On Exactitude in Science . . . In that Empire, the Art of Cartography attained such Perfection that the map of a single Province occupied the entirety of a City, and the map of the Empire, the entirety of a Province. In time, those Unconscionable Maps no longer satisfied, and the Cartographers Guilds struck a Map of the Empire whose size was that of the Empire, and which coincided point for point with it. The following Generations, who were not so fond of the Study of Cartography as their Forebears had been, saw that that vast Map was Useless, and not without some Pitilessness was it, that they delivered it up to the Inclemencies of Sun and Winters. In the Deserts of the West, still today, there are Tattered Ruins of that Map, inhabited by Animals and Beggars; in all the Land there is no other Relic of the Disciplines of Geography.

Suarez Miranda,Viajes de varones prudentes, Libro IV,Cap. XLV, Lerida, 1658

1 comment:

izzy cohen said...

The earliest "maps" were indeed scale 1:1.

Anthropomorphic Maps

Anthropomorphic maps were generated by configuring the body of a god or goddess over the area to be mapped. The name of each part of that body became the name of the area under that part. This produced a scale 1:1 map-without-paper on which each place name automatically indicated its approximate location and direction with respect to every other place on the same map whose name was produced in this way.

Aphrodite as an Anthropomorphic Map

The goddess we call Aphrodite
Is not just an old Grecian deity.
The Phoenicians did make
Her a map. It's not fake.
Her body is cartograffiti.

The Punic war destroyed her face, (1)
The Romans left nary a trace.
But her hair is still there,
In Sahara, that's where. (2)
And her chin's a Tunisian place. (3)

Mt. Atlas is her first verTebra. (4)
Her backbone is now Gulf of Sidra. (5)
Her heart is in Libya, (6)
Her left leg, Somalia. (7)
Her breast is in Chad wearing no bra. (8)

The Greeks called her liver Egypt, an' (9)
Her kidney was Biblical Goshen. (10)
She's bent at her waist,
Now Misr-ably placed. (11)
The Red Sea was her menstruation. (12)

As a kid I did think the Red Sea
Was an English map typo: lost E,
From Reed Sea in Hebrew.
But that could not be true,
Mare Rubrum 'twas Latin, B.C.

Aphrodite with Hermes did sin,
We know this is true 'cause within
Her "snatch" we call Sinai (13)
His "zaiyin" does still lie. (14)
It's known as the desert of Zin.


(1) The Romans destroyed Carthage during the 3rd Punic War. In Hebrew,
"face" is PaNim.

(2) In Hebrew, "hair" is Sa3aR (using 3 for the letter aiyin).

(3) Tunis is a reversal of SaNTir, the Hebrew word for chin.

(4) The Atlas is the first cervical vertebra that supports the skull.

(5) In Hebrew, SHiDRa is spine, backbone.

(6) The Semitic term for "heart" is LeB.

(7) In Hebrew, "left" is S'MoL.

(8) In Hebrew, "breast" is SHaD.

(9) As in ancient Greek hepato- "liver".

(10) The ancient shin had a T-sound, e.g., SHoR = ox was ToR as in Taurus.
The gimel often has a K-sound in other languages, e.g., GaMaL = camel. So,
GoSHeN sounded like QTN, as in QiTNiot = beans. Goshen was her bean-shaped
kidney. Ashkenazi Jews do not eat beans on Passover. Cotton was exported
from QTN / Goshen. The Latin genus for cotton is Gossypium. Compare English

(11) Both Arabic Misr and Hebrew MiTZRaim are derived from the Semitic term
for narrow, TZaR. The waist is (or should be) the narrow part of the body.

(12) In Latin, the Red Sea was called Mare Rubrum. In Hebrew, the Red Sea is
called "Yam SooF" = Sea of Reeds. SooF is a reversal of the sounds in
peh-sof PoS, Hebrew for the female pudenda.

(13) In Hebrew, Sinai is spelled SINi without an aleph. But it is pronounced
as if had an aleph after the nun. It seems that the ancient sound of aleph
changed from CHS/GHT => T => a glottal stop. Treating aleph as CHS, Sinai
sounded like SNCHs, a reversal of K'NiSah = entrance (to her body).

(14) Zaiyin means "weapon" in Hebrew. It is also a euphemism for the male

Israel "izzy" Cohen, BPMaps moderator