History of Cartography (I)

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The Greeks

Favoured through a warm climate, good wine and little diversion through wars or Playstations the Greek philosophers reached fantastic results in lots of scientific disciplines.

Eratosthenes calculated at 200 B.C. the size of the globe with 90% accuracy to the current data. For this he only needed an abacus, 2 deep wells and some camels. Shortly after that Hipparch divided the earth into 360 degrees of longitude and the North/South direction into meridians. Nothing changed since then.
Ptolemaist, on of the leading philosopher in Greece, already described the original map production, for that he used a map of the world that was known at that time

The Romans

Through constant wars and bloodbaths the Romans didn’t have so much time for philosophy, so there were nearly no geographical discoveries, apart from the fact, that they expanded the borders of the known world. Maps of the newly conquered countries and properties were made, mainly to let the people pay taxes. Other maps of the roads and paths served as logistics for many campaigns. The most famous is the “Tabula Peutingeriana”, a 680x35cm big street map, which reached from Ireland to China. Parts of a copy from the 12th century are in good condition and can be visited in Vienna.

Here a small extract.


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