary History. The Illustrations of the Great Mongol Shahnama. Chicago; Swietochowski, Marie L. and Carboni, Stefano (1994): Illustrated Poetry and Epic Images. Persian Painting of the 1330s and 1340s. New York.


Ms. F1935.23 (14th c., Pers.), Washington, DC, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. Firdawsī: Great Mogol Shāhnāma (illustrated folio showing Alexander the Great at the Talking Tree). Available online at; see also Ms. 1960.190 (14th c., Pers.), Cambridge USA, Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum. Firdawsī: Great Mongol Shāhnāma (illustrated folio showing Bahrām V fighting the horned wolf). Available online at; Soucek, Priscilla P.: Demotte Šāh-nāma. EIr online.


Blair, Sheila S. (1993): The Ilkhanid Palace. In Ars Orientalis 23, p. 243; Masuya, Tomoko (2002): Ilkhanid Courtly Life. In Komaroff, Linda (Ed.): The Legacy of Genghis Khan. Courtly Art and Culture in Western Asia, 1256–1353. New York City, p. 102.


Huff, Dietrich: Taḵt-e Solaymān. EIr online; Ingenito, Domenico (2014): “Tabrizis in Shiraz Are Worth Less Than a Dog:” Saʿdī and Humām, a Lyrical Encounter. In Pfeiffer, Judith (Ed.): Politics, Patronage, and the Transmission of Knowledge in 13th–15th century Tabriz (Iran Studies, 8). Leiden, p. 89; Krawulsky, Dorothea (1989): Mongolen und Ilkhâne. Ideologie und Geschichte. Beirut, p. 113; Melville, The Mongols in Iran, p. 54.


Melville, Charles (2012): The Mongol and Timurid Periods 1250–1500. In Melville, Charles and Yarshater, Ehsan (Eds.): Persian Historiography (A History of Persian Literature, 10). London, p. 164; Melville, Charles: Jahāngošā-ye Jovayni. EIr online.


Melville, The Mongols in Iran, p. 54.


Allsen, Thomas T. (2001): Culture and Conquest in Mongol Eurasia. Cambridge, p. 83; Ben Azzouna, Nourane (2014): Rashīd al-Dīn Faḍl-Allāh al-Hamadhānī’s Manuscript Production Project in Tabriz Reconsidered. In Pfeiffer, Judith (Ed.): Politics, Patronage, and the Transmission of Knowledge in 13th–15th century Tabriz (Iran Studies, 8). Leiden, p. 188; Blair, Tabriz, p. 322.


Blair, Illustrated Book, p. 270; Blair, Tabriz, pp. 322–327; Hillenbrand, Arts of the Book, p. 146.


Masuya, Ilkhanid Courtly Life, p. 82; Park, Hyunhee (2012): Mapping the Chinese and Islamic Worlds. Cross-Cultural Exchange in Pre-Modern Asia. Cambridge, p. 193; Watt, James C. (2002): A Note on Artistic Exchanges in the Mongol Empire. In Komaroff, Linda (Ed.): The Legacy of Genghis Khan. Courtly Art and Culture in Western Asia, 1256–1353. New York City, p. 68; for trade with Venice and Genoa, see Preiser-Kapeller, Johannes (2014): Civitas Thauris. The Significance of Tabriz in the Spatial Frameworks of Christian Merchants and Ecclesiastics in the 13th and 14th Century. In Pfeiffer, Judith (Ed.): Politics, Patronage, and the Transmission of Knowledge in 13th–15th century Tabriz (Iran Studies, 8). Leiden, p. 257.


Berlekamp, Persis (2007): From Iraq to Fars. Tracking Cultural Transformations in the 1322 Qazwīnī ʿAjāʾib Manuscript. In Contadini, Anna (Ed.): Arab Painting. Text and Image in Illustrated Arabic Manuscripts (Handbook of Oriental Studies: Sect. 1, The Near and Middle East, 90). Leiden, p. 75; Masuya, Ilkhanid Courtly Life, p. 97.


Allsen, Culture and Conquest, p. 103; Melville, Mongol and Timurid Periods, pp. 170–171.


Vasiliy Barthold published the only manuscript with an introduction in Barthold, Vasiliy V. (1930): Ḥudud al-ʿĀlem. Rukopis Tumanskogo. St. Petersburg; for the English translation, see Barthold, Vasiliy V., Minorskiy, Vladimir and Bosworth, Clifford E. (2015): Ḥudūd al-ʿĀlam. The Regions of the World. A Persian geography, 372 A.H. (982 A.D.). Second edition. Cambridge.


Barthold, Ḥudud, pp. 10–16.


Barthold, Ḥudud, app. p. 61; Barthold, Minorskiy and Bosworth, Ḥudūd, p. 137.


Barthold, Ḥudud, app. p. 37; 44; Barthold, Minorskiy and Bosworth, Ḥudūd, p. 102; 112.


