New Medieval Books: The Cosmography and Geography of Africa
The Cosmography and Geography of Africa
By Johannes Leo Africanus (al-Hasan ibn Muhammad al-Wazzan)
Translated by Anthony Ossa-Richardson and Richard J Oosterhoff
This new addition to Penguin Classics is a translation of an early 16th-century account of Northern and Sub-Saharan Africa. It is the most important text we have about the continent to cover its medieval history.
The word ‘unique’ is overused. But the work you are holding, a geographical and historical guide to Africa from the Italian Renaissance, really is unique. It was the first full-length book about its subject, and the first book by a modern African, to reach print. It was also the starting point in Europe for knowledge about much of Africa until the nineteenth century. Due to the singularity of its author’s life and the circumstances of its composition, the book crossed boundaries in an extraordinary fashion: not only from Africa to Europe, but from Islam to Christianity, and from Arabic and Berber to Italian and Latin – and beyond. It conjures urban bustle and rural desolation, culture and commerce, labour, slavery and war, magical herbs and strange animals, personal experience and the shocks of history.
Who is this book for?
Being the first English translation of the text done in over 400 years, this book is a must-have for anyone studying medieval Africa. Even those who study the Middle Ages in general will want to have a copy as it is a key source.
You can learn more about this book from the publisher’s website
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