Mappery For the love of maps

Tabula Rogeriana

Donna and I were in Marrakesh a couple of weeks ago and, as one does, we managed to get well and truly lost in the medina. The plus side of that was that we stumbled on Dar El Bacha – Musee des Confluences which is a beautiful museum that we probably wouldn’t have found otherwise.

Near the entrance they had a massive projection of this map the Tabula Rogeriana (the Map of Roger). I tried to get a good picture but in all honesty this image from Wikipedia is way better so I am using it. The image has been rotated to show as north oriented which makes it easier to read, the image in the museum was south oriented so Africa is on top.

“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 Map of Roger” in Latin), is a description of the world and world map created by the Arab geographerMuhammad 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 RogerII of Sicily, who commissioned the work around 1138.

Written in Arabic and Latin and accompanied by maps, it presented the world as a sphere. It calculated the circumference to be 37,000 kilometres (22,900 mi) — an error of less than 10 percent — and it hinted at the concept of gravity. Following the classical Greek tradition, al-Idrisi had divided the world into seven climate zones  and described each in turn, supported by 70 longitudinal section maps which, when put together, made a rectangular map of the known world. “

Not really a map in the wild but it is a breathtaking achievement from nearly 900 years ago

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