xxxxxThe Moroccan geographer Mohammad Al-
xxxxxThe Arab traveller and geographer Mohammad Al-
xxxxxAnd this monumental creation was accompanied by his Tabula Rogeriana (The Book of Roger), an equally impressive piece of work, written in Arabic. Designed as “a pleasant journey into faraway lands” for one who is “eager to traverse the regions of the world”, it provided a detailed account of the physical, cultural and political conditions prevailing in each of the seventy sections into which his map was divided. The fund of knowledge contained in this compendium was compiled from his own observations during his long years of travel, and supplemented by data from Arabic and Greek sources, and information gleaned from the large number of travellers, merchants and explorers who visited Sicily at this time. In addition, he and the king sent out a number of skilled men whose job it was to visit various countries and report back on their findings.
xxxxxHis book was completed in January 1154, just a short time before the death of his benefactor. It is not without its inaccuracies -
xxxxxThe planisphere has long since been lost, but ten manuscript copies of his map and textbook have survived. The most complete version is held in Istanbul, but there are also copies in Cairo, the French national library, and the Bodleian Library in Oxford, England.