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Europe and the Islamic WorldA History$
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John Tolan, Henry Laurens, and Gilles Veinstein

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691147055

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691147055.001.0001

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The Geographers’ World

The Geographers’ World

From Arabia Felix to the Balad al-Ifranj (Land of the Franks)

(p.11) Chapter 1 The Geographers’ World
Europe and the Islamic World

John Tolan

Gilles Veinstein

Henry Laurens

, Jane Marie Todd
Princeton University Press

This chapter examines how medieval Arab and European geographers perceived the world and the populations who lived in it. It pays particular attention to the image of Europeans in Arab geography and to that of the East in Latin geography. The geographical culture of these literati had a dual foundation: scriptures (the Bible and the Qur'an) and Greek geographical scholarship. Greek geography had undergone transformations, since medieval Europe received it through the filter of Latin geographical and encyclopedic works, texts dating primarily between the fifth and seventh centuries. In the Umayyad and then the Abbasid caliphates, translations of Greek works were supplemented by Persian and Hindu geographical traditions. For these geographers, there was no hard and fast distinction between physical geography, human geography, and religious explanation.

Keywords:   geographers, Arab geography, Latin geography, geographical culture, scriptures, Greek geography, Latin geographical works, Persian geographical traditions, Hindu geographical traditions

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