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Tabula Rogeriana (Latin for “Book of Roger) is the name of a publication created by Arab cartographer Muhammad al-Idrisi in 1154 under the guidance of King Roger II of Sicily. The book is recognized for its groundbreaking world map and its accompanying descriptions and information regarding the areas shown in the map. The world map is divided into 70 regional maps, with these divisions dictated by the seven climate zones (originally proposed by Ptolemy) al-Idrisi used for the map along with ten geographical sections (Glick, 2014). The book begins with the southwestern most section, which includes the Canary Islands, to the easternmost section, then proceeds northward until each section has been represented. With each section, al-Idrisi gives textual descriptions of the land in the maps and described the people who were indigenous to those regions. The whole map includes lands from Spain in the east to China in the west, and Scandinavia in the north, down to Africa in the south. Interestingly, the map has an inverted orientation, with Africa depicted at the top of the map and Scandinavia and Britain shown on the bottom. This was common of several maps created by Arab cartographers from this time period. Al-Idrisi’s Muslim beliefs are also reflected in this map, as Mecca in the Arabian Peninsula is placed in the center of the map (Glies, 1977).


Medieval Europe



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