Deconstructing the Map: The Hereford World Map Essay

Deconstructing the Map: The Hereford World Map Essay

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The Hereford World Map is the world’s oldest surviving map of the world; it was made in 1300, during the beginning of the Renaissance in Europe. There was a wider range of influences on mapping during the later medieval period. With an increase in exploration, Europe began to evolve into an international continent; widespread travel can be seen by the influences of the Islamic world on architecture. While map making in China had flourished in the 11th C, mapping was beginning to evolve in Europe. By around 1400 there was a peak in map making in Europe. There is evidence of the influence of Roman mapping on medieval maps in Europe. The Medieval world maps but together information from Roman sources to make the world maps in the middle ages known as the mappa mundi, meaning cloth of the world. These were cloth maps, and the name mappa mundi was widely used for them. These world maps were understood by historians as an attempt to show where countries were located, quite often they were not just geographical representations but they were also stories of the world. As knowledge of map making increased during the Renaissance, was a move for wider representations of information on maps. The map became a source of information on the animals and history of the different countries. This can be seen in The Hereford World Map, a map that gives a geometrical representation of the locations of the known countries of the world and also acted as an encyclopaedia of information on various types of animals and where in the world they came from.
The Hereford World Map was once looked down on as being “inaccurate” and a “monstrosity” but today it is regarded as “a work of art embodying many aspects of religious and secular life in the Mid...

... middle of paper ... to modern scientific maps; it drew on a number of sources mentioned above, such as art, the writings of Pliny, the influence of Roman mapping, and the beliefs and superstitions of the medieval world. The Map is an insight into medieval world, and acts as an encyclopaedia charting different historical events within. The Hereford Map is also an art work demonstrating that a map is not just a geographical representation of an area but that it can give a huge amount of historical insight

Works Cited

1. G.R. Crone, 1965, “New Light on the Hereford Map”, The Geographical Journal, Vol. 131, No. 4 (Dec., 1965), The Royal Geographical Society (The Institute of British Geographers), URL:
2. The Beauty of Maps, (2010- ), BBC series, Part 1, Medieval Maps: Mapping the Medieval Mind.
3. Class notes from The History of Cartography.

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