Barthold, Ḥudud, p. 3; Bosworth, Clifford E.: Āl-e Farīḡūn. EIr online; Dunlop, Morton: Farīg̲h̲ūnids. EI² online.


For the edition, see Ibn al-Balkhī, Le Strange, Guy and Nicholson, Reynold A. (1921): The Fársnáma [sic] of Ibnu ’l-Balkhí. London; for the English translation, see Ibn al-Balkhī and Le Strange, Guy (1912): Description of the Province of Fars in Persia at the Beginning of the Fourteenth Century A.D. (Asiatic Society Monographs, 14). London.


Ibn al-Balkhī, Le Strange and Nicholson, Fārsnāma, pp. x–xiii.


Ibn al-Balkhī and Le Strange, Fars, pp. 18–19; Ibn al-Balkhī, Le Strange and Nicholson, Fārsnāma, p. 120f; the manuscripts are held at the British Library (Mr. Or. 5983) and the Bibliothèque nationale de France (Ms. Persan 503).


See Appendix 1 Map Outlines from the Book of Routes and Realms, Fārs, Figure 65.


For a detailed study of Khvāndamīr’s work, see Bockholt, Philip (forthcoming): Weltgeschichtsschreibung zwischen Schia und Sunna. Ḫvāndamīrs Ḥabīb as-siyar im Handschriftenzeitalter. Leiden.


Borshchevskiy, Yuriy E. (1960): Muḥammad Ibn Najīb Bakrān. Jahān-Nāme. Kniga o mire. Izdaniye teksta, vvedeniye i ukazateli. Moscow, pp. 5–10; for the edition, see Bakrān, Muhammad b. Najīb and Riyāḥī, Muhammad Amīn (1963): Jahānnāma. Tehran.


Borshchevskiy, Jahān-Nāme, p. 12; Bakrān and Riyāḥī, Jahānnāma, p. 7.


Bakrān and Riyāḥī, Jahānnāma, p. 94; 107.


Bakrān and Riyāḥī, Jahānnāma, pp. 10–12.


Allsen, Culture and Conquest, pp. 111–112; Wiedemann, Eilhard: Ḳuṭb al-Dīn S̲h̲īrāzī. EI² online.


For a detailed study of al-Qazwīnī’s work, see Hees, Syrinx von (2002): Enzyklopädie als Spiegel des Weltbildes. Qazwīnīs Wunder der Schöpfung – eine Naturkunde des 13. Jahrhunderts (Diskurse der Arabistik, 4). Wiesbaden.


Osamu, Otsuka (2013): A Study on the Geographical Understanding of Ḥamd-Allāh Mustawfī. In Ji, Meng and Ukai, Atsuko (Eds.): Translation, History and Arts. New Horizons in Asian Interdisciplinary Humanities Research. Newcastle upon Tyne, p. 51.


Mustawfī, Ḥamd Allah and Le Strange, Guy (1915–1919): The Geographical Part of the Nuzhat al-Qulūb (Elias John Wilkinson Gibb Memorial Series, 23). Leiden, p. 1.


For examples from various manuscripts, consult Derideaux, Pierre: East Africa’s Contacts with the Classical World. Website.


Krawulsky, Mongolen und Ilkhâne, pp. 116–117; Melville, Mongol and Timurid Periods, p. 164.


Ms. Hs. Or. 2371 (1352 CE, Pers.), Berlin, Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin. Anonymous: Mujmal al-Tavārīkh va al-Qiṣaṣ. Available online at


Ibn Ḥawqal and Kramers, Opus geographicum, p. 9.


Ms. Add. 23542 (1836 CE, Pers.), London, British Library. al-Iṣṭakhrī, Ibrāhīm b. Muhammad: (Tarjuma al-Masālik wa-l-Mamālik), f. 3v.


Lange, Christian and Mecit, Songül (Eds.) (2011): The Seljuqs. Politics, Society and Culture. Edinburgh, pp. 17–18.


Bosworth, Clifford E.: D̲j̲and. EI² online; Bosworth, Clifford E.: Jand. EIr online.


Barthold, Vasiliy V. (1928): Turkestan Down to the Mogol Invasion (Izdaniya fakul’teta vostochnykh yazykov Imp. St.-Peterb. Univ., 4). London, pp. 414–416.


Juwaynī, ʿAlāʾ ad-Dīn and Boyle, John Andrew (1958): The History of the World-Conqueror. Manchester, p. 90.


See Appendix 2 Copies of the Book of Routes and Realms Worldwide, Table 3.


I am grateful to Prof. Dr. Jean-Charles Ducène for pointing out the edition to me: al-Jayhānī and Manṣūrī, Fayrūz (1990): Ashkāl al-ʿĀlam. Tehran.


