40 Maps of the Middle East
May 6, 2014 12:07 PM   Subscribe

Forty maps that explain the Middle East. Includes sections on Middle East history, the region today, Israel-Palestine, Syria, Iran, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and oil, Iraq and Libya, and "points of light."

By Max Fisher, who also has done cartography-centered articles on Ukraine and how Putin views Europe.
posted by Halloween Jack (8 comments total) 46 users marked this as a favorite
The map of the '48 Arab-Israeli war was interesting for me - I knew about the war from readings, but the map of the attack and counter-attack is pretty striking.

And the map re-drawing Syria is interesting too. I have heard people talk of an Alawite "rump state," but couldn't really picture it before. Not sure if such a re-drawing would be good or bad, but it certainly is different.
posted by rosswald at 12:34 PM on May 6, 2014

A couple of excerpts:
The Middle East actually gave Europe religion four times, including Islam, but this map shows the first three. First was Judaism, which spread through natural immigration and when Romans forcibly dispersed the rebelling Israelites in the first and second century AD. In the first through third centuries A.D., a religion called Mithraism — sometimes called a "mystery religion" for its emphasis on secret rites and clandestine worship — spread from present-day Turkey or Armenia throughout the Roman Empire (at the time, most adherents believed it was from Persians in modern-day Iran, but this is probably wrong). Mithraism was completely replaced with Christianity, which became the Roman Empire's official religion, after a few centuries. It's easy to forget that, for centuries, Christianity was predominantly a religion of Middle Easterners, who in turn converted Europeans.
This is a rough political map of the world in 750 AD, at the height of the Omayyad Caliphate ("caliph" means the ruler of the global Islamic community). This is to give you a sense of how vast and powerful the Muslim empire had become, barely one century after the founding of the religion that propelled its expansion. It was a center of wealth, arts, and learning at a time when only China was so rich and powerful. This was the height of Arab power.
No, it's not all about religion. I just thought those two excerpts were interesting and only after the fact that did it occur to me they both touch on religion. Some of the maps are animated. They are all different styles. I haven't actually finished going through all of them. I just wanted to stop in and show this post some love because I have a certificate in GIS and THE WORLD NEEDS MORE MAPS.
posted by Michele in California at 2:57 PM on May 6, 2014 [1 favorite]

This is my favorite one, because of the lengthy note explaining why the map is intrinsically misleading: The ethnic groups of the Middle East (expanded image)
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:28 PM on May 6, 2014

Libya's capital, Tripoli, still bears the name of the ancient Phoenician colony that established it.

Oh wow I had no idea that was why there were two Tripolis!
posted by BinGregory at 11:50 PM on May 6, 2014

I read that as "Forty maps that explain Middle Earth". I'm a tiny bit disappointed...
posted by pseudocode at 12:13 AM on May 7, 2014 [1 favorite]

And as per "Journalism 2.0" it looks like the maps were basically just collected from somewhere on the internet without much research into who made or owns them: blog.pointlineplane.co.uk/post/84952595427/im-not-an-expert-on-the-legality-of-it-or
posted by dominik at 2:31 AM on May 7, 2014 [3 favorites]

The Middle East source of ridiculous "Holy War". A more peaceful world would be divided into Buddhist and Confuscian Potentates.
posted by Narrative_Historian at 3:17 AM on May 7, 2014

here is the heart of the world since humanity begun.There a million of questions with starting "why".However,here is realy nice region where we need too pay more attention
posted by sunshuttles at 2:05 PM on May 12, 2014

« Older The Kids Are Alright   |   Cast your vote Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments