Biruni's Picture of The World
|Author:||A Zeki Validi Togan|
|Publisher:||Archaeological survey of India|
|Other Details||10.5 inch X 8.5 inch|
The ninth and tenth chapter (bab) of the fifth treatise (maqala) of Birunl’s al-Qanun al-Mas’udi (Codex Masudicus), which contain the description of the world and the tables of latitude and longitude, have only been partly utilized by the earlier Oriental authors (A bu’l-Fida, Nasiru-d-Din Tusi, Ulug-Bek and others) as well as by modern scholars. Sprenger used only the Elliot-MS. And the consequent errors were subsequently repeated in the works of others, who used Sprenger’s work. E. Wiede- mann, who wished to edit the tables, came to the conclusion that this task could not be carried out on the basis of the Berli-MS. N. 275; thus he and his collaborator O. Rescher were forced to limit themselves to an inadequate translation of the ninth chapter.
When, in the years 1925-26, I was occupied with the excellent Stambul-MSS. Of the Codex Masudicus, I was led the plan of collating the tables, which contain the results of Biruni’s scientific work in geography, of collating their text, and of editing it.
In the meantime I have found, in the libraries of Turkey, some of Biruni’s works which I have been seeking for a long a time, namely: 1) his book on the method of scientific geographical work, Tahdid Nihayat al-Amakin, 2) his book on Stones, al-Gawahir and 3) his book on drugs, Saydana. I thereupon decided to completed the above-mentioned tables with the geographical information given in these three works.
From the combination of these materials there resulted a comprehensive geographical work by the immortal scholar, which will be of use, when his four works here used are once completely published.
Owing to the prevailing world-wide depression, however, the published of the work proved no easy task for me. After the first three proof sheets, which contained the tables and the introduction to the Tahdid Nihayat al-Amakin had been set up in type the printing was discontinued owing to the adoption of the Roman alphabet in Turkey, and the three finished sheets were destroyed through an error in the Government Press. Each printed sheet, however, had been sent by me regularly to Professors Barthold and the former had used them in his introduction to Hudud al-‘Alam (see jet the Translation of Minorsky, P. 5). I then wished to lay the work before Russian Academy of Science through Professor Barthold with a view to publishing it, and in 1929 I had already commenced the Russian translation. After the unexpected death of Professor Barthold the work was discontinued again. Later, Sir Aurel Stein, A great admirer of Biruni (whom he calls the Leonardo da Vinci of the eleventh century) came to my aid. Through his mediation, Sir John Marahall and the Archaeological Survey of India, interested themselves in the work. The Director General of Archaeology having expressed his willingness to have the work published in the Memoirs of the Archaeological Survey of India, it was decided to publish the text in advance of the English translation and my commentary as the part of the work. I wish to express my sincere gratitude to Sir Aurel Stein, Sir John Marshall, and to Rai Bahadur D. R. Sahni and Mr. Blakiston, who have rescued the work from its wandering.
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