Ms. 18 (1609 CE, Pers.), Kabul, Mūza-yi Kābul. al-Iṣṭakhrī, Ibrāhīm b. Muhammad: Ashkāl al-ʿĀlam; due to safety concerns, I was not able to examine the manuscript in person.


Minorskiy, False Jayhānī; Shāyiq, Hāshim (1942): Ashkāl al-ʿĀlam yā Masālik Mamālik. In Āryānā I (2), pp. 27–32.


Minorskiy, False Jayhānī, p. 96; Shāyiq, Ashkāl, p. 28.


Ms. Add. 23542 (1836 CE, Pers.).


Ms. Or. 1587 (1840 CE, Pers.), London, British Library. al-Iṣṭakhrī, Ibrāhīm b. Muhammad: (Tarjuma al-Masālik wa-l-Mamālik).


Edward Conolly managed the escort of the British envoy in Kabul and was killed in Kohat on 29 September 1840 (Minorskiy, False Jayhānī, p. 94 fn. 2).


Minorskiy, False Jayhānī, p. 95.


Ms. 56.96/4 (1427–8 CE, Pers.), New Delhi, National Museum. al-Iṣṭakhrī, Ibrāhīm b. Muhammad: (al-Masālik va al-Mamālik).


Ms. Add. 23542 (1836 CE, Pers.), f. 3v.


Ms. Add. 23542 (1836 CE, Pers.), f. 36; Goeje and al-Iṣṭakhrī, al-Masālik, p. 180.


Ms. Add. 23542 (1836 CE, Pers.), f. 36; Goeje and al-Iṣṭakhrī, al-Masālik, pp. 196–197.


Ms. Add. 23542 (1836 CE, Pers.), f. 38v–40; Goeje and al-Iṣṭakhrī, al-Masālik, pp. 218–224.


Ms. Add. 23542 (1836 CE, Pers.), f. 44–45; Goeje and al-Iṣṭakhrī, al-Masālik, pp. 133–141.


For instance, Ms. Add. 23542 (1836 CE, Pers.), f. 50v and Ms. Add. 23542 (1836 CE, Pers.), f. 51v–52, corresponding to Goeje and al-Iṣṭakhrī, al-Masālik, pp. 301–303 as well as pp. 319–323.


We see this practice in Ms. 3816 (after 1675 CE, Ar.), Dublin, Chester Beatty Library. al-Iṣṭakhrī, Ibrāhīm b. Muhammad: (Ṣuwar al-Aqālīm), which is an exact replica of Ms. Cod. orient. 300 (1675 CE, Ar.), including blanks shaped like in the model.


Ms. Add. 23542 (1836 CE, Pers.), f. 6; Goeje and al-Iṣṭakhrī, al-Masālik, p. 11 to p. 13 and then back from p. 15 to p. 11.


Ms. A. 2830 (before 1474 CE, Ar.); see more in chapter 4.2.


The Odd One features the main markers for TransIraq (see chapter 2.1): Ms. Add. 23542 (1836 CE, Pers.), f. 24; Goeje and al-Iṣṭakhrī, al-Masālik, p. 85; Ms. Add. 23542 (1836 CE, Pers.), f. 52; al-Ḥīnī and al-Iṣṭakhrī, al-Masālik, p. 181 Goeje and al-Iṣṭakhrī, al-Masālik, p. 324.


For instance, Ali’s treasury in Ṣiffīn in Mesopotamia (Ms. Ārif Hikmet Juhgrāfiya 910/7 (ca. 11th c., Ar.), f. 28 that would have been on Ms. Add. 23542 (1836 CE, Pers.), f. 21v).


Ms. P/3 (before 1282 CE, Ar.), London (Greenwich), National Maritime Museum. al-Iṣṭakhrī, Ibrāhīm b. Muhammad: (Kitāb al-Masālik wa-l-Mamālik); Ms. 527 (ca. 13th c., Ar.), Istanbul, Arkeoloji Müzeleri. al-Iṣṭakhrī, Ibrāhīm b. Muhammad: (al-Masālik wa-l-Mamālik).


For instance, a note about trying to avoid repetitions at the beginning of Syria (Ms. P/3 (before 1282 CE, Ar.), f. 15 that would have been on Ms. Add. 23542 (1836 CE, Pers.), f. 17).


See chapter 2.2.


Ms. Add. 23542 (1836 CE, Pers.), f. 4.


Goeje and al-Iṣṭakhrī, al-Masālik, p. 253.


Ms. Add. 23542 (1836 CE, Pers.), f. 44.


Ms. Add. 23542 (1836 CE, Pers.), f. 13v; 14v; Goeje and al-Iṣṭakhrī, al-Masālik, p. 39; 45.


Ms. Add. 23542 (1836 CE, Pers.), f. 50; Goeje and al-Iṣṭakhrī, al-Masālik, p. 271.


