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The Kitab Rudjdjar (lit. "The book of Roger" in Arabic) or Tabula Rogeriana (lit. "The map of Roger" in Latin) was a world map drawn by the Arab geographer, Muhammad al-Idrisi, in 1154. Al-Idrisi worked on the accompanying commentaries and illustrations of the map ("the Book of Roger") for eighteen years at the court of the Norman King Roger II of Sicily.
The map, written in Arabic, shows the Eurasian continent in its entirety, but only shows the northern part of the African continent. The map is actually oriented with the North at the bottom. It remained the most accurate world map for the next three centuries.
Roger II of Sicily had his world map drawn on a circle of silver weighing about 400 pounds. The works of Al-Idrisi include Nozhat al-mushtaq fi ikhtiraq al-afaq - a compendium of the geographic and sociological knowledge of his time as well as descriptions of his own travels illustrated with over seventy maps; Kharitat al-`alam al-ma`mour min al-ard (Map of the inhabited regions of the earth) wherein he divided the world into 7 regions, the first extending from the equator to 23 degrees latitude, and the seventh being from 54 to 63 degrees followed by a region uninhabitable due to cold and snow.
Ten manuscript copies of the Book of Roger currently survive. Two are in the Bibliothèque nationale de France, including the oldest, dated to about 1300. (MS Arabe 2221). Another copy, made in Cairo in 1456, is in the Bodleian Library in Oxford (Mss. Pococke 375).
On the work of al-Idrisi, S. P. Scott commented:
"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."
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