By Jerry Brotton
The world's best maps explored and explained.
From Ptolemy's global map to the Hereford's Mappa Mundi, via Mercator's map of the realm to the newest maps of the Moon and Google Earth, Great Maps offers a desirable review of cartography during the ages.
Revealing the tales at the back of fifty five ancient maps by way of reading image close-ups, Great Maps additionally profiles key cartographers and explorers to appear why every one map was once commissioned, who it used to be for and the way they stimulated navigation, propaganda, strength, artwork, and politics.
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Extra resources for Great Maps
1020–1050 INK ON PAPER UNKNOWN 9½ IN × 12½ IN (24 CM × 32 CM) BODLEIAN LIBRARY, OXFORD, UK SCALE THE BOOK OF CURIOSITIES UNKNOWN In 2002, the Bodleian Library in Oxford, UK, acquired an Earth according to Muslim astronomers, scholars, and anonymous Arabic treatise compiled in Egypt between travelers, has transformed our understanding of early 1020 and 1050 during the Fatimid Dynasty, titled Kitāb Islamic cosmology and geography. It includes several Gharā’ib al-funūn wa-mulah al-‘uyūn (“The Book of Curiosities of the Sciences and Marvels for the Eyes”).
1 1 EGYPT AND ETHIOPIA Information at the map’s margins becomes increasingly vague, resorting to garbled classical beliefs and Christian miscellany: Africa shows burning mountains and reptilian basilisks alongside St. Anthony’s Monastery and Egypt’s pyramids, named “Joseph’s Barns” after the Old Testament figure who it was believed stored grain in them. 1 DELOS AND SCYLLA AND CHARYBDIS The depiction of the Mediterranean is indebted to Greek mythology. As described in Homer’s Odyssey, the monster Scylla and the whirlpool Charybdis guard the straits between Italy and Sicily (not part of Italy at that time).
Overall, the map captures classical and Christian geographical beliefs retreating in the face of trade and exchange, shown stretching from the Saharan gold trade in the West to the pursuit of spices in the Far East. ABRAHAM CRESQUES 1325–1387 Also known as “Cresques of Abraham,” Abraham Cresques was a celebrated cartographer who worked for the King of Aragon, Pedro IV (1336–87). In addition to making maps, Cresques also built clocks, compasses, and nautical instruments. Born into a wealthy Jewish family living in Palma, Majorca, Abraham Cresques often worked closely with his son, Jehuda.