Ms. Add. 23542 (1836 CE, Pers.), f. 31v; Goeje and al-Iṣṭakhrī, al-Masālik, p. 143.


Ms. Add. 23542 (1836 CE, Pers.), f. 7v; Goeje and al-Iṣṭakhrī, al-Masālik, p. 17.


Ms. Add. 23542 (1836 CE, Pers.), f. 14; Goeje and al-Iṣṭakhrī, al-Masālik, p. 42.


Ms. Add. 23542 (1836 CE, Pers.), f. 48v; Goeje and al-Iṣṭakhrī, al-Masālik, p. 290.


Ms. A. 2830 (before 1474 CE, Ar.).


See chapter 1.2.


See Appendix 1 Map Outlines from the Book of Routes and Realms, Egypt, Figure 43.


See chapter 1.3; Ms. 4.247 (1036 CE, Ar.).


Ms. P/3 (before 1282 CE, Ar.).


Weber, Siegfried and Najmabadi, Seifeddin (2000): Mujmal at-tawārīkh wa-l-qiṣaṣ. Edingen-Neckarhausen, pp. 38–44.


Ms. Cod. Heid. Orient. 118 (ca. 1475 CE, Pers.), Heidelberg, Universitätsbibliothek. Anonymous: Summary of Chronicles and Stories. (Mujmal al-Tavārīkh va al-Qiṣaṣ). Available online at; all four manuscripts hold the kishvar illustration mentioned above, an image depicting the Kaaba, the mosques of Medina and Jerusalem as well as Constantinople and Rome. Another miniature shows a man sitting on a tree at the shore of a sea in which another man is drowning while surrounded by fish. The world map is only part of the manuscript held in Heidelberg and Paris (BnF, Ms. Persan Ancien fonds 62), the latter dating from 1410.


Ms. Or. 23543 (16th c., Pers.), London, British Library. Mustawfī, Ḥamd Allah: Nuzhat al-Qulūb; Ahmad, S. Maqbul (1992): Cartography of al-Sharīf al-Idrīsī. In Harley, John B. and Woodward, David A. (Eds.): Cartography in the Traditional Islamic and South Asian Societies (The History of Cartography, 2, 1). Chicago, p. 161; see also the online material by the Bibliothèque nationale de France, al-Idrîsî. BnF. Website.


See for instance the late twelfth century Sawley map online: Holcomb, Melanie: Pen and Parchment. Drawing in the Middle Ages. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Blog; Edson, Evelyn (1999): Mapping Time and Space. How Medieval Mapmakers Viewed Their World (The British Library Studies in Map History, 1). London, p. 114; see also Lewy, Mordechay (2018): Der apokalyptische Abessinier und die Kreuzzüge. Wandel eines frühislamischen Motivs in der Literatur und Kartografie des Mittelalters (Beiträge zur Erforschung des Alten Testaments und des Antiken Judentums, 61). Frankfurt a.M., p. 288f.


Hansman, John H.: Caspian Gates. EIr online; Horst, Thomas (2012): Das Paradies in der mittelalterlichen Kartographie. In Münchener Theologische Zeitschrift 63, p. 153; Lewy, Abessinier, p. 289.


See Appendix 1 Map Outlines from the Book of Routes and Realms, Transoxania, Figure 79.


See chapter 1.3.


Compare Appendix 1 Map Outlines from the Book of Routes and Realms, The Persian Sea (Figure 39) and The Maghreb (Figure 42).


Henning, Richard (1948): Eine mittelalterlich-mohammedanische Ausgestaltung der alten Überlieferung von den Säulen des Herkules. In Islam 28, p. 126; Mžik, Parageographische Elemente, p. 197.


Gulpāyagānī, Abū al-Faḍl and Cole, Juan R. (1981): Miracles and Metaphors. Los Angeles, p. 98; Soucek, Priscilla P.: Eskandar Solṭān. EIr online; the image is available online at by Seidel, Kathleen: Serving the Guest: A Sufi Cookbook. Image of Abraham Amid the Flames from a Fifteenth-Century Anthology for the Timurid Sultan Iskandar. Website.


Ms. (ca. 1425 CE, Pers.), New York City, Metropolitan Museum of Art. Ḥāfiẓ-i Abrū: Majmaʿ al-Tavārīkh. Available online at


Ms. F1957.16 (early 14th c., Pers.), Washington, DC, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. Balʿamī: Tārīkhnāma (first volume). Available online at


Ms. 1960.190 (14th c., Pers.), Cambridge USA, Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum. Firdawsī: Great Mongol Shāhnāma (illustrated folio showing Bahrām V fighting the horned wolf). Available online at


Ms. F1935.23 (14th c., Pers.), Washington, DC, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. Firdawsī: Great Mogol Shāhnāma (illustrated folio showing Alexander the Great at the Talking Tree). Available online at


Ms. Turc 309 (1416 CE, Ott.), Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France. Ahmedī: İskendernāme. Available online at


Ms. W.607 (1528–1529 CE, Pers.), Baltimore, Walters Art Museum. Niẓāmī: Khamsa. Available online at


I am grateful to my supervisor Prof. Dr. Gudrun Krämer for sharing her image archive and pointing out illustrations for comparison to The Odd One.


