A World Map of the 6th Century BC, By Egerton Sykes
The great era of Greek science began when Thales the Astronomer and mathematician opened up his school at Mietus. He was the man of whom Callimarchus said:
"Who first of all the course made plain
Of those small stars we call Wain
By which Phoencians sail the main."
Apart from his interest in Astronomy, Thales was also a Geographer. He
prepared a globe on which he mapped the world as it was known to sailors and
travelers passing through the Port of Miletus plus the background information
gathered by both Egypt and Phoenicia and stored away in their great libraries.
The pupil of Thales, Anixamander prepared a map of the world which Hecateus,
the famous historian, had cast on a bronze slab which was kept in the Temple at
Miletus, our source for this is Herodotus. Hecateus (550-476) included a copy
of the map in his "Periodos Ges" (Circuit of the Earth). Before doing
so he was shown the ancient records kept there, it is reasonably certain that
any information thus obtained would be incorporated in the map. Some years
later, probably from the motives of sheer jealousy, the bronze map was removed
Societies. Surely some traces of the vast assembly of cartographic knowledge is sll to be found. It is of interest to note that Thales and his school knew the Earth to be round, knowledge denied to the early Popes, one of whom reprimanded Archbishop – later to become Saint-Fergal of Soingus, for having dared to talk to his flock about the antipodes. He was also known as Virgile and his See has now become Salzberg. All the early map makers cribbed unashamedly from their predecessors, Nicolas of Lynn copied the maps drawn by Himilco (Carthage voyager 600 BC period), used by Pytheas, later by the Viking settlers of North America. He in turn was copied by Jacobus Cnoyen and still later by Mercator. The real problem is who drew the first real map. Here although the Babylonian map is the oldest in existence at the moment, the real maps were those drawn by sailors and not landsmen, these are to be sought in sports not along the Tigris and Euphrates.