is a blog by Ben Breen, a graduate student of early modern history, which styles itself "a compendium of obscure things." Indeed, even the asides are full of wonder, such as the one about Boy, the famous Royalist war poodle of the English Civil War, which is but a short addendum to a post about witches' familiars
. Here are some of my favorite posts, Pirate Surgeon in Panama
(and a related post about 18th Century Jamaica
), vanished civilizations
, asemic pseudo-Arabic and -Hebrew writing in Renaissance art
, and a series of posts about the way the Chinese and Japanese understood the world outside Asia in the early modern period (Europeans as 'Other'
, Europeans as 'Other,' Redux
and Early Chinese World Maps
posted by Kattullus
on Sep 30, 2010 -
The Atlas of True Names
reveals the etymological roots, or original meanings, of the familiar terms on today's maps of the World, Europe, the British Isles and the United States. For example, Britain = Great Land of the Tattooed, New Jersey = New Island of Spears, and Chicago = Stink Onion. There's now an iPhone app
. However, at least one linguistic historian takes issue
with some of their methodology. Mefi's own languagehat responds
posted by desjardins
on Jun 17, 2010 -
is an interactive map system for the bible, which is great for visualising where certain biblical events are said to have occured. It's also great for people who don't subscribe to any kind of organised religion but do like looking at maps (like me!).
posted by Effigy2000
on Jun 14, 2009 -
Have you ever wondered what New York was like before it was a city? Find out at The Mannahatta Project
, by navigating through the map to discover Manhattan Island and its native wildlife in 1609. [more inside]
posted by netbros
on Jun 4, 2009 -
John Henry Wilbrandt Stuckenberg
emigrated from Germany to the United States, where he was eventually a Chaplain in the American Civil War. He also really liked maps; in the course of traveling over his lifetime, he collected hundreds of maps
, some dating back to the 16th century. [Most maps in Latin]
posted by Rykey
on Jul 26, 2008 -
For anyone with even a passing interest in Islamic history or cartography, 'The Book of Curiosities of the Sciences and Marvels for the Eyes'
site at Oxford University's Bodleian Library will provide a thoroughly interesting timesink. This recently discovered 13th/14th century copy of an 11th century Egyptian manuscript was partly based on Ptolemy and includes the oldest rectangular map of the world...not to mention the famed human-bearing Waq-Waq
posted by peacay
on Apr 5, 2007 -
is a skill pretty much taken for granted now, but it wasn't
. Accurate maps were once prized state secrets, laborious efforts that cost a fortune and took years (or even decades) to complete.
How things have changed. (Yours now, $110
) It took almost 500 years to map North America, but it's only taken one tenth of that to map just everything else. In the last 50 years, we've been able to create acurate atlases of two planets
and one moon
(with a second
in the works). Actually, we've done a lot more than that
. We're actually running out of things to map.
posted by absalom
on Jan 27, 2005 -
of very beautiful Old Japanese Maps
has been put online. Java application Insight(tm) required to view and includes a nifty GIS application to overlay old maps on current maps with 3-D animated fly-throughs. State of the art in online map presentation "The digital images are even better than the originals because you can amplify them, rotate them to look at them from different angles," Mr. Zhou said. "In practical terms, this is a better way of using the material than actually coming here to see the pieces."
posted by stbalbach
on Apr 13, 2003 -
Recent events have sent me all over bookstores and the web to look at and learn from maps. This is the best, and one of the least known sites. For current events, try the Middle East
sections, but don't miss the incredibel Historical
posted by geronimo_rex
on Oct 4, 2001 -
The Hereford Mappa Mundi (Map the World) is a remarkably beautiful and rare glimpse into the medieval view the world. It is the largest map its kind (54 x 64 inches) to have survived and dates from around 1295. It still resides at Hereford Cathedral in England just as it has done for the last 700 years.
The map depicts the world as a flat disk with east at the top. It shows all the features the then known world including Africa, India and China. Paradise is depicted somewhere east India. The Holy Land and its important sites expand to fill the middle the map. Jerusalem is placed at the centre the world.
It is a work of cosmology as much as a cartography. That is, it seeks to explain the world as well as merely depict its features. This was a time when the population was uneducated and provincial. In the Hereford map, people could revel in this vision of the outside world, which taught natural history, classical legends, explained the winds and reinforced their religious beliefs.
Here is a simplified sketch
which makes the details and country names easier to identify. Here is the original
and a very good written description
posted by lagado
on Oct 30, 2000 -