Deluge of Atlantis

Deluge of Atlantis
Deluge of Atlantis

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Al-Idrisi's Map, 1154, After the Ancient Sea Kings

Al-Idrisi's Map, 1154, After the Ancient Sea Kings

The Nuzhat al-mushtāq fi'khtirāq al-āfāq (Arabic: نزهة المشتاق في اختراق الآفاق‎, lit. "the book of pleasant journeys into faraway lands"), most often known as the Tabula Rogeriana (lit. "The Book of Roger" in Latin), is a description of the world and world map created by the Arab geographer, Muhammad al-Idrisi, in 1154. Al-Idrisi worked on the commentaries and illustrations of the map for fifteen years at the court of the Norman King Roger II of Sicily, who commissioned the work around 1138.[1][2]
The book, written in Arabic, is divided into seven climate zones (in keeping with the established Ptolemaic system), each of which is sub-divided into ten sections, and contains maps showing the Eurasian continent in its entirety, but only the northern part of the African continent. The map is oriented with the North at the bottom. It remained the most accurate world map for the next three centuries.[2][3] The text incorporates exhaustive descriptions of the physical, cultural, political and socioeconomic conditions of each region and each of the seventy sections has a corresponding map.[2][4]
To produce the work al-Idrisi interviewed experienced travelers individually and in groups on their knowledge of the world and compiled "only that part... on which there was complete agreement and seemed credible, excluding what was contradictory."[1] Roger II had his map engraved on a silver disc weighing about 300 pounds.[1] It showed, in al-Idrisi's words, "the seven climatic regions, with their respective countries and districts, coasts and lands, gulfs and seas, watercourses and river mouths."[1]
On the work of al-Idrisi, S. P. Scott commented:
"The compilation of Edrisi marks an era in the history of science. Not only is its historical information most interesting and valuable, but its descriptions of many parts of the earth are still authoritative. For three centuries geographers copied his maps without alteration. The relative position of the lakes which form the Nile, as delineated in his work, does not differ greatly from that established by Baker and Stanley more than seven hundred years afterwards, and their number is the same. The mechanical genius of the author was not inferior to his erudition. The celestial and terrestrial planisphere of silver which he constructed for his royal patron was nearly six feet in diameter, and weighed four hundred and fifty pounds; upon the one side the zodiac and the constellations, upon the other-divided for convenience into segments-the bodies of land and water, with the respective situations of the various countries, were engraved."[3]
Ten manuscript copies of the Book of Roger currently survive, five of which have complete text and eight of which have maps.[2] Two are in the Bibliothèque nationale de France, including the oldest, dated to about 1325. (MS Arabe 2221). Another copy, made in Cairo in 1553, is in the Bodleian Library in Oxford (Mss. Pococke 375). It was acquired in 1692.[5] The most complete manuscript, which includes the world map and all seventy sectional maps, is kept in Istanbul.[4]


  1. ^ a b c d Houben, 2002, pp. 102-104.
  2. ^ a b c d Harley & Woodward, 1992, pp. 156-161.
  3. ^ a b S. P. Scott (1904), History of the Moorish Empire, pp. 461-2
  4. ^ a b Bacharach, 2006, p. 140.
  5. ^ The Book of Roger, BBC Online.


  • Bacharach, Jere L. (2006). Medieval Islamic Civilization: An Encyclopedia. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-96690-0
  • Harley, John Brian and Woodward, David (1992). The History of Cartography, Volume 2. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-226-31635-2
  • Houben, Hubert (2002). Roger II of Sicily: A Ruler Between East and West. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-65573-6

External links

Below are some geographic points of interest off of the Eastern coast of Asia.
 This presumably IS during the Pleistocene Ice Age because of the much-enlarged Caspian Sea
 (Featured in modern fiction especially in the Conan the Barbarian stories)

                              I mention this in particular because the small ovoid island off
               of EastAsia seems to correspond to the normal midieval maps of "Chipangu", Japan.
                               Below is a standard modern map for comparison
The Idrisi map is following the convention of a conic projection map with equidistant and parallel latitudes. The ultimate outcome of this kind of projection is a Mercator world map and several of the archaic maps are constructed along this convention. We still use it on our standard maps, but the archaic maps were of smaller sections of the Earth's surface and the distortion was lessened because of it. on a map which contains more of theearth's surface, the distortion nearer the poles is worse. 

On the other hand, the Asiatic section of the Idrisi map seems to be following a different type of projection which is projecting the round globe onto a flat circular map, and this seems to have been the intention of the Piri Re'is map also.

I have good reason to suspect the circular map projection to have come to Idrisi by way of Mesopotamia and that such maps they might  have had at least by 3000-4000 BC. These would be Holocene maps and they feature an open Bering strait. Eventually maps of this series with this projection made their way into Europe and the so-called Vinland Map shows an Asiatic sector like this (I am not worried about the more controversial part including Vinland on this map, what I want to reference is the Asiatic section of the "Tartar Relation" map. This also seems to have an open Beringia including the "Straits of Anian" or the Bering Straits as they used to be called.
The convention in this case made the appearance of a much more squared off North-and-South coast of East Asia. In Pleistocene times this seems always to have been a Lemurian (Sundaland) controlled territory and the maps would have been shipping maps (portolanos) even that far back. This suggests a thriving population with a lot of trading going on even that far back (10000 BC and before)
This is the indicated area, but on the Sundaland-Lemurian version,
The map would be tilted more to the N-S axis. Which may mean the Earth's pole
 has shifted since that time and the map is evidence for such a poleshift also.

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