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Ṣiḳilliya

(11,756 words)

Author(s): Traini, R. | Oman, G. | Grassi, Vincenza
or Siḳilliyya , Arabic adaptation of the Greek Σικελία (with the variants noted by Yāḳūt, iii, 406), as a name of the island of Sicily (but sometimes used to indicate the city of Palermo alone). Al-Bakrī (482, § 812), following the classical sources, gives the mythic etymology evoking the eponymous Sīkūl(os), brother of Īṭāl(os), while also supplying, in what is actually a considerably distorted form, the ancient Greek name Τρινακρία. Al-Ḥimyarī, who follows him in these data, retains for his part, implicit in a verse of Ibn Ras̲h̲īḳ (d. 463/1071 [ q.v.]), the false etymology, owed to…

Maṭbaʿa

(14,028 words)

Author(s): Oman, G. | Kut, Günay Alpay | Floor, W. | Shaw, G.W.
(a.), printing. 1. In the Arab World The Arabic verb ṭabaʿa , in the sense of printing a book, is a neologism probably inspired by the Italian or the French. This meaning is already attested in the ¶ Dictionnaire français-arabe of Bocthor (1829): “printing”, “the art of printing” is ṭibāʿa or ṣināʿāt al-ṭabʿ , while “printing-house”, “printing-press” is maṭbaʿa or dār al-ṭibāʿa . It is the art of printing, in the context of the three technical processes that it comprises, xylography or wood-block printing (the discovery of which dates back to remote antiqu…

Ṭarābulus al-G̲h̲arb

(3,129 words)

Author(s): Oman, G. | Christides, V. | Bosworth, C.E.
or simply Ṭarābulus, with the local variants of Itrābulus, Iṭrābulus al-G̲h̲arb and Ṭrablus, the name for the city of Tripoli, of Africa or of Barbary, in Libya, a designation which is also extended to Tripolitania, a region of North Africa bordering the Mediterranean which, with Cyrenaica and the Fezzan, constitutes the State of Libya [see lībiyā ; barḳa ; fazzān ]. 1. General. The name derives from an Arabisation of the Greek term Tripolis which dates back to ancient times. The qualificative al-G̲h̲arb (= “of the West”) was added after the Tur…

Suḳuṭra

(3,746 words)

Author(s): Oman, G. | Simeone-Senelle, M.-Cl.
(other transcriptions: Suḳuṭrā, Suqutra, Soqotra, Soḳoṭrā, Socotora and Socotra; in Arabic, the final letter may be an alif maḳṣūra or a tāʾ marbūṭa ), is an island in the Indian Ocean, at a distance of approximately 300 km/186 miles from the coasts of Arabia (Ras Fartak) and 240 km/150 miles from Ras Asir (Cap Guardafui) in Africa. Its geographical coordinates are, from east to west, Raʾs Māmī (12° 32′ N. 54° 30′ E.) to Raʾs S̲h̲uʿab (12° 32′ N. 53° 19′ E.), and from north to south, Raʾs Ḥulaf (12° 42′ N. 54° 06′ E.) to Raʾs Ḳatanān (12° 21′ N. 53° 33′ E.). The dimensions of the island change acc…

Sardāniya

(869 words)

Author(s): Oman, G.
, the most usual Arabic transcription of the place name Sardinia, the second largest in size of the island in the western Mediterranean. The author of the EI 1 article mentions also the transcription Sardaniya . Amongst the reasons impelling the Arabs, who had just invaded North Africa at the beginning of the 7th century A.D., to conquer Sardinia, was the fact that it was an appendage of the Byzantine Exarchate of ¶ Africa. To this first reason, one might add a desire to acquire the silver mines required for a bimetallic monetary system, one based on both gold and s…

al-Idrīsī

(3,058 words)

Author(s): Oman, G.
, Abū ʿAbd Allāh Muḥammad b. Muḥammad b. ʿAbd Allāh b. Idrīs al-ʿĀlī bi-amr Allāh , called also al-S̲h̲arīf al-Idrīsī because of his exalted lineage, owes his fame to a work of descriptive geography entitled Kitāb Nuzhat al-mus̲h̲tāḳ fi ’k̲h̲tirāḳ al-āfāḳ , which was produced on the orders of Roger II, the Norman king of Sicily, as a key to a large silver planisphere which the author himself had made. For This reason the work was also called Kitāb Rud̲j̲ār (the Book of Roger) or al-Kitāb al-Rud̲j̲ārī . According to information found at the end of the six comp…