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Sultan launches English version of his latest books

His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah said that writing historical stories in a good manner and in a smooth and narrative way contributes to the acceptance of the historical cultural product without going amiss behind these happenings.

This came during His Highness’ speech at the launching ceremony of the English version of His Highness’ books "Tale of A City” and “Bibi Fatima and The King’s Sons” in London.

"The story of one of these books is a true one authenticated with true documentation, but there is a conflict between the historical story and the fictional story," His Highness said. He explained: "Should we write the story as a fiction or as historical facts? History, in the way it is narrated is difficult to be digested, especially for people who do not accept culture as a human accomplishment, and therefore, we push them to accept reading and education in a way that reaches them effortlessly. The historical story, if written in a good manner and in a smooth and a narrative way, and happenings are placed in their right and proper places so that they reach the mind of the reader as if they are sort of fiction without any additions or decoration, these narratives that we write have no fallacy or exaggeration.”

His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah added: “Tale of a City” has light parts, which are acceptable, but this history is framed and documented, so perhaps a person may ask why it is small? Its beauty lies in its smallness. What is important is if one reads the closing chapter of the story, he will notice the presence of the British who had already arrived. The arrival of the British is authenticated in the story; they arrived in 1616 AD when Sir Shirley arrived and negotiated with Shah Abbas and agreed on the basis of opening goods centre in Jask for trade exchange between Persia and England through the East India Company which they then shipwreck a number of English ships and brought along forces which arrived in the end of the story.”

"The speaker talks about maps. Of course, I am a graduate of Durham University. I have publications in geography. When the English cartographer, Sir Miller, came, they told him: Come, we do not have maps because the Portuguese did not draw maps; come and do survey and make maps,” His Highness explained.

He pointed to Miller’s way of drawing and naming maps, saying: "Miller deals with Basra –Turkey, and Persia on the other side. He also deals with Qatif and Bahrain- Arabs. Getting perplexed, Miller drew two maps to be fixed on board ships; So, if they were to land in Basra, they would consider the Basra Map, and if they wanted to land in Bushahr, they would use Bushahr Map.”

Talking about publishing a book about maps, His Highness said: “As for maps issue, I am about to publish a huge book about the origins of geography: What is geography? Who invented geography and all these things. As for the claims that the Arabs invented geography, I say never ; the whole story lies in Alexander’s invasion of Persia, and when he reached the far end of Persia , he tracked Darius, the Persian king then, and dispatched Nearchus, one of the officers in the army of Alexander the Great, to search for him a route to India. From this pint, information were recorded about this place. Then Nearchus, with the help of a man named Ptolemy, made the first map of the Gulf from the entry gate. When the Musandam Mountains appeared to Macedonian King Alexander the Great, he asked Nearchus about the scene. Nearchus answered that was the “Coast of Fish Eaters”. These mountains were ever since called as such and recorded as such in maps which appeared after the time of Ptolemy.

"The irony is, at that time while the Macedonian King Alexander the Great was chasing Darius, Darius had already occupied the coast of Musandam, which is part of Sharjah, and expanded to Ras Al Khaimah. At that time, Malik ibn Fahm came from the south of the Peninsula and occupied Oman where a war broke out and Darius and his people were defeated. In 1730, someone came to write Atlas and called it” The World’s Empires” and he spoke of the Empire of China and others. When he came to the Persian Empire, he came to the place where Alexander and Nearchus had sat, on a coast near to Hormuz, and talked about the fish eaters, and wrote on it “ Coast of Fish Eaters”. Apparently, he was not good at Latin. He said: It was occupied by Darius and it is his country, how to occupy it!! I am investigating this in a small booklet other than the main book, under the title “Errors of history in geography”.

His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah, went on: "Aryan wrote a book called “Indika” meaning India. He took what Nearchus, and wrote the book which can now be found in the British Library. But, when Ptolemy came, he collected a lot and produced the amazing measurements, such as the time difference between the UAE and Alexandria- two hours. During the beginning of the Christian era, it was discovered that the time difference between Alexandria and the UAE is really two hours. Can you realise how accurate they were?”

His Highness expounded that Ptolemy did not draw maps, but wrote a description. A person later came and found Ptolemy’s manuscript in Istanbul during the reign of Muhammad al Fatih. He took the copy and came to someone and said to him: Can you draw me a map with this description? Yes, the man answered, and then he draw the map in 1445 after the occupation of Istanbul.

"The owner of the project said after the inscription, he sent one to the Vatican, one to the Sultan and kept one with me. I went to the Vatican.” His Highness continued: “I went to the Vatican but they refused to give me the copy and said that there was a company in 1932 called Brill. I had a copy from there. I was presented with a copy by Brill's wife.