Al Idrisi was a Muslim geographer and mapmaker who lived in the Christian kingdom of Sicily in about A.D. 1100. Idrisi had studied in Spain and had traveled extensively in North Africa, Europe, and the Middle East.
Supported by the Christian king Roger II of Sicily, Idrisi drew on Greek and Arab sources to create a map of the heavens and the world. He sent out expeditions to confirm his calculations and he relied on Arab sea captains, who told him that Africa was in fact surrounded by water.
He engraved a map of the world on a 12-by-5-foot silver plate and created another globe of the heavens. He also wrote a book about his travels, commonly called The Book of Roger in honor of his king.
The Arabic title translates as “The Pleasure Excursion of One Who Is Eager to Traverse the Regions of the World.” Idrisi’s work represented the summit of Arabic mapmaking.