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
We also braved the crowd and went to 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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