Map of the city of Mahdiyya in The Book of Curiosities and Marvels for the Eye

Ismailimail

Map of the city of Mahdiyya (Image: The Ismailis: An Illustrated History) Map of the city of Mahdiyya (Image: The Ismailis: An Illustrated History)

The map of the city of Mahdiyya (in modern-day Tunisia) is one of seventeen maps and diagrams illustrating a treatise about the earth and the universe titled Kitab Ghara’ib al-funun wa mulah al-‘ayun, loosely translated as The Book of Curiosities of the Sciences and Marvels for the Eye. The work was composed in Egypt between 1020 and 1050.*

The volume comprises two books, the first on the heavens in ten chapters , and the second, on the earth, in twenty-five chapters. The thirteenth chapter of the second book discusses “the island-city of Mahdiyya and begins with a description and history, followed by a map of the city, describing the founding of the city by the Fatimid Caliph-Imam al-Mahdiyya in 916-921.”*

This manuscript is a copy made in the late twelfth or early thirteenth century and shows, and depicts the city…

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