Cyrus Alai was born in Iran and received his Ph.D. degree (Dr.-Ing.) from ‘Die Technische Universität, Berlin-Charlottenburg’. He founded a group of engineering companies in Iran which he directed for twenty years, and he also lectured at the University of Teheran for eight years. Dr. Alai settled later in England, working as a consulting engineer and at the same time studying the history of cartography and collecting old maps of Persia. He has written numerous articles on ‘the cartography of Persia’ and ‘the traditional cartography of classical Islamic societies’, including the entry ‘Geography: Cartography of Persia’ for the Encyclopaedia Iranica.
''It is most informative and clearly set out and looks lovely too - it seems destined for the scholar's library, the collector's bookshelf and the amateur's coffee table: a very rare achievement.'. Mr. Peter Barber, the Head of the Map Library/British Library
Whether you are an interested amateur, a cartographic historian or a librarian, you can be assured that will have seen nothing like this book before' Tony Campbell on MapHist diiscussion group.
'This outstanding book is a welcome addition to the histories of cartography. Its scholarship is frist rate, its graphic reproduction is excellent, and its physical properties will sustain it under heavy use as a library reference. Peter Barber head of the Map Library, the British Library, stated: "It is most informative and clearly set out and looks lovely too - it seems destined for the scholar's library, the collector's bookshelf, and the amateur's coffee table: a very rare achievement."...In both content and construction, this is a work that will last for decades'
Hubert O. Johnson, The Portolan, 2006.
'All in all no question remains unanswered in this volume. Thanks to the publisher, the maps have been printed in such quality and size that the texts are legible.....
Uta Lindgren, Cartographica Helvetica, January 2007.
Cyrus Alai has produced an outstanding book of the Maps of Persia. In these days it is easy to forget the once mighty Empire that contested the Greeks and preceded the Romans. It holds great historical interest but of more contemporary importance is the fact that it does help us appreciate the central Geo-Political situation of Iran today and our need to both understand what it is about and relate to it.
Lord Peter Temple-MorrisThis publication's major contribution is bringing into one volume a rich and wide range of bibliographic material, thereby providing an invaluable resource for further investigation for those interested in the region. L. Yacher, CHOICE2006
“The care and effort used for identifying these maps, and the related historical, geographical, linguistic and, when applicable, archaeological information, contained in the two volumes, have made them a necessary tool for any historical, geographical and some other scientific, research works in the field of Iranian Studies. […] Producing and publishing of these volumes have been a unique and major scientific event which can hardly be described in words. One should see them to appreciate their high value and importance.”
Prof. Dr. Ehsan Yarshater in Iran-Nameh. A Persian quarterly of Iranian Studies 26.3-4 (2011), pp. 224-231.
Table of contents
Contents to General Maps of Persia (second, revised edition)
Key to Special Abbreviations
Foreword by Tony Campbell
Chapter One: The Ptolemaic Maps of Persia
Ptolemy’s Life and His Mapping of Persia
The Fifth Map of Asia Depicting Persia
Group PTOL-1, Bologna
Group PTOL-2, Rome
Group PTOL-3, Florence
Group PTOL-4, Ulm
Group PTOL-5, Early Venice
Group PTOL-6, Schott, Strasbourg
Group PTOL-7, Grueninger, Strasbourg
Group PTOL-8, Basel
Group PTOL-9, Gastaldi, Venice
Group PTOL-10, Ruscelli, Venice
Group PTOL-11, Mercator Plates, Cologne
Group PTOL-12, The Netherlands
Group PTOL-13, Magini, Venice; Cologne; Arnhem; Padua
Group PTOL-14, Sessa, Venice
Chapter Two: General and Regional Maps of Persia
Section One: Italian Maps
Section Two: Maps from the Low Countries
Section Three: French Maps
Section Four: Germanic Maps
Section Five: British Maps
Section Six: Russian Maps
Section Seven: American Maps
Section Eight: Persian Maps
Section Nine: Turkish Maps
Section Ten: Spanish and Portuguese Maps
A Curiosity Map, Persia as a Persian Cat
List of Consulted Map Collections
List of Figures
List of Plates
Bibliography, Excluding Maps, Atlases and Old Books (pre-1925)
Chronological Index of Map Entries
Index of Personal and Institutional Names
Index of Geographical Names
Addenda (including the maps: The Persian Empire, by Thomas Herbert, 1638 and Persiae ut et Maris Caspii Terrarumq vicinarum Delineatio noua A 1725 by Andreae Grönwall)