Al-Idrisi

Full name: 
Abū ‘Abdallāh Muhammad al-Charīf al- Idrīssī
Arabic name: 
أبو عبد الله محمد الشريف الإدريسي
Latin name: 
Dreses
Date of birth: 
1100
Date of death: 
1165

Moroccan cartographer, geographer and traveller (ca. 1100-ca. 1165). He was born in Sebta, Northern Morocco under the Almoravids, he died in his city after a long stay in al-Andalus and Sicily, where he lived at the court of King Roger II.

Al Idrissi's best known work is his map of the world Lawh al-tarsim (Plank of draught), drawn in 1154 while he was in Sicily. He worked on the commentaries and illustrations for 18 years. His map is now known as the 'Tabula Rogeriana', his book as the 'Geografia'. Taken together, they were named Nuzhat al-Mushtak fi Ikhtiraq al-Afaq, dedicated to Roger (whence the nickname of the book, al-Kitab al-Rujari, Roger's Book). His maps were used extensively during the explorations in the Renaissance. Al-Idrisi became famous in Europe more than other Muslim geographers and several of his books were translated into Latin. It is said that Christopher Columbus used the map which was originally taken from Al-Idrissi's work.

See "Idrisi (1100- 1165 C.E.): A Scholar at the Court of Palermo".