Roger the second, king of Sicily, commissioned the foremost geographer of his time, Al Idrisi, to produce a book on geography, it was to contain all known information on the location and riches of the world’s countries and cities.
Agents and draftsmen were soon dispatched to gather material and conduct interviews with all the merchants and voyagers passing through the realm.
It was a monumental task of which the research alone took more than 15 years. Finally, just a few weeks before the king died, Al Idrisi’s book, the Tabula Rogeriana, was complete.
On his deathbed, the king reviewed the book and made great plans for his country. The Norman power and influence was to be extended to the lands of the east. And it was so, that days before the king’s demise, a secret expedition was assembled, to whom the Tabula Rogeriana was entrusted and with it the last orders of the king, to travel to the rich lands of the east and establish a foothold for the Norman kingdom. Under the king’s great admiral, the expedition, composed of hundreds of Norman knights set sail, never to be heard of again.