Ms. Cod. arab. 464 (1280 CE, Ar.), Munich, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek. al-Qazwīnī, Zakarīyā b. Muhammad: ʿAjāʾib al-Makhlūqāt wa-Gharāʾib al-Mawjūdāt. Available online at


In addition to the animals depicted in the illustrations quoted above, see Sims, Eleanor, Maršak, Boris I. and Grube, Ernst J. (2002): Peerless Images. Persian Painting and its Sources. New Haven, Conn., pp. 157–171.


Carboni, Stefano (2015): The Wonders of Creation and the Singularities of Painting. A Study of the Ilkhanid London Qazvini. Edinburgh, p. 8; for images of haloed birds from the London Qazwīnī manuscript, see, for instance, Carboni, Wonders of Creation, p. 312.


Ms. B. 334 (ca. 1460 CE, Pers.), Istanbul, Topkapı Sarayı Müzesi Kütüphanesi. al-Iṣṭakhrī, Ibrāhīm b. Muhammad: Tarjuma al-Masālik wa-l-Mamālik. Available online at (only four images); Akalay, Zeren (1976): Minyatürlü bir coğrafya kitabı. In Kültur ve sanat 4, p. 71; see the next chapter for more on this manuscript.


The map is reproduced in Pinto, Karen (2012): Searchin’ His Eyes, Lookin’ for Traces. Piri Reis’ World Map of 1513 & its Islamic Iconographic Connections (A Reading Through Bağdat 334 and Proust). In The Journal of Ottoman Studies XXXIX, p. 81.


Ms. Cod. Mixt. 344 (ca. 1500–1550 CE, Pers.); reproduced in Mžik, Hans (1965): Al-Iṣṭaḫrī und seine Landkarten im Buch “Ṣuwar al aḳālīm”. Nach der pers. Handschrift Cod. mixt. 344 der Österreichischen Nationalbibliothek. Vienna; I will discuss this manuscript in greater detail in the next chapter.


Ms. Ouseley 373 (1297 CE, Pers.), Oxford, Bodleian Library. al-Iṣṭakhrī, Ibrāhīm b. Muhammad: (Ṣuwar al-Buldān).


Ouseley, William (1795): Persian Miscellanies. An Essay to Facilitate the Reading of Persian Manuscripts; with Engraved Specimens, Philological Observations, and Notes Critical and Historical. London; Ouseley, William (Ed.) (1800): The Oriental Collections. Consisting of Original Essays and Dissertations, Translations and Miscellaneous Papers: Volume 3. Cambridge; Ouseley, William (1831): Catalogue of Several Hundred Manuscript Works in Various Oriental Languages. Halle, Saale, London.


Ouseley, William (1800): Kitāb Masālik wa-Mamālik. The Oriental Geography of Ebn Haukal, an Arabian Traveller of the Tenth Century. Translated from a Manuscript in His Own Possession, Collated with One Preserved in the Library of Eton College by Sir William Ouseley. London.


Avery, Peter: Ouseley, William. EIr online; Éthé, Hermann (1889): Catalogue of the Persian, Turkish, Hindûstânî and Pushtû Manuscripts in the Bodleian Library. Oxford, p. 398.


Gacek, Arabic Manuscripts, p. 283.


Gacek, Arabic Manuscripts, p. 273.


al-Iṣṭakhrī, Ibrāhīm b. Muhammad and Afshār, Īraj (1994): Mamālik va Masālik Tālīf-i Abū Isḥāq Ibrāhīm Iṣtakhrī. Tarjuma-yi Muḥammad Ibn Asʿad Ibn ʿAbd Allāh Tustarī. Bih Kūshish-i Īraj Afshār. Tehran, xxxii.


al-Iṣṭakhrī and Afshār, al-Masālik (The Lonely One), pp. xxii–xxiii; Schmidtke, Sabine (2016): Introduction. In Schmidtke, Sabine (Ed.): The Oxford Handbook of Islamic Theology. Oxford, United Kingdom, New York, NY, p. 17; Tottoli, Roberto (2002): Biblical Prophets in the Qurʾan and Muslim Literature. London, p. 166.


al-Iṣṭakhrī and Afshār, al-Masālik (The Lonely One), xxvi.


Ms. Ouseley 373 (1297 CE, Pers.), f. 2; al-Iṣṭakhrī and Afshār, al-Masālik (The Lonely One), p. 3.


Ms. Ouseley 373 (1297 CE, Pers.), f. 42.


