Muslim Cartographers

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty has a profile of Fuat Sezgin, the director of the Institute for the History of Arabic-Islamic Science at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main. He’s just released three new books on cartographers during Islam’s Golden Age of Science.

Sezgin says it has long been recognized that Muslim navigators undertook sea voyages over vast distances, which gave them a more complete view of geography than the ancient Greeks and Romans.

But he says he believes he is the first to compile a comprehensive collection of evidence showing how Muslim cartographers combined the navigators’ information with studies of astronomy and mathematics to compile maps of astonishing precision for their day.