Jean-Charles Ducène (ULB/EPHE)
Seas and Arabic medieval cartography
lundi 4 mars 2013 à 18h00 à l'IFEA
Intervention en anglais
Islamic cartography emerged for the first time during the 9th century, revising and correcting some aspects of the Ptolemy’s Geography treaty. In this perspective, scholars tried to find a new distribution of the landmass and the seas on the globe. In sum, we have the disc of the emerged lands notched by two seas, the Mediterranean Sea and the Indian Ocean. Throughout the middle ages, this influential representation ruled the image of the world, although al-Bîrûnî modified it in the 11th century highlighting a connection between the Indian and Atlantic Oceans. The maps of the “Balkhi school” were also focused on the lands although some maps show a particular sea. It is in the 14th century that maritime maps of the Mediterranean world appeared for the first time, but in the context of a shared knowledge between the mariners who sailed in these seas.