(C) Tkachenko Yuri, Kiev, 2003

In Russian

First posted on 19th of February 2003.


Idrisi completed his work "Nuzhat al-mushtak" in 1154. That means, in 2004 it will have 850.

an-Nibariya and Ancient Russia

This page is dedicated to ancient ethnos an-nibariya and their contemporary descendants, and reconsturaction of Ancient Russia's geography according to work of arab author from Palermo (Sicily) al-Idrisi "Nuzhat al-mushtak" (XII century), keeping unknown information about eastern slav's history. The work is based on the Konovalova's work (Konovalova I. G. "Eastern Europe in al-Idrisi's work ", Moscow, Publishing house "Vostochnaya literatura" RAS, 1999) and concernes not about bibliagraphy of this problem, but persuit of ancient nation and feeling of history, changing our life suddenly.

Site is kept afloat, though not regulaly. Some new files about arabic geography are added here. Two materials from Dmitry Shkrabo:

1. Translation with commentary Ibragim ibn Yakub's description of Slavic nations (translation from german translation from this site lower).

2. Extracts with commentaries from Masudi's treaties.

Galkina E. S. Eastern Europe's description after arabic geographers of al-Jaihani's school.

Chlenov A. M. "In the footsteps of Dobrynja". Another version of Russian history in 950-1000 years. Book with 260-pages, published in 1986 by "Fizkultura i sport" piblisher(1653KB ZIP). Taken from site Lysenko V. N.

Some materials were obtained from Jutta Mott. She is of german origin, but lives on western-Sicily, just an hour away from Palermo, in a city Mazara del Vallo. This city is described in Nuzhat in a very nice chapter. Both parts of this city's name are of arabic origin. That is why she is interested in "Nuzhat al-mushtaq" al-Idrisi and other muslim authors, who describe Sicily and Italy. Some examples of arab-norman architecture are still visible in Mazara del Vallo, so here are two of them: 50 Kb and 30 Kb.

Conciderable contribution into studying of arabic historical works about Sicily and Italy was made by italian scientist Michele Amari in XIX century. Next 2006 year 200th anniversary of his birthday will take place. So some materials from Jutta about him (in italian):

1. 415 Map of Italy and Sicily from Idrisi's atlas (four sheets composing region in hand), made by Amari for comparison of Idrisi's toponimy with that of XIX century.

2. Amari's biography.

3. Table of Content of Amari's book 'Storia dei Musulmani in Sicilia', published by italian publisher Le Monnier.

4. Useful link - web site, dedicated to Idrisi, set up by the French National Library in occasion of an exhibition in 2000/2001.

Complete text of A. Ya. Garkavi's book Description of Rus and Slaves by islamic authors (from the middle of VII century till the end of X century after Christ.) Collected, translated and explained by A. Ya. Garkavi, in modern orthography. Source's scans are obtained from V. Schulsinger, host of "Eastern literature" site. Better formatted web version will be available on that site.

Another work of A. Ya. Garkavi: Description of Chasars and their State by Jewish authors, 1874, in modern orthography. Also for site "Eastern literature".

French translation of "Nuzhat al-mushtaq" is now available on the Internet (German company Digento, their site http://www.digento.de/titel/100074.html). This is revised and corrected translation of Jaubert. There are complete arabic critical edition of the text and full-colour publication of Idrisi's geographical atlas there also.

As an example, 6th page of Idrisi's critical edision

and 5th section of 7th climat (presumably, todays Belorussia's territory).

Following are geographical maps, composed by Minorsky for his translation of "Hudud al-'Alam" (1937).

Hudud al-'alam page.

Work, which should be the first in this site. Rybakov B. A. "Russian lands on the al-Idrisi's map" (1952). HTML-version and RAR-archive for off-line reading.

Also Kalinina T. M. "Ancien Russia and Oriental lands in Xth century" (Moskow, 1976).

Having completed 14 chapters in the Net, author feels, that internet posting is not an real book. It is almost non existing. Serious work needs conventional publication. And author can't overcome some difficulties. So this work needs support from interested people and organisations. Because this work hase already come to full stop and its sequel is very doubtful.

