Early Muslim geography of northern Africa

Al-Bakri, Abu Ubayd Abdallah ibn Abdalaziz / Slane, William MacGuckin (ed.). [Kitab al-Mughrib fi dhikr bilad Ifriqiyah wa-al-Maghrib. Wa-huwa juz min ajza al-kitab al-ma`ruf bi-al-Masalik wa-al-mamalik.] Description de l'Afrique septentrionale.

Alger, Imprimerie du gouvernement, 1857.

8vo. 19, 212, (1) pp. Contemporary boards with gilt spine label.


First edition of this geography of northern Africa, extracted from the author's "Kitab al-mamalik wa-al-masalik" ("Book of Highways and of Kingdoms", a manual of universal geography). In Arabic throughout save for the French introduction. A second edition would not appear until 1910. The 11th century Andalusian Arab historian al-Bakri is regarded as the greatest geographer of the Muslim West. His works are noted for the relative objectiveness with which they present information. For each area, he describes the people, their customs, as well as the geography, climate and main cities. "The work, which contains no maps, appears to be independent from al-Balhi and based on original research. According to Simonet, his description of the Isles of the Blessed (Fortunatas, Canary Islands), quoted by al-Nuwairi, is taken from the Etymologiae of Isidor of Seville" (cf. Brockelmann).

Binding rubbed and bumped; hinges split; spine chipped. Interior shows some browning and foxing, but altogether a well-preserved copy of a rare Algerian imprint.

GAL I, 476; S I, 876. OCLC 9294002.

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