[WORLDKINGS] World Tops Academy – Top 5 oldest known world maps


(WorldKings.org) The oldest known world maps date to Mesopotamia as well as the Greek and Roman empires. Very few of these maps exist in their original forms, but were reconstructed by later cartographers based on extensive descriptions.

1. Babylonian Map of the World (Imago Mundi)



The Babylonian Map of the World or the Imago Mundi is the oldest known world map ever discovered. The map dates to sometime in the 6th century BCE and was created by the Babylonians and shows how they viewed both the physical and spiritual world at the time.

The Kingdom of Babylon is at the center of the map and nearby Assyria and Elam are also depicted on the tablet. The map also shows Babylon surrounded by the ocean and the circles are labeled in cuneiform as “bitter water” or “salt sea.” A few of Babylon’s major cities are also on the map as well as the Euphrates River, which is wear the Imago Mundi was discovered in the late 1800s.

2. Anaximander’s Map



Although there is no surviving example of Anaximander’s map, scientists have a close approximation of what it could have looked like because of descriptions of the map provided by Herodotus. Many later Greek geographers credit Anaximander with being the first geographer as well as the first person to publish a world map.

Anaximander’s map was flat and circular and showed the known lands to the Greeks at the time surrounded by the ocean. The Mediterranean Sea and Black Sea are also shown. The northern half of the map shows “Europe,” which consisted of Greece, Spain, a boot-shaped Italy, and Asia Minor. The bottom half of the map is split into Libya (which also contained Egypt) and Asia (Palestine, Assyria, Persia, and Arabia). Libya and Asia are split by the Nile River.

3. Hecataceus’ Map



Hecataceus was also from the Ancient Greek city of Miletus, like Anaximander, but they were not contemporaries. However, Hecataceus studied Anaximander’s work and built upon his world map by improving and expanding on the world map that Anaximander had made. While Anaximander may have been the first to publish a world map, Hecataceus was the first to provide written descriptions of the world to go along with his map.

4. Eratosthenes’ Map



While Anaximander and Hecataceus may have been some of the earliest known geographers, Eratosthenes is known as the “Father of geography” for expanding on previous maps and using a more scientific approach to mapping out the world – he is also credited with coining the word “geography” or geographika. Eratosthenes used his extensive mathematical and scientific knowledge to determine that the Earth was a sphere and calculated our planet’s size with great accuracy.

5. Posidonius’ Map



Although Posidonius provided extensive details on what he thought the world looked like, there is no known maps actually drawn by him exist. Instead, Posidonius’ work is known through the works of later Greek scientists and the cartographer Petrus Bertius, who drew Posidonius’ Map around 1628.

Posidonius calculated the circumference of the Earth using the work that Eratosthenes had already done. While both men were fairly accurate in their calculations, mistranslations between the unit of measurement caused later geographers to miscalculate Earth’s circumference

According to oldest.org

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