Literary pet peeves

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

--- Robyn Starkey <rohina at> 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

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.


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