11th of July 2003.

After publishing 14 chapters author have got the feeling that work is coming to an end. All important things are mentioned, the lack of new data is evident. There are grey days ahead.

And some days ago this pessimistic picture has changed. There are two causes for revival.

First - anniversary of "Nuzhat al-mushtak" to come. These things don't happen too often and this is a good event for paying attention to the work of al-Idrisi.

Then - there are striking parallels between Idrisi and "Muruj al-Dhahab" of al-Masudi. There isn't straight borrowing from first to second, two author's are devided by 200 years, nonetherless two placenames are the same, and both have no accepted attribution.

That is why the work with al-Idrisi's text is suspended, and this division is from now on is called "At home alone" (Alone - means al-Idrisi). The second division will have name "Two at home", and author is going to write new chapters for it first. Namely - the excerpt from Masudi himself and notion about announced anniversary of city Tallinn.

At home alone

Chapters (author hopes their number will be increasing - not all at one time...):

  1. (88 Kb) Description of an-nibariya nation, its persuit and discovery.

  2. (30 Kb) Description of Kumanian steppe

  3. (33 Kb) Description of cities along Dnepr river

  4. (26 Kb) Description of cities along Dnestr river

  5. (16 Kb) Considiration about some false views of al-Idrisi

  6. (30 Kb) Description of Ganun lake and nothern regions of Russia

  7. (52 Kb) Description or three types of rus'

  8. (5 Kb) Brief summary

  9. (62 Kb) Notion on role of long-range trade in Ancient Russia's genesis.

  10. (47 Kb) Quantum structure of distances between russian cities.

  11. (9 Kb) Two notions: "muzlim merchants from Arminiya province" and city-building traditions of Rurickid's dynasty.

  12. (22 Kb) One long-range trade rout more: route to India - route of spice.

  13. (36 Kb) Notions about arabic mathematical geography.

  14. (36 Kb) Addendum about arabic mathematical geography.

  15. (26 Kb) The only article about al-Idrisi in ukrainian. Andriy Plahonin North-eastern shores of Black Sea in "Nuzhat al-mushtaq" by al-Idrisi: the attempt of geographical analysis of historical source (2000).

Critique of Konovalova I. G. on Galkina E. C. book "The riddle of Russian kaganate" from "The riddles of Russian land" "Veche" publishing house Moscow, 2002

Good news. There appeared complete text of Konovalova's book in hand in the internet. It is found at addresses istbook.narod.ru and janaberestova.narod.ru, and can be at other addresses as well.

And considerable part of al-Idrisi's "Nuzhat al-mushtaq" translation into french by P. A. Jaubert (1836-1840) can be found at William Thayer's site www.ku.edu/history/index/europe/ancient_rome/F/Gazetteer/Periods/medieval/.Texts/al-Idrisi/home.html (infinite site with a lot of texts). There are descriptions of the first climate (Tropical Africa), the second climate (Sahara desert), the third climate (Marocco, Alger and Tunisia, Libia and Egypt), and part of the fourth climate - Spain. It became a common practice to draw attention to imperfections of this translation, but still there is no another translation at all.

(937 Kb) P. A. Jaubert Translation of "Nuzhat al-mushtaq" al-Idrisi into french (1836-1840 yy.).

Two at home

  1. (5 Kb) Jubilee of "Nuzhat al-mushtak" and city Tallinn.

  2. (25 Kb) Masudi "Muruj al-Dhahab" - description of the country of Slavs.

    Where there are two men, then usually the third one appears. Now he is Geographus Bavarus (well, Schwabus). So his work is here too:

  3. (5 Kb) Geographus Bavarus Original text in latin, from german site (address at page itself).

    Good analysis of Geographus Bavarus's data from I. Hermann (german academician) - article in russian. It has two maps. Text is found at Nikolay Filin's site histline.narod.ru.

  4. (27 Kb) I. Hermann Geographus Bavarus's data's analysis.

  5. (80 Kb) Localisation of tribes, mentioned by Geographus Bavarus.

