Mapping the World

The above featured image depicts a part of the world as mapped by Ptolemy c. 150 A.D. in his book Geography. Within this piece, Ptolemy lists over 8,000 locations known to Greco-Roman society at the time. The work also explores the process for drawing world maps, although few to no maps by Ptolemy have been found by historians.

The work of Ptolemy gives a source for the itch within Renaissance Europe to explore foreign places, as the Renaissance often called for reflection on the classic works of Greeks and Romans. Explorers like Columbus would draw upon the inspiring works of Ptolemy while exploring the world beyond Europe.

Furthermore, the writings of Ptolemy and those that followed created the drive for universality when it comes to mapmaking. The introduction of Longitude and Latitude lines across the written globe gave rise to eventual consensus on the map of the world, although such a map wouldn’t come along for some time.


World Map Two.jpg
Lord Nicolas the German, a cartographer, and Johann the Blockcutter of Armsheim, an engraver, attempted to emulate the world map as envisioned by Ptolemy in the above art piece in 1482. Renaissance thinker’s ability to reflect on past achievements allowed for greater success in discoveries. Through analyzing the work of the past’s great minds, these thinkers were able to build upon previous thought and reach more acceptable conclusions.

Waldseemuller Map
The above map, called Universalis Cosmographi (1507), depicts Africa, Europe, Asia, the Pacific Ocean, and for the first time by name the Americas. The above work displays the fast progress on the understanding of the world’s geography and cartographers’ dedication to understanding the shape of continents. This newfound interest in geography was driven by a growing desire for exotic goods found in foreign lands.
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