Libmonster ID: JP-1342
Author(s) of the publication: Podosinov A.V. (Moscow)

The study of the history of ancient cartography, in which many books and articles have been written, 1 is hindered by one paradoxical circumstance - the almost complete absence of the subject of research, namely, the maps themselves .2 The maps reported by some historical and literary texts have not come down to us at all, or only in late medieval lists (this applies to the maps of Ptolemy, and to the famous Pevtinger map, preserved in a copy of the XII-XIII centuries). Almost the only authentic ancient map until now was considered to be a fragment of the Black Sea map, painted on the leather covering of the shield and originating from Dura-Europos in the middle of the third century AD. 3

This situation with sources has given rise to conflicting views on the development of ancient cartography in the minds of researchers; sometimes even the absence of maps and cartography in antiquity as such is postulated .4 It is clear that the discovery of new ancient maps is a sensation that can have great consequences for the study of the fate of ancient cartography. Such a sensation was the publication by Claudio Galazzi and Barbel Kramer of a hitherto unknown papyrus scroll containing a Greek geographical map (see Fig.) 5 . This map will be discussed in our article.

Galazzi and Kramer's publication is preliminary, since the scroll is still in private possession and its (yet) undisclosed owner provided the public with only photographs of the papyrus and allowed them to see the scroll itself in person. So, the task of complete publication and interpretation of the monument remains a matter of the future, when, perhaps, the scroll will be purchased by some public or state organization. Nevertheless, the very first acquaintance with the scroll gives a lot of food for thought.

First, a few words about the general characteristics of the scroll. Its length is more than 250 cm with a height of 32.5 cm. Since the scroll has come down to us in a very fragmentary form,

1 See, for example, one of the most recent works with an extensive bibliography: The History of Cartography. V. I. Cartography in Prehistoric, Ancient, and Medieval Europe and the Mediterranean / Ed. J. B. Harley, D. Woodward. Chicago-London, 1987 (see rec.: Podosinov A.V., Chekin L. S. / / VDI. 1990. N 3. pp. 205-216).

2 See Podoschnov A.V. Antichnaya kartografiya (fakty i problemy) [Ancient cartography (facts and problems)]. VI. 1998. N 8. pp. 61-70.

3 For a study of this map with a detailed bibliography, see Podosinov A.V. The Black Sea in the cartographic tradition of antiquity and early Middle Ages // The oldest states of Eastern Europe. 1996-1