Muhammad al-Idrisi

About Muhammad al-Idrisi

Who is it?: Cartographer, Geographer, Traveler
Birth Year: 1100
Birth Place: Ceuta, (present-day Spain), Moroccan
Known for: Tabula Rogeriana
Fields: Geographer, writer, scientist, cartographer

Muhammad al-Idrisi

Muhammad al-Idrisi was born on 1100 in Ceuta, (present-day Spain), Moroccan, is Cartographer, Geographer, Traveler. Muhammad al-Idrisi also known as Abu Abd Allah Muhammad al-Idrisi al-Qutubi al-Hasani al-Sabti was a Muslim cartographer, geographer, traveler and Egyptologist famous for his travels all over Europe, Africa and Asia and mapping the regions he travelled in. The maps drawn by him were often corrections of the existing maps at that time which showed inaccurate geography of the regions in question. He was the descendant of a long line of Princes, Sufi leaders and Caliphs down to the Prophet Muhammad. He was the immediate descendant of the ‘Hammudis’ who ruled Andalusia around 1016 to 1058 AD and were an offshoot of the ‘Idrisids’ who ruled during the period 789-985 AD. He acquired geographic information by sending men to far off lands accompanied by draftsmen. When these men returned with the information about these lands he used the data collected by them to update the geographical treatise he had created with the information received from Greek and Arabic geographers. He took almost eighteen years to compile all the information and create a map of the world which was very accurate and had never been created before. This map was one of his greatest creations in the pre-modern era. The voluminous treatise has a large amount of detail about Europe in the 12th century.
Muhammad al-Idrisi is a member of Intellectuals & Academics

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Famous Quotes:

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.



An abridged version of the Arabic text was published in Rome in 1592 with title: De geographia universali or Kitāb Nuzhat al-mushtāq fī dhikr al-amṣār wa-al-aqṭār wa-al-buldān wa-al-juzur wa-al-madā’ in wa-al-āfāq which in English would be Recreation of the desirer in the account of cities, regions, countries, islands, towns, and distant lands. This was one of the first Arabic books ever printed. The first translation from the original Arabic was into Latin. The Maronite's Gabriel Sionita and Joannes Hesronita translated an abridged version of the text which was published in Paris in 1619 with the title of Geographia nubiensis. Not until the middle of the 19th century was a complete translation of the Arabic text published. This was a translation into French by Pierre Amédée Jaubert. More recently sections of the text have been translated for particular regions. Beginning in the 1970 a critical edition of the complete Arabic text was published.


On the geographical work of al-Idrisi, S.P. Scott wrote in 1904:

Muhammad al-Idrisi trend