Ms. Or. fol. 3177 (1864 CE, Pers.), Berlin, Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin. al-Iṣṭakhrī, Ibrāhīm b. Muhammad: (Jughrāfiyā). Available online at


Ms. Ouseley 373 (1297 CE, Pers.), f. 39v.


See chapter 3.2, fn. 83; Ms. Ouseley 373 (1297 CE, Pers.), f. 31v; al-Iṣṭakhrī and Afshār, al-Masālik (The Lonely One), p. 68; Ms. Ouseley 373 (1297 CE, Pers.), f. 39v; al-Iṣṭakhrī and Afshār, al-Masālik (The Lonely One), p. 82; the markers for the Arabic branch TransArmIraq are found in Ms. Ouseley 373 (1297 CE, Pers.), ff. 81–82; 145–148; al-Iṣṭakhrī and Afshār, al-Masālik (The Lonely One), pp. 189–191; 342–348; they correspond to al-Ḥīnī and al-Iṣṭakhrī, al-Masālik, p. 109; 179–182.


The design in The Lonely One slightly resembles the outlines in the Arabic Ms. A. 3348 (1286 CE, Ar.), Istanbul, Topkapı Sarayı Müzesi Kütüphanesi. al-Iṣṭakhrī, Ibrāhīm b. Muhammad: (al-Masālik wa-l-Mamālik) that I will discuss in the next chapter. As I have not yet had access to the entire manuscript, I only loosely connect Ms. 3348 to TransArmIraq for now. However, Ms. 3348 presents unique features (miniature buildings, no islands in the Persian Sea and the Mediterranean in the world map etc.) which do not appear in The Lonely One, suggesting at least an intermediate copy existed – if Ms. 3348 connects to The Lonely One at all.


Ms. Ouseley 373 (1297 CE, Pers.), f. 27; al-Iṣṭakhrī and Afshār, al-Masālik (The Lonely One), p. 52; Goeje and al-Iṣṭakhrī, al-Masālik, p. 45.


al-Iṣṭakhrī and Afshār, al-Masālik (The Lonely One), xxxvii.


Ms. Ouseley 373 (1297 CE, Pers.), f. 11; al-Iṣṭakhrī and Afshār, al-Masālik (The Lonely One), p. 20; Goeje and al-Iṣṭakhrī, al-Masālik, p. 17.


Ms. Ouseley 373 (1297 CE, Pers.), ff. 129–130; al-Iṣṭakhrī and Afshār, al-Masālik (The Lonely One), p. 310; Goeje and al-Iṣṭakhrī, al-Masālik, pp. 289–291.


Ms. Ouseley 373 (1297 CE, Pers.), f. 25; al-Iṣṭakhrī and Afshār, al-Masālik (The Lonely One), p. 49; Goeje and al-Iṣṭakhrī, al-Masālik, p. 42.


Ms. Ārif Hikmet Juhgrāfiya 910/7 (ca. 11th c., Ar.); Syria from this manuscript is shown in Appendix 1 Map Outlines from the Book of Routes and Realms, Syria, Figure 47.


For instance, Ms. Ar. 3007 (before ca. 1310 CE, Ar.).


Within TransArmIraq, the Medina manuscript shows all water bodies in blue, as does Ms. Or. 3101 (1193 CE, Ar.); however, the Dublin and Cairo manuscripts present blue and green water bodies (Ms. Ar. 3007 (before ca. 1310 CE, Ar.) and Ms. Jughrāfiyā 199 (before 1499 CE, Ar.), Cairo, Dār al-Kutub. al-Iṣṭakhrī, Ibrāhīm b. Muhammad: (Kitāb al-Masālik wa-l-Mamālik) like a manuscript from the outlier in the branch, Ms. Orient A. 1521 (1172 CE, Ar.)).


This count does not include Ms. Or. 1403 (19th c., Ar. and P.), Leiden, Universitaire Bibliotheken Leiden. al-Iṣṭakhrī, Ibrāhīm b. Muhammad: Kitāb al-Masālik wa-l-Mamālik; the copy contains the description of Egypt in Arabic and Persian based on Ms. Orient A. 1521 (1172 CE, Ar.) and Ms. Orient. P. 36 (before 1606 CE, Pers.), Gotha, Forschungsbibliothek. al-Iṣṭakhrī, Ibrāhīm b. Muhammad: (Masālik al-Mamālik) (the latter belonging to The Popular One).


Ms. Sprenger 1 (ca. 1840 CE, Ar.), Berlin, Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin. al-Iṣṭakhrī, Ibrāhīm b. Muhammad: Ṣuwar al-Aqālīm. Available online at ; another copy might have also been created in the nineteenth century: Ms. LV 94 (n.d., Ar.), Cairo, Institut français d’archéologie orientale. al-Iṣṭakhrī, Ibrāhīm b. Muhammad: (Masālik al-Mamālik).


