Early Medieval Cartography, 400-1300 AD
Cartography is an important but oft-overlooked aspect of historical study. The maps people drew tell us more about themselves than the world they inhabited. Medieval cartographers had to rediscover the lost art of mapmaking after the 500 year-long era commonly called the Dark Ages. Their maps placed the Earth (and humanity) at the center of a divinely-ordered cosmos. As inaccurate as they may have been from a geographical standpoint, we are nonetheless very lucky they survived. Not only are they incredibly aesthetic, but they also tell us a great deal about the Medieval world’s perception of itself and its place in the universe. To view a massive collection of these maps, make sure to visit the following web address:
Hosted by the Henry Davis mapmaking consulting company, this database includes a timeline of Medieval cartography, a bibliography and countless medieval maps, all of which are accompanied by an essay describing the map in question. I promise you, you’ll enjoy this website.
Gregg Newby, History Dept.