The task of cartographers has never been an easy job. In ancient times they were subjected not only to the precariousness of the data to make their maps, but also to the religious and political conceptions of the world. These imposed their criteria and, in most cases, forced the cartographer to reflect his ideas in his letters. That is why it is so interesting to study and know the old maps of the world, since they offer us much more than data that, in many cases, are completely erroneous from the current perspective. In Supercurioso we had the chance to approach a mysterious map that has raised a lot of controversy, The enigmatic map of Piri Reis and this time we wanted to get closer to 5 Ancient World Maps Bestials to discover how our ancestors saw the world.
The oldest maps of history are not those of Greece and Rome. Millennia before there were people who were dedicated to draw maps or plans of the world that surrounded them. Although scholars do not agree on which is the oldest known map, it is usually considered that the mural painting of the ancient city of Çatalhöyük, also known as Huyuk or Çatal Hüyük (Anatolia), and dated to the seventh millennium BC, It is the oldest.
5 Ancient World Maps Bestiales
1. Map of the Babylonian World of the 6th century BC C.
The first of these old maps of the world that we present to you is believed to be the oldest that exists that represents the world in its totality, according to the beliefs of that moment in the Babylonian culture. It is from the 6th century a.C. and it is known as the Imago Mundi .
In it, Babylon is at the center of the world that does not go beyond Mesopotamian borders. Around the world you can see a circle that represents the "Bitter River" which was a swampy area that surrounded the Euphrates in its lower part and behind the river there are seven islands that according to the beliefs of the time it was impossible to reach them. Inscriptions explaining how to interpret the map can be read at the top and the back.
2. Bünting cloverleaf map
This is one of the old maps of the world more curious. It is a Christian map and was drawn in Germany by Heinrich Bünting in the year 1581. For the author, the least of it was the precision of the map, it was not about representing the world as it really was, but rather what was intended to be to understand that the world was an extension of the Holy Trinity with Jerusalem as the center of Christianity. A center that holds the world together.
3. Tabula Rogeriana by Muhammad al-Idrisi
Muhammad al-Idrisi lived in the 12th century. Born in Ceuta was a great traveler, geographer and cartographer who worked mainly for the Norman court of King Roger II of Sicily who had his capital in Palermo. He is considered one of the most important Medieval geographers. In addition to his own experience, for his maps he used the reports of the Arab merchants and a copious documentation that was in the hands of the then King of Sicily.
Map of the world of Al-Idrisi from the 1456 copy of 'Ali ibn Hasan al-Hûfî al-Qâsimî. According to the National Library of France
In 1154, Al-Idrisi made a great world map which is known as the "Tabula Rogeriana". It is oriented upside down to the sense that is used today, south up and north down.
Copy of the Rogerian Tabula made by Muhammad al-Idrisi in 1154
Accompanied the map with a book called "Geography". At the time it was the most extensive and precise map of the world that existed. In it, the lands that correspond to Europe and Asia are well mapped, however, Africa is little drawn.
Modern copy of the Rogerian Tabula made by Konrad Miller, upside down facing north.
Al-Idrissi firmly believed in the sphericity of the Earth and said that: "The earth is round like a sphere, and the waters adhere to it and remain in it through a natural balance that does not suffer variation".
4. The Anglo-Saxon cotton map, created between 1025 and 1050 AD.
Many of the old maps of the world that have arrived until our days are a copy of others older still. This is believed to have been copied from one of the Roman era. It was created in Canterbury between 1025 and 1050. It is drawn on cotton. The red lines to the right are believed to be the result of a misinterpretation of the artist who drew it and painted all the rivers in Africa red in the light of a misunderstanding of what the Red Sea was.
In the lower left corner you can see what is believed to be the oldest and most realistic representation of the British Isles. You can also see the surrounding islands that are the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, the Isle of Wight and also the Orkneys of Scotland and the Isles of Scilly on the west coast of Cornwall.
5. The Da Ming Hu Yi Tu, late 14th century.
The last of the old maps of the world that we present to you is Chinese and was made at the end of the 14th century. It represents the world as it was conceived by the Ming dynasty. For them China dominated the world and occupied the majority of the planet. Europe is compressed in a minimum space on the left of the map; in the West.
The map is known as the Da Ming Hu Yi Tu and is painted in rigid silk.
We hope that these ancient cartographic works have impressed you as they did us. Did you know these old maps of the world ? Do you know of any more we can mention? Share it with us! If you want to know other interesting maps, we invite you to read the post: 3 very old MYSTERIOUS maps .