Ales Biely. The territory of modern Belarus on Idrisi’s map (1154).
This is an investigation into the description of the territory of the modern Republic of Belarus by the famous medieval Arabian geographer al–Idrisi in his work «Kitвb nuzhat al–muрtвk fо htirвk al–afвk» (Amusement for him who desires to travel around the world or the Book of Roger) and on the sectional map of the world known as Charta Rogeriana. The author made an attempt to reconstruct geographical objects described by al–Idrisi and to assign their names given in rather distorted transcription, to the modern toponyms of Belarus and the adjacent countries.
Unlike in many other countries, there is no own tradition of al–Idrisi studies in Belarus, though one of the best Arabists of the XX century, I. Kraиkouski, Belarusian by nationality, studied al–Idrisi’s heritage actively, without paying special attention to Belarusian territory. The latter is mainly displayed by al–Idrisi on the 65th sheet of his sectional map (5th section of VII climate, according to the traditional classification). Some foreign authors, notably J. Lelewel, K. Miller, O. J.Tallgren (Tuulio), T. Lewicki and B. Rybakov, dedicated parts of their works to attribution of some of al–Idrisi’s toponyms to the certain places on the territory of today’s Belarus.
These attributions are analyzed by author in detail. In particular, he accepts Rybakov’s point of view whereby Muniska is identified with modern Minsk, Sinuboli with Smolensk, and Dnabrus–Beltes river system as Dnieper–Biarezina. However, he disagrees with Rybakov’s identification of Barmunia as modern Ukrainian town of Bilhorod. Neither he accepts opinions of Lewicki, Alexandrowicz and Beilis who read the same Arabic inscription as Turubia and attributed it to the ancient Belarusian town of Turau. In author’s opinion, Barmunia seems to be more correct Latin transliteration of al–Idrisi, but it refers rather to Brest. Instead of Rybakov’s attribution of Beltes outfall as the vicinity of the modern town of Reиyca, the author suggests more appropriate, in his opinion, towns of Horval’ or Streљyn. He also suggests to attribute Markata river to the Nioman with its tributaries, and Markata mountains he perceives as a contamination of the real Belarusian Ridge and the mythical Riphaeus Mountains of the ancient geographers. Al–Idrisi’s Termi lake is almost unanimously recognized by the researchers as the Prypiac’ Marshes.