Who are these people? What can we still learn from their ancient secret knowledge and How did they do it?
It isn’t easy charting humanity and it’s progress (or in some cases regress). Even with all we know today the ancient world is still very much a mystery to us. We can’t help but long to know what they knew, what ancient knowledge was bestowed upon them. What are the allusive secrets of antiquity. We have no photographs, no movies, so how do we really know what life was like back then? Well lucky for us these ancient record keepers have provided us with a wealth of information.
Who are these meticulous record keepers? The second oldest profession (😉) while it’s none other than Cartographers. Map makers have been capturing moments in time since the first map was created over 16,500 years ago. But how did they do it? Are they superhero’s? Immortals? aliens? Or just awesome! Let’s take a look at some ancient tricks of the trade.
🗺 Creative Cartographers:
Before the advent of paper cartographers had to think outside the box, be creative in what to design on. The earliest Cartographers used cave walls, animal tusks and stone.
🗺Tools and tricks of the trade:
Historic map makers used ropes and chains that were cut to specific lengths, then they used compasses to measure their angles.
🗺It’s all in the details
In order to get more detailed they would measure angles between points that were further away from each other, they would use magnifying glasses or small telescopes that were attached to the compass
Longitude and Latitude lines were first seen in Ptolemy’s Geographia around 150 AD. This system introduced new mathematical rules in the creating of maps.
The go to method for topographic maps became triangulation. Where 2 known, fixed locations where used in a horizontal line to measure distance. Then you record the objects that are visible from your line..
🗺The Center of the World
The lay of the land was left up to the map maker. So depending on the map makers preference different countries were placed in the middle. Many maps produced at this time were done by Monks who consistently Jerusalem in the center of their world maps.
🗺 The Map Making Monks:
The map making Monks also had a tendency to elaborately decorate their maps. Often drawing Angels, sea monsters and heavens above. with religious icons such as angels.
🗺Maps to the Masses
In 1440 Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press. This revolutionized map making. No longer done by a lone monk sitting in a candle lit window in a far off ministry. Now maps could be made, copied and mass produced.
Cartographers worked diligently to open the world to people. They bravely ventured out into the unknown. They took the risk so you wouldn’t have to. Thanks to the valiant effort of these early superhero’s the world would became a less frightening place. The unknown became the known. Most importantly they unwittingly became the record keepers of time and culture.
So thank a Cartographer and #mapon