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Page history last edited by Azeari 12 years, 6 months ago

orbis terrae or T-O maps:



A type of medieval world map, sometimes also called a Beatine map or a Beatus map because one of the earliest known representations of this sort is attributed to Beatus of LiƩbana, an 8th century Spanish monk.


The T-O map represents the physical world as first described by the 7th century scholar Isidore of Seville in his Etymologiae (chapter 14, de terra et partibus):

The mass of solid land is called round after the roundness of a circle, because it is like a wheel [...] Because of this, the Ocean flowing around it is contained in a circular limit, and it is divided in three parts, one part being called Asia, the second Europe, and the third Africa.



The T is the Mediterranean, dividing the three continents, Asia, Europe and Africa, and the O is the encircling Ocean. Jerusalem was generally represented in the center of the map. Asia was typically the size of the other two continents combined. Because the sun rose in the east, Paradise (the Garden of Eden) was generally depicted as being in Asia, and Asia was situated at the top portion of the map.


More useful tools for the traveller were the itinerary, which listed in order the names of towns between two points, and the periplus that did the same for harbours and landmarks along a seacoast.


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