Karen C. Pinto

Jan 16, 2024

Medieval Islamic Maps

An Exploration

University of Chicago Press 2016

The history of Islamic mapping is one of the new frontiers in the history of cartography. Medieval Islamic Maps: An Exploration (University of Chicago Press, 2016) offers the first in-depth analysis of a distinct tradition of medieval Islamic maps known collectively as the Book of Roads and Kingdoms (Kitab al-Masalik wa al-Mamalik, or KMMS). Created from the mid-tenth through the nineteenth century, these maps offered Islamic rulers, scholars, and armchair explorers a view of the physical and human geography of the Arabian peninsula, the Persian Gulf, the Mediterranean, Spain and North Africa, Syria, Egypt, Iraq, the Iranian provinces, present-day Pakistan, and Transoxiana. Historian Karen C. Pinto examines around 100 examples of these maps retrieved from archives across the world from three points of view: iconography, context, and patronage. By unraveling their many symbols, she guides us through new ways of viewing the Muslim cartographic imagination.

Dr. Karen Pinto is an Associate Scholar in Religious Studies at the University of Colorado-Boulder. Karen is working on a forthcoming book that explores the Islamic conception of the Mediterranean and mapping.

Caleb Zakarin is the Assistant Editor of the New Books Network.

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