Bīrūnī, Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad, Alberuni's India (v. 1)

(London :  Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co.,  1910.)



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On the The midst of the inhabitable world, of its longitudinal
the term extcusion from east to west on the equator, is by the
earth.          astronomcrs (of the Muslims) called the cupola of the

earth, and the great circle which passes through the
pole and this point of the equator is called the meridian
of the cupola. We must, however, observe that whatever
may be the natural form of the earth, there is no place
on it which to the exclusion of others deserves the
name of a cupola ; that this term is only a metaphorical
one to denote a point from which the two ends of the
inhabitable world in east and west are equidistant,
comparable to the top of a cupola or a tent, as all
things hanging down from this top (tent-ropes or walls)
have the same length, and their lower ends the same
distances therefrom. But the Hindus never call this
point by a term that in our language must be inter¬
preted by cupola ; they only say that Lanka is between
the two ends of the inhabitable world and without
The story of latitude. There Ravana, the demon, fortified him¬
self when he had carried off the wife of Rama, the
son of Dasaratha. His labyrinthine fortress is called
. jl::,-.^-*.; (?), whilst in our (Muslim) countries it is
called Ydvana-koti, which has frequently been explained
as Rome.
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