The Meadows of Gold and Mines of Gems
DescriptionAbu al-Hasan Ali ibn al-Husayn ibn Ali al-Mas'udi (circa 896–956 AD, 283–345 AH) was an Arab historian and geographer, known as the "Herodotus of the Arabs." He was one of the first scholars to combine history and scientific geography in a large-scale work. Muruj adh-dhahab wa ma'adin al-jawhar (The meadows of gold and mines of gems) is a book of world history that combines rewritten versions of two of al-Masudi’s earlier works. The first half of the book is of enormous value, although somewhat sprawling and confused in its design. It starts with the creation of the world and Jewish history. Next follow chapters describing the history, geography, social life, and religious customs of non-Islamic lands, such as India, Greece, and Rome. The work continues with accounts of the oceans, the calendars of various nations, climate, the solar system, and great temples. Unusual and interesting sections are devoted to pearl diving in the Persian Gulf, amber found in East Africa, Hindu burial customs, the land route to China, and navigation, with its various hazards, such as storms and waterspouts. The relative positions and characteristics of the seas are also explained.
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