Book of Curiosities

diagram-of-the-universeThe Book of Curiosities. Fol. 2b-3a Diagram of the universe. Bodleian Library. Online

Medieval Islamic Views of the Cosmos: The Book of Curiosities (via The Scout Report – Volume 22, Number 39):

„The University of Oxford’s Bodleian Library is home to a rare manuscript entitled (through a rough English translation) Book of Curiosities of the Sciences and Marvels for the Eyes. This manuscript, which was authored sometime in the eleventh century, features diagrams, maps, and text that highlight the work of Muslim astronomers, scholars, and historians, „most of which are unparalleled in any Greek, Latin or Arabic material known to be preserved today.“ On this website, visitors can examine a digitized copy of the first and second chapters of this five chapter manuscript. Within this sample, visitors will find diagrams of major rivers, a variety of both earthly and celestial maps, and a diagram of „winds, elements, and zodiacal signs.“ By moving their mouse over any portion of the digitized manuscript, readers can see the original Arabic in detail alongside an English translation. This website also includes footnotes and a glossary to aid modern day readers in examining this extraordinary document. Instructors will want to check out the project’s extensive Teachers‘ Pack, which includes a variety of classroom activities.“

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