Interpretation, Intention, and Impact: Andalusi Arab and Norman Sicilian Examples of Islamo-Christian Cartographic Translation

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Contribution to Books

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Translation is a two-way street. Or so the maps that I harness for the purposes of this chapter intimate: one a medieval European T-O map labeled in Arabic and the other a medieval Islamic geographical atlas made in Norman Sicily. One was interpreted by a famous eleventh-century Andalusi Muslim geographical scholar of Arab descent and the other illustrated by a Siculo-Arab cartographic artist may have had an influence on the childhood psyche of the emperor, Frederick II, who went on to be called Stupor Mundi (Wonder of the world). One ended up influencing the composition of an Arabic geographical text and the other had an impact on a segment of the Kitāb al-masālik wa-al-mamālik (Book of routes and realms) KMMS Islamic mapping tradition. Each speaks to crucial sides of translation: interpretation, intention, and impact. These are the sides that I intend to focus on in this chapter.