  6. (94 Kb) Trade routes in Eastern Europe in the middle of IX century.

Three at home

The Earth does not ends at our horizont. Idrisi and Mosudi are not the only medieval authors, describing Europe in arabic. There is excerpt from Ibrahim ibn Jacub in german, who makes straight references to Masudi but whose description is much more clear:

  1. (22 Kb) Ibrahim ibn Jacub Translation into german from the same german site (address at the page itself).

There is one important place for eastern sources. This is site "Vostochnaya literatura". They definitly deserved our gratitude. Some important files from there:

  1. (68 Kb) Ibn Fadlan "Risale" about travel to Volga river.

    Besides translation into russian

  2. (74 Kb) - complete translation of "Risale" into bolgarian looks right in place.

    Found at Vassil Karloukovski's site (bolgarian, works in England) http://members.tripod.com/~Groznijat/fadlan/fadl_10.html - Great site about proto-bolgars, turkish nomads and south russian steppes. With site www.turkicworld.org (site about Kazan tatars (bulgarians) and turks in general) solves all problems about turks for non-turks.

    By the way, it is good idea to go to GOOGLE and type in "Vassil Karloukovski" in search window. Rather many interesting sites are being found!

    Two articles more about ibn Fadlan in English:

  3. (82 Kb) James Montgomery Modern scientific and literary translarion of ibn Fadlan's excerpt about rus' into english. Comprehensive commentary and bibliography. There are problems with diacritic signs (in translitiration of arabic words with latin letters).
  4. (210 Kb) James Montgomery Same text in pdf format, without problems with diacritics.

    Both articles are found at site "Journal of Asiatic and Islamic Studies"

    Another translation of Ibn Fadlan into russian (I. Yu. Krachkovski, 1939:

  5. (128 Kb) Ibn Fadlan, "Risale" with comments and list of manuscripts.

    And one translation into english more (looks like student's work but with strange mention of names of three russian cities (the very end):

  6. (25 Kb) Ibn Fadlan, "Risale"

    One non-normann theory of Russia's genesis more (this time jewish):

  7. (158 Kb) Irma Haymann Study in the role of jewish diaspora (cities of nothern Black Sea coast) in Ancient Russia' genesis (completed before 1983).

    And herule's theory of Russia's genesis:

  8. Russian partial translation of Hakon Stang's (Norway) dissertation (see next point) deleted due to copyright owner's complain.

    For those, who are unfamiliar whis herule theory, here there is review of swedish history (29 Kb, in english; from http://www.osterholm.info/), where herule history is overviewed, and swedes themselves are considered as offspring of Troyans.

  9. (2807 Kb) One good news more. The complete work of Hakon Stang "The naming of Russia". In English, from the internet site http://www.hf.uio.no/east/Medd/Meddbibl.html#logo, thanks to Nikolay Filin (histline.narod.ru).
  10. (61 Kb) Detailed chronology of medieval Greenland history from site "www.personal.utulsa.edu/~marc-carlson/index.html". For studying viking's activity all around the world.
  11. (13 Kb) Excerpts from classical arabic authors about rus' and slavs from Vsevolod Kulikov's site AD FONTES (http://adfontes.boom.ru/index.htm).

    Several files from site "Norroen Dyrd" (Nothern Glory) by Tim Stridmann at norse.narod.ru (about vikings, almost all in russian):

  1. (103 Kb) Russian translation of "Eymundar thattr" by O. I. Senkovski, 1834 (after 1858 edition in modern orthography).
  2. Russian translation of "Eymundar thattr" by E. A. Rydzevskaya 1978 and T. N. Jackson and Ethnogeorafic guide for "Eymundar thattr" by T. N. Jackson are moved away due to request of T. N. Jackson, but are available at original site norse.narod.ru.
  3. (45 Kb) "Eymundar thattr" in original islandic.
  4. (9 Kb) Bibliography of scandinavic data about early russian history, by T. N. Jackson.
  5. (23 Kb) Ottere's travells. Translation from anglosaxon into russian by Ivan Starikov (http://odnapl1yazyk.narod.ru).
  6. (26 Kb) Notes about development of Baltic shipbuilding.
  7. (35 Kb) Anders Strinnholm "Viking's raids"; book 1 chapter 5. From site http://sundukis.narod.ru/index.html. Short sketch of normann's gaining power over Italy and Sicily - places, were in 80 years Idrisi's talents were flourishing.