See Appendix 2 Copies of the Book of Routes and Realms Worldwide, Table 3.


Ms. 972 (1307–8 CE, Pers.), Geneva, The Khalili Collection. al-Iṣṭakhrī, Ibrāhīm b. Muhammad: (Tarjuma Masālik wa-Mamālik).


Ms. 5405 (13th c., Pers.), Mashhad, Āstān-i Quds-i Rażavī. al-Iṣṭakhrī, Ibrāhīm b. Muhammad: (Tarjuma al-Masālik wa-l-Mamālik). Available online at


I have not yet identified the owners of the ten remaining seals in this copy.


Ms. 3515 (1325 CE, Pers.), Tehran, Mūza-yi Irān-i Bāstān. al-Iṣṭakhrī, Ibrāhīm b. Muhammad: (al-Masālik va al-Mamālik).


Afshār, Īraj and al-Iṣṭakhrī, Ibrāhīm b. Muhammad (1969): Masālik va Mamālik. Tarjuma-yi Fārsī (al-Masālik wa-l-Mamālik) az Qarn-i 5./6. Hijrī. Tehran, p. 13; Mudarris Tabrīzī, Muhammad Ali (1990): Rayḥānat al-Adab fī Tarājim al-Maʿrūfīn bi-l-Kunya aw al-Laqab. Vol. 7. Tehran, p. 253; Navshāhī, ʿĀrif (1971): Kitābshināsī-yi Āthār-i Fārsī-yi Chāp Shuda Dar Shibh-i Qārra (Hind, Pākistān, Banglādish). Vol. 2. Tehran, p. 1121; the translation of Ali’s sayings appeared under the title Durr al-Maʿānī Fī Tarjuma Nathr al-Laʾāliʾ.


Ms. 1331 (incl. 9610) (13th–14th c., Pers.), Tehran, Dānishgāh-i Tihrān. al-Iṣṭakhrī, Ibrāhīm b. Muhammad: Tarjuma al-Masālik wa-l-Mamālik.


Ms. 1331 shares an addition at the end of the Persian Sea with Ms. 5405, as well as the omission of the city Banjīkāth in Transoxania (Afshār and al-Iṣṭakhrī, al-Masālik, p. 38; 252). Moreover, the map of the Arabian Peninsula in Ms. 1331 shows two mountains representing the Ajaʾ and Salmā Mountains (see Appendix 1 Map Outlines from the Book of Routes and Realms, The Arabian Peninsula, Figure 34) like in Ms. 972. Additionally, the map of the Maghreb in Ms. 1331 does not show Sicily, which is a characteristic found in a different coeval copy belonging to the same branch as Mss. 5405 and 972 (Ms. Ayasofya 3156 (14th c., Pers.)). The same applies to the second circle around Jisr Manbij in the map of Syria (mentioned above). At the same time, Ms. 1331 displays features from Ms. 3515 that we cannot find in the second branch of The Popular One. For example, Ms. 1331 includes a concluding remark at the end of Syria (Afshār and al-Iṣṭakhrī, al-Masālik, p. 70). Moreover, although the map of the Arabian Peninsula in Ms. 1331 presents a marker from the version close to TransArmIraq, it also shows only one island in the sea like in Ms. 3515.


Based on Ms. Ayasofya 3156 (14th c., Pers.), Istanbul, Süleymaniye Kütüphanesi. al-Iṣṭakhrī, Ibrāhīm b. Muhammad: Kitāb Tarjuma al-Masālik wa-l-Mamālik.


Based on Ms. 3515 (1325 CE, Pers.).


Ms. A. 2830 (before 1474 CE, Ar.).


See Appendix 1 Map Outlines from the Book of Routes and Realms, The Arabian Peninsula, Figure 37 and Figure 38.


Afshār has marked the missing sections in the footnotes and inserted the map of Egypt from Ms. Ayasofya 3156 (14th c., Pers.) and Ms. Cod. Mixt. 344 (ca. 1500–1550 CE, Pers.).


Ms. K. 1 (16th/17th c., Pers.), Cambridge, University Library. al-Iṣṭakhrī, Ibrāhīm b. Muhammad: (Ṣuwar al-Aqālīm).


Afshār and al-Iṣṭakhrī, al-Masālik, p. 48; Goeje and al-Iṣṭakhrī, al-Masālik, p. 45.


Afshār and al-Iṣṭakhrī, al-Masālik, p. 169; Goeje and al-Iṣṭakhrī, al-Masālik, p. 205.


Afshār and al-Iṣṭakhrī, al-Masālik, pp. 127–128; Goeje and al-Iṣṭakhrī, al-Masālik, pp. 145–146.


Afshār and al-Iṣṭakhrī, al-Masālik, p. 206; Goeje and al-Iṣṭakhrī, al-Masālik, p. 259.


