Ibn Roste

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[pp. 86-88]


(d. before 913 A.D.)

Abū 'Alī A.b. 'Umar b. Roste (Rustah). A Persian from Isfahan, who wrote an encyclopaedic work, of which only the 7th volume, dealing with geography, has been preserved.

Brockelmann 1, 227; EI (s.v. Ibn Rosta).

K. al-a’lāq an-nafīsa

[p. 87] Ed.: De Goeje, BGA 7, pp. 3-229; French transl.: G. Wiet, Cairo 1955.

T.: BGA 7 A:0

As for the Indian Sea, it extends in length from west to east, that is from the farthest borders of the Ḥabash to the farthest borders of al-Hind, a distance of 8000 miles in length, and 2700 miles in width ... From this sea, a gulf branches off near the land of the Ḥabash and extends towards the Barbar, therefore it is called the Barbarī Gulf. (BGA 7, p. 83).

The Sea Uqiyānus, which is [also called] the Sea of Mughrib or the Green Sea, is not known except in its western and northern parts, extending from the land of the Ḥabash to Barṭiniyyah. It is a sea on which vessels cannot sail. It contains six islands opposite the land of the Ḥabashah, called the "Happy Islands". (ibid., p. 85).

The source of the Nile of Egypt is in the country of al-Babān: it flows into two lakes beyond the equator, surrounds the country of Nūba and branches off downstream from Fusṭāṭ. (ibid., p. 90).

The First Climate ... crosses Ḥabasha and the Nile of Egypt. There are located Jarmī, the capital of the Ḥabasha and Dunqula, the capital of the Nūba, (ibid., p. 96).

A merchant came from the two seas which are behind the country of Kusāniyyīn, i.e. the Zanj, carrying some eggs which are similar to those of the ostrich; we never saw anything like this in the countries on this side of the equator. (ibid., p. 100).

[p. 88] The Blacks (Sūdān) and the Ḥabash inhabit the country which lies under the Zodiac, extending from the Tropic of Capricorn to the Tropic of Cancer. When the sun, whether rising or setting, is found in this space in the middle of the sky, it shines directly above them, and their climate is therefore hot; burning heat and drought predominate. For this reason they have a black skin and curly hair, dry and thin bodies and are also hot-tempered. The prevailing quality in their character is brutality and violence. (ibid., p. 102).