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Routes and RealmsThe Power of Place in the Early Islamic World$
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Zayde Antrim

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199913879

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199913879.001.0001

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Dividing the World

Dividing the World

(p.87) 4 Dividing the World
Routes and Realms

Zayde Antrim

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the textual practice of dividing the world in early Islamic geographical literature. The resulting regions were represented at a larger scale than cities in the discourse of place, but could still be distinguished from the world as a whole by a degree of particularity and boundedness. By exploring the different methods of dividing the world into regions, including the latitudinal clime (iqlīm) system, the circular kishwar system, and others, this chapter argues that regions were endowed with meanings that differentiated peoples as well as plots of land. It moves on to a consideration of itineraries as a method of spatial organization in world geographies and their emphasis on cities as nodes along linear routes. It argues that even in these works, regions appear as meaningful divisions of the world that transcend the cities within them and the routes that crosscut them and enable particular claims to authority.

Keywords:   regions, world, scale, geographical literature, geographies, clime, Kishwar, itineraries, nodes, routes

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