Afshār and al-Iṣṭakhrī, al-Masālik, pp. 266–274; Goeje and al-Iṣṭakhrī, al-Masālik, pp. 215–217.


Goeje and al-Iṣṭakhrī, al-Masālik, pp. 105–112.


Afshār and al-Iṣṭakhrī, al-Masālik, pp. 98–99.


Afshār and al-Iṣṭakhrī, al-Masālik, p. 200; Goeje and al-Iṣṭakhrī, al-Masālik, p. 251.


Afshār and al-Iṣṭakhrī, al-Masālik, p. 44; 56; 228; Goeje and al-Iṣṭakhrī, al-Masālik, p. 42; 54; 289.


Afshār and al-Iṣṭakhrī, al-Masālik, p. 63; Goeje and al-Iṣṭakhrī, al-Masālik, p. 61.


Afshār and al-Iṣṭakhrī, al-Masālik, p. 24; 91; 167; 171; 180; 185; 229; Goeje and al-Iṣṭakhrī, al-Masālik, p. 22; 90; 202; 209; 223; 228; 291.


Shen, Hsueh-man (2017): The China-Abbasid Ceramics Trade during the Ninth and Tenth Centuries. Chinese Ceramics Circulating in the Middle East. In Flood, Finbarr Barry and Necipoğlu, Gülru (Eds.): A Companion to Islamic Art and Architecture (Blackwell Companions to Art History, 2). Hoboken, p. 197.


Goeje and al-Iṣṭakhrī, al-Masālik, p. 154.


Afshār and al-Iṣṭakhrī, al-Masālik, p. 134.


Afshār and al-Iṣṭakhrī, al-Masālik, p. 208; Goeje and al-Iṣṭakhrī, al-Masālik, p. 263.


Goeje and al-Iṣṭakhrī, al-Masālik, p. 208; Chaumont, Éric: al-S̲h̲aybānī. EI² online.


Afshār and al-Iṣṭakhrī, al-Masālik, p. 171.


Goeje and al-Iṣṭakhrī, al-Masālik, p. 30.


Afshār and al-Iṣṭakhrī, al-Masālik, pp. 32–33.


Pellat, Charles: Ak̲h̲bār al-Ṣīn wa ʾl-Hind. EI² online; al-Sīrāfī, Abū Zayd Ḥasan Ibn Yazīd and Mackintosh-Smith, Tim (2017): Accounts of China and India. New York, p. 64.


Ibn al-Wardī, ʿUmar Ibn Muẓaffar (2008): Kharīdat al-ʿAjāʾib wa-Farīdat al-Gharāʾib. Cairo, p. 231.


Bearman, P. et al.: Ibn al-Wardī. EI² online; Brockelmann, Carl (2018): History of the Arabic Written Tradition. Supplement Volume II. Leiden, Boston, p. 26; in her dissertation, Mary Pierson has edited the first two parts of al-Ḥarrānī’s work (Pierson, Mary Frost (1975): The Jāmiʿ al-Funūn wa-Sulwat al-Maḥzūn of Ibn Shabīb. Text, translation, and commentary. Dissertation. Brandeis University, Boston); for more on the Pearl of Wonders, see Bellino, Francesca (2014): Sirāj al-Dīn Ibn al-Wardī and the Ḫarīdat al-ʿAjāʾib. Authority and Plagiarism in a Fifteenth-Century Arabic Cosmography. In Eurasian Studies 12, pp. 265–305.


Ibn al-Wardī, Kharīdat, p. 212.


al-Qazwīnī, Zakarīyā b. Muhammad and Wüstenfeld, Ferdinand (1849): Zakarija Ben Muhammed Ben Mahmud el-Cazwini’s Kosmographie. Erster Theil. Kitāb ʿAjāʾib al-Makhlūqāt. Die Wunder der Schöpfung. Halle, Saale, Göttingen, pp. 117–118.


Chuang-Tzu Chuang, Chou and Giles, Herbert Allen (1889): Chuang Tzu. Mystic, Moralist, and Social Reformer. Translation from the Chinese by Herbert A. Giles. London, p. 1; Marzolph, Ulrich: al-Ruk̲h̲k̲h̲. EI² online; al-Rawi, Ahmed (2015): The Rukh and the Influence of Chinese Mythology. In International Communication of Chinese Culture 2 (3), p. 225.


Miquel, André and Streck, Maximilian: Ḳāf. EI² online; Radtke, Bernd (1992): Weltgeschichte und Weltbeschreibung im mittelalterlichen Islam (Beiruter Texte und Studien, 51). Stuttgart, p. 81; I am grateful to my supervisor Prof. Dr. Gudrun Krämer for pointing out this connection to me.


Bozorg b. Shahriyār, Lith, Pieter A. van der and Devic, L. Marcel (1883): Livre des Merveilles de l’Inde. Kitāb ʿAjāʾib al-Hind. Leiden, pp. 12–13.