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29.03.2016

The main difference between the work of Ibn Hawqal and that of al-Istakhri (#211) is in the formera€™s discussion of the western (formerly Byzantine) part of Islam. He was also interested in the composition of the maps, and at his meeting with Ibn Hawqal they compared their maps. Because he states in the text that the map a€?occurs on the following page,a€? he lets it be known that the map the reader sees is the one he drew himself. Ibn Hawqala€™s text as we know it today is again the result of three versionsa€”a first redaction from about 961 dedicated to the Hamdanid Sayf al-Dawlah (died 967), a second redaction containing criticism of the Hamdanida€™s from about a decade later, and a final definitive version from about 988.
What one really wishes to know is how close to the original version of these scholars is the map we see in a manuscript produced several centuries after the death of the scholar himself.
Kramers finds that the texts presumed to be by al-Istakhri can be divided into two groups, and he regards one as earlier in origin.
The era of Arab cartography during which Ibn Hawqal worked is characterized by collections of distinctive maps accompanying geographical treatises, although these treatises are mostly alike in both the number of maps and the information they contain. He (Istakhri) showed me the geographical maps in his work, and, when I had commented on them, he gave me his work with the words, a€?I can see that you were born under a lucky star, therefore take my work and make such improvements as you think fita€™. For both works we have the same divisions of subject matter, and the same number of chapters; the very expressions are often identical. I have described the earth in its length and breath; I have given a view of the Moslem provinces, but I have taken no account of the division of climates, in order to avoid confusion. However, there are certain exceptions, Ibn Hawqal tells us later, which he felt it necessary to make.
I have not described the country of the African blacks and the other peoples of the torrid zone because, naturally loving wisdom, ingenuity, religion, justice, and regular government how could I notice such people as these, or magnify them by inserting an account of their countries ?
The world depicted here is a disc-shaped earth surrounded by ocean, with two deep bays cutting into it - from the east, the Persian Gulf with the Red Sea and the Arabian Sea, and from the west, the Mediterranean Sea. The Western side of this sea belongs to Deilman and Taberistan and Gukan, and its borders; and part of it is bordered by the deserts of Khuarezm. In addressing details, the region of Islam is defined as superior to others in that it is more extensive; bordering alike upon the northern and southern ocean is pathless desert, but inhabited and cultivated ground stretches along the diameter of the world, from China to Morocco. The extent and number of the tribes of Gog-Magog (in Turkestan) were known a€?only to Goda€?.
Of all the countries of Islam, but especially of Mesopotamia and the region of Samarcand, Ibn Hawqal has clear and fairly accurate ideas. By contrast with this, we may notice how on another frontier of Islam, at Derbend under the Caucasus, life was less tranquil; for the savage Tartar enemies of the city, living all around it, were a€?as numerous as the waves of the sea that come up to its wallsa€?. One of his travels brought him 20 degrees south of the equator (Sofala) along the African coast. I dona€™t mention the countries of the blacks in the Maghreb, nor the Buja, nor the Zendjs, not the other groups living in their neighborhood, because the good organization of the empires comes with religious convictions, good morals, and wise institutions, and the conservation of wealth depends on a just method of government.
Abyssinie stretches along the Red Sea, which is in reality the Persian Sea, and which goes up to the land of the Zendjs.


Then this sea stretches along the Abyssinian sea, arrives at the end of the land of Nubia to get to the regions of the Zendjs, which are the biggest ones in these areas.
At the altitude of the Yemen basin, the sea is called the Sea of Aden, and this up to Aden, then it is called the Sea of Zendjs, and this opposite Oman where she goes towards the sea of Persia. After passing Oman, passing the limits of Islam, and continuing to Ceylon, this sea takes the name of Persian Sea. Nobody knows the sources of the Nil, in fact the Nil comes out of an impassable desert, from beyond the land of the Zendjs, and penetrates the region of the Zendjs, goes through the deserted and cultivated parties of the Nubia, then waters the fields uninterrupted till its arrival in Egypt.
The author of the book pretends that nobody knows the sources of the Nil and that this river comes out of the deserts situated behind the lands of the Zandjs. Where then is that land of the blacks, of which the length is seven years, in the sky or under the ground? Between the land of the blacks and the (surrounding) ocean in the south is a desert where the enormous heat destroys all life.
All those Zendjs, the lowest of the peoples, are not Moslems and do neither know justice nor good manners. The outline of an Arabic wheel-map shown below, that of Abu Ishaq al-Farisl al-lstakhri and Abu al-Qasim Muhammad ibn Hawqal is re-oriented with North at the top and it clearly shows the strong tendency to geometrical stylization characteristic of the second period of Arab cartography. What one really wishes to know is how close to the original version of these scholars is the map we see in a manuscript produced several centuries after the death of the scholar himself.A  This is very difficult, since probably only one of the manuscripts now extant was produced within two hundred years of the original map it was taken from.
A A  Nobody knows the sources of the Nil, in fact the Nil comes out of an impassable desert, from beyond the land of the Zendjs, and penetrates the region of the Zendjs, goes through the deserted and cultivated parties of the Nubia, then waters the fields uninterrupted till its arrival in Egypt. A  The author of the book pretends that nobody knows the sources of the Nil and that this river comes out of the deserts situated behind the lands of the Zandjs. A  Where then is that land of the blacks, of which the length is seven years, in the sky or under the ground?
A  All those Zendjs, the lowest of the peoples, are not Moslems and do neither know justice nor good manners. For my part, I had drawn the map of Azerbaijan which occurs on the following page and of which he approved, as well as that of al-Jazirah which he considered excellent. In addition to his text on a particular region, he also inserts a section that describes the map literally in the simplest terms. In this earlier group (Istakhri I), the maps are more geometric than the later ones (Istakhri II), while the text that goes with the later maps is more finished and polished. They spent their money in improving the roads, in building caravanerais, in repairing bridges.
One of the things he noted was that there were large numbers of people living in areas that the Greek said were uninhabitable. Or those ones neglect those qualities or they do not participate in them and so need a different place from the viewpoint of the development of the other empires.
From the other side it is limited by the desert situated between Nubia and the Red sea, and an other frontier goes along the Buja and the un-passable desert.


It is a sea that becomes so large that crossing it to the land of the Zendjs is 700 parasangs [1980 miles].
I have seen in a geographical treatise that the sources of the Nil are situated in two circular lakes, fed by five rivers coming from the mountain Qumr.
Just like the cold has destroyed all life between the Northern Ocean and the lands of Yadjoudj and Madjoudj (Gog and Magog). In the original, South was at the top, and instead of the Earthly Paradise the Arab scholars knew enough to place in the furthest East both China and Tibet. For my part, I had drawn the map of Azerbaijan which occurs on the following page and of which he approved, as well as that of al-Jazirah which he considered excellent.A  My map of Egypt, however, he condemned as wholly bad and that of al-Maghrib as for the most part inaccurate.
Ibn Hawqal avoids the trap into which stumbled so many Latin geographers, and describes how one may make the circuit of this great salt lake without ever quitting terra firma except for the crossing of rivers. Even in Ferghanah, where Moslems were obliged incessantly to watch the motions of the Turkish hordes beyond Khokand, were groves and gardens and orchards, and flourishing towns with rich bazaars, many acres of land sown with corn, and furnished with windmills and watermills, that were not known in Europe until the first Crusade. On the other hand, it is the earlier texts that mention the name al-Istakhri, so that the cartographic historian Konrad Miller attributes the anonymous (Istakhri II) texts to al-Balkhi (#214.2), presuming wrongly that they are earlier than the others. Each of those two lakes gives bird to four rivers who throw themselves in a circular lake in the first climate.
Starting from Ghana at the Ocean, passing Kugha, Sama, Gharayu, Kazam, traversing the steppe that separates the Zendjs of the Ocean, Nubia, Abyssinie, the Zendjs, to arrive with the rest of their regions in the Indian regions, at the Sea of Persia and of India. Note also how the tip of Africa points eastwards, a mistake that the Chinese geographers were the first to correct. Kramers, however, has attempted to classify the surviving manuscripts using the state of the maps as his criterion.
These maps were later used as models by other Arab and Persian cartographers who added much to them, as well as altering their appearance. To the island bordering Lekzan they bring cattle from Berdaa in boats, and turn them out to graze and leave them until they become fat. The boundaries of all these lands, their cities and cantons, the rivers that water them, the lakes and pools that vary their surface, the routes that traverse them, the trades that flourish in them - all these I have enumerated: in a word, I have collected all that has ever made geography of interest either to princes or to people.
This whole space is not more then a 250 days long walk and in those territories the wide is never more then one month of walking.
This he finds fits the state of the text as well and agrees with the comments de Goeje made about them.
Following certain sayings there are in the land of the Zendjs cold regions, in which white Zendjs live. From this last lake a river leaves, which is the Nil of Egypt made bigger by a river starting at the equator at longitude 59 deg 31'.



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