Mapping the Way


Today we are going to Muse about Rome and ancient maps.  If this is your first visit, welcome to Musings. If you have been here before, welcome back. Over time we are going to talk about many things: the past, the present, perhaps the future, travel, art, society and more. Wherever my musing takes me. I hope you will come along with me.

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On the Subject of Maps

Several years ago we were in Rome.  We did the usual tourist things, the Spanish Steps, the Colosseum, the Appian Way and the Roman Forum.

Tom and Jeanette at the Collosium

Tom and Jeanette at the Colosseum

Steve and Jeanette at the Collosium

Steve and Jeanette at the Colosseum

Tom  and Jeanette Arch of Hadrian

Tom and Jeanette Arch of Hadrian

We also braved the crowd and went to the Vatican Museum.

People in line to enter the Vatican Museum

People in line to enter the Vatican Museum

The Museum is wonderous but the crowds were overwhelming.  The Sistine Chapel was packed shoulder to shoulder.  It was not possible to take the time to really see the paintings.

However one area I enjoyed a great deal was the Gallery of Maps.  The walls exhibit forty images of Italy, Corsica and Sardinia created by friar and geographer Ignacio Danti.  It took him three years to complete the work.

In addition to the wall murals, the hall contained several ancient maps that are part of the Vatican collection.  There was one of the new world that was created in the early 1500’s and it was remarkably accurate.  I do not have an image of it unfortunately.

However, it got me thinking about  maps and what it must have taken to produce them. Look at this ancient map.  It is in the Library of Congress.  It has the same effect on me as the map at the Vatican.



The text is Latin and the map has the heading:  “Americae sive quartae orbis partis nova et exactissima descriptio” (Latin: “The Americas, or A New and Precise Description of the Fourth Part of the World”).  It was produced in 1562  by Diego Gutiérrez and engraver Hieronymus Cock.

Wikipedia states “Gutierrez’s map features not only the Amazon River system and Lake Titicaca as well as other geographical features . . . (including) an erupting volcano in central Mexico.  It was the first map to print the toponym “California”. It also recorded the first appearance of a word for “Appalachia,” as the term “Apalchen.”

I find this remarkable.  America was discovered in 1492.  This ancient map was created 70 years later without any modern aids:  no electricity, no cameras, no telephones or computers and only wind-driven sailing ships.  Seventy years!  Just imagine how much exploring, measuring and recording was required, how many thousands of miles were travelled and how slow the travel was.  Remarkable!

More to come.

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Books by Thomas L. Tribby Available Click on title below to preview

Works on Paper

On The Waterfront

Impressions of Florida


 Tribbyart’s Boutique


Original Works:  Aerial Portraits Of The Land

         New Mexico  Oil on Canvas  36" x 48"
New Mexico
Oil on Canvas 36″ x 48″


Fields Oil on Canvas 48 x 24″
Heartland  Oil on canvas 48" x 36"
Heartland Oil on canvas 48″ x 36


Nebraska Oil on canvas 48″ x 38″ SOLD


Montana Oil on canvas 60" x 30"
Montana Oil on canvas 60″ x 30″  SOLD


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About Thomas L. Tribby

Professional artist: painter, sculptor, print maker. Maintains a studio in West Palm Beach, Florida
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