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Mathematical Geography In Fifteenth-Century Egypt: An Episode In The Decline Of Islamic Science

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Chapter Summary

Islamic mathematical geography deals with lists of longitudes and latitudes for numerous localities and the associated world-maps fitted with proper longitude and latitude grids and with localities properly marked according to their coordinates. In some recent publications the author has drawn attention to the two most influential traditions of mathematical geography in the Islamic East - Greater Iran and Central Asia - that lasted from the eleventh century at least until the seventeenth century. This chapter introduces the notion of the climates, which was of fundamental importance in Islamic mathematical geography. In Egypt, some scholars proposed a different definition of the climates, to make them begin at the equator and embrace all latitudes up to the Arctic Circle. Scholars like Ibn al-ʿAṭṭār and Ibn Timurbāy were amongst the leading scholars of their time, but they fell victim to the manuscript tradition.

Keywords: Arctic circle; fifteenth-century Egypt; Ibn al-ʿAṭṭār; Ibn Timurbāy; Islamic mathematical geography; manuscript tradition



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