Aden, of old one of the main Eurasian ports for goods from China, Southeast Asia and India on their way to the Mediterranean lands, was controlled during the 13th - 15th centuries by the Rasūlid dynasty. One of their kings, al-Malik al-Afḍal al- ‘Abbās b. ‘Alī (1363-1377) wrote multilingual glossaries (vocabularia) of extraordinary importance, universally termed the Rasūlid Hexaglot. Its emergence caused quite a stir (e.g. New York Times, February 1981), and it is with pride that we now present our customers with the authoritative translation, commentary, and explanation of the socio-historical context by a group of major experts.
The Arabic, Persian, Turkic, Greek, Armenian and Mongol languages in the King’s Dictionary were the most important tongues of the Eastern Mediterranean. The Greek, Armenian and Mongol sections, in particular, provide one of the few examples of transcriptions of living vernacular forms of the era. Thomas Allsen’s captivating chapter on the Eurasian Cultural Context of the dictionary makes clear, i.a., the depth of connections among several Eurasian cultural areas in the aftermath of the Mongol conquests.