Literary pet peeves

Jon Noble jon_p_noble at yahoo.com
Sun Feb 9 22:04:50 EST 2003


--- Robyn Starkey <rohina at shaw.ca> wrote:
> 
> >Maps in the middle ages, even local ones, are
> >possible, but very unlikely. I read recently that
> >fragments exist of a map of ancient Rome that not
> only
> >shows every building, but has their plans.
> 
> There may well have been Roman maps that showed city
> plans. There were 
> certainly medieval maps, but they didn't show
> "geography" as we know it, 
> and they certainly weren't intended for use the way
> we use maps today.
> 
Most, if not all, surviving medieval maps are intended
to depict theological concepts or show pilgrimage
routes, and they are not the sorts of maps we can
follow, although i assume they meant something at the
time, they probably functioned as memory aids. I'm
sure that the concept of a map was understood however,
even if it was only some stones and lines drawn on the
ground - "this stone is the castle, and this is the
river..." sort of thing, but I'll concede that someone
being able to put one on paper (even a monk - the
usual hero in medieval fiction these days) is unlikely
in the extreme. The map of Rome I mentioned is on
stone and was huge - several thousand fragments exist
but that is only a very small portion of the original.
I have somewhere the URL of a project to piece
together the surviving fragments if anyone is
interested. In the meantime a good collection of
medieval maps can be found here

http://www.henry-davis.com/MAPS/EMwebpages/EML.html

The original point about maps is valid, maps were
uncomon in the middle ages and it doesn't take much
research to find that out.

Jon

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