Connected to description of normann's conquest of Southern Italy and Sicily:

    Unprecedented works of Nikitin Andrey Leonidovich about Biarmia. They are worth reading before dealing with more complicated topics of nothern and eastern authors about early russian history:

  1. (83 Kb) Biarmia of Scandinavic sagas from site http://library.narod.ru/saga/osnova312.htm.
  2. (160 Kb - zipped!) Konung's saga - comprehensive consideration of iselandic topics about nethern russian regions.

Maps of Khazaria by Richard Burd (link found at site gumilevica.kulichki.net; home page has address http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Sparta/3976/):

  1. (265 Kb) Description of maps content (in .mht format).

    Maps themselves (about 450 Kb each):

  2. Khazaria during its heyday (about 850).
  3. Early history of Khazaria (about 350-627).
  4. Heyday of Khazaria (about 600-850).
  5. Decline of Khazaria (about 850-965).

Detailed article (66 Kb) about khazars from site of Jewish Encyclopedia JewishEncyclopedia.com (electronic edition of 1901-1906 yy. text in english). There is complete excerpt from Masudi about russian campaign to Transcaucasian region about 914.

Small note about the scope of work, needed for adequate analysis of eastern sources about early Russian history. Author came upon

General views of medieval arabic authors about British Isles and Nothern seas. Article by D. M. Dunlop is found at site http://www.salaam.co.uk/knowledge/british_isles.php. Before posting to the site mentioned english text was scanned from journal "The Islamic Quarterly", London (1957) and OCRed without proofreading, and now it is impossible to correct errors without paper original. Greek text is distorted completely, there is a lot of errors in placenames. These data are interesting nonetheless for discussing the problem of al-Idrisi's informants on nothern regions (would they be normanns - region should be described accurately). Nonetheless Scadinavian peninsula is almost absent at al-Idrisi's map, and Baltic sea itself can be found only in mysterious Ganun lake... There is extensive bibliography. Four parts of article are gathered together.

The same article from another site (www.abusaleh.com), possible with some errores corrected (although part of them is at their place). Bibliography is absent.

An article from site http://www.vikinganswerlady.com, dedicated to movie "13th Warrior":

Connected to previous is "THE CARTOGRAPHY OF SCOTLAND" by John N. Moore (www.lib.gla.ac.uk/Depts/MOPS/Maps/Biliog.html) - zipped htm.

Small article (a bit mistic), mentions connection of al-Idrisi's and Ptolemy's maps, from redcap.org site.

Article from site www.vobam.se about european cartography:

One publication more from the Internet (from site www.cronologia.it). ALDO C. MARTURANO published the work "LA MAFIA DELL'ACQUA" ("Sea mafia"?), connected to book "OLGA LA RUSSA" ("Olga of Rus" - meaning Princess Olga). Unfortunately in italian. Names and placenames are wide known - Rurik, Oleg, Olga, Aldeguborg, Biarmia, bibliography is by 50% from Moscow publishing houses - (Artamonov, Gumilev, Rybakov, Sakharov), but word "mafia" is relentlessly present. It seams italians know what mafia is. May be somebody can read this book and tell it to others?

A few links just for languages' connoisseur. As Idrisi described the whole world, there are articles about him at every langauge imaginable, Here there are two of them:

Maps, useful for searching routes
to an-nibariya country
(for two first maps south is to the top):

Eastern Europe at al-Idrisi's map from "Nuzhat al-mushtak". This is our primary map, so it is scanned with different parameters, which differs in quality and size:

Eastern Europe map from "small Idrisi":

General map from "Nuzhat al-mushtak" al-Idrisi. It serves only for reader's pleasure. Two first maps are found at site http://www.henry-davis.com/MAPS/EMimages/, (great place to visit), third - at site http://www.vokrugsveta.com/S4/asia_map2.htm (in *.mht format for MS IE 5.50)

For comparing Idrisi's map with other muslim maps, here there is page (in english) from http://members.tripod.com/~khorasan/Miscellaneous/ManuscriptsAndMapsFromKhorasan.html (author - Taher, valuable resourse for Tajik world and Khorasan), dedicated to Khorasan history, where there are 10 different maps of medieval muslim geographers. All maps has 50-70 Kb in size. One map is reconstruction in english. Maps are 10 last links in the table, other links work also, but take pictures from original web-page.

Some rare maps of Transcaucasus region (not to be ignorant of trade companions of rus' - al-Idrisi's informants):

Western Georgia map, found at swedis (!) server www.eutopia.no (swedish author has found the land of Vans, Vanaheim, and the land of amazones-valkiries there):

Best of found maps of

Pay attention to branch of Silk Road, forking from eastern coast of Black sea, and going along Black Sea coast of Caucasus, across Kerch' channel and to north-west further. It is this branch, that is considered by author in chapter about cities "along Dnepr river".

General map from Ptolemey's "Geography" (for pleasure also; 211 Kb) . Found at site www.empereur.com/nations/ptolemy.gif.

Maps of medieval russian principalities of X - XII centuries according to B. A. Rybakov:

Very sympathetic maps of ancient Russia by Robert Beard (http://www.departments.bucknell.edu/russian/rbeard.html - site, dedicated to Russian history):

General maps on early russian history from site litopys.narod.ru/litop/pics/...:

Maps of Belorussia, recieved from Igor Litvin

Another reproduction of Ebstorf map from site home.t-online.de/home/henkaipan/mundus.htm - it seems there is a lot of maps there:

Arabic transcription of an-nibariya cities' placenames:

Ancient Russia map according to L. Mahnovets (in 6 sections, 180 to 260 Kb each). Relative location of each section:

A1 A2 A3
B1 B2 B3

Supplemental maps of Ancient Russia's (X - XII cc.) from academician B. A. Rybakov work "Kievan Rus' and Russian principalities XII-XIII cc." Moscow, Publishing House Nauka, 1982:

Map of Danemark in viking age. "War route" is shown. From Lebedev G. S. book "Viking age in Northern Europe", Leningrad univercity Publishing House, 1985:

Maps from Lebedev G. S. book "Viking age in Northern Europe":

Eastern Europe maps from historical server http://sumy.net.ua/History/map/map5.jpg and map6.jpg:

Map of Ukraine in XVII century; trade routes in the steppe region are shown. From "History of Ukrainian SSR, v. I, Kiev, Naukova dumka, 1967

Maps of Grand Duchy of Litva from site http://www.geocities.com/litva_kronika/:

Maps of Kievan Rus', Litva and Poland from site of V. Nikolaev (www.ostu.ru/personal/nikolaev/) - all site is worth seeing:

Map of GDL in XIV-XV cc. Found in the internet with note: "From book of Zigmantas Kiaupa, Jurate Kiaupiene, Albinas Kuncevicius.THE HISTORY OF LITHUANIA before 1795. Vilnius: Lithuanian Institute of History 2000. Thanks to Yuryus Brooklis":

Maps from Kalinina T.M. book "Information of early scientists from Arab caliphat", Moscow, Nauka, 1988:

Ales' Biely's works about Belorussian territory at al-Idrisi's map: (found in the Internet):

Two maps from book "Ancient Russia in the light of foreign sources" Moscow, Logos, 1999:

Three maps from Gafurov, Tsybukidis's work "Alexandr the Great and the east" Moscow, Nauka, 1980:

Three historical maps of Poland, from "Soviet historical Encyclopedia" (entry "Poland"):

Useful data from the Internet:

Consolidated bibliography (each chapter has its own)

Some useful data

Misreadings are possible, especially in bibliography and placenames. So in need use paper editions. All texts keep original paginating. One source is in .rtf format, others - plain text:

Some useful links:

Author is accessible at address:


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