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Book Review: A New History of the World by Peter Frankopan

By Tanjil Rashid   January 2016

The Silk RoadsBloomsbury, £30

How can we define the centre of the world—and its history? For medieval Europeans with a theological mindset, it was the Holy Land, as testified by the Hereford Mappa Mundi, where the whole world stretches out from Jerusalem. Later, Gerardus Mercator projected a globe—standard to this day—in which Europe floated in the middle, stressing its political predominance since early modern times.

But the maps that fascinated Oxford historian Peter Frankopan as a child were the charts of Arab geographers that put the Caspian Sea at the world’s centre, or…

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