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Lost Maps of the CaliphsDrawing the World in Eleventh-Century Cairo$
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Yossef Rapoport and Emilie Savage-Smith

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780226540887

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226553405.001.0001

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Maps, Seas, and the Ismaʿili Mission

(p.249) Conclusion
Lost Maps of the Caliphs

Yossef Rapoport

Emilie Savage-Smith

University of Chicago Press

The conclusion concentrates upon the relationship of the Book of Curiosities to the wider Fatimid Egyptian intellectual milieu in which the author operated and the Ismaʿili missionary network of which he may have been a member. Rather than a scholar, it is argued that the author was primarily a mapmaker, for maps are at the center of the Book of Curiosities. Our anonymous author even offers us his unique reflections on the craft of cartography. It is, nonetheless, a profoundly Fatimid treatise. Some comparisons are drawn with the Epistles of the Brethren of Purity. The author of the Book of Curiosities did not limit himself to Greek authorities, but also employed Persian, Indian and Coptic traditions and was keen to display his command of multiple languages.

Keywords:   Fatimid, Isma'ili missionary network, cartography, Brethren of Purity, Coptic, Persian

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