Regional Description as a Part of World Geography: Cumania by Al-Idrisi
Regional Description as a Part of World Geography: Cumania by Al-Idrisi
Annotation
PII
S207987840001885-2-1
DOI
10.18254/S0001885-2-1
Publication type
Article
Status
Published
Authors
Irina Konovalova 
Affiliation: Institute of World History RAS
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow
Abstract
The article considers the information of the Arabiс geographer of the middle of the 12th century al-Idrisi about Cumania (Polovtsian steppe) as an example of a regional description in the composition of a story about the whole oecumene. Al-Idrisi’s techniques of the characteristics of Cumania as a special territory inhabited by the Cumans are investigated. The geographer used mostly modern information received from informers who visited Cumania personally or heard about the trips there from eyewitnesses. At the same time the information that al-Idrisi had about the cities of Kumania, as a rule, is not specific enough and is also very concise, which makes it problematic to localize the settlements named by the geographer with a sufficient degree of certainty. Yet it is quite obvious that most of the information of al-Idrisi about the Polovtsian steppe was somehow connected with the trade route that led from the Azov Sea to the south-eastern outskirts of the Rus’. The cities, applied by the geographer to the Cumans, were actually Old Russian settlements that lay in the border strip and had in some cases an ethnically mixed population, in which the Turkic element was also present. Al-Idrisi’s presentation of Cumania as a country relied on the idea of the vast size of this territory, but this notion, however, was not backed up by the geographic data, and as a result al-Idrisi attributed to Cumania significant areas of Eastern Europe, that were not well known to him.
Keywords
region, geographical description, al-Idrisi, Cumania
Received
05.05.2017
Publication date
15.06.2017
Number of characters
31529
Number of purchasers
19
Views
3227
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0.0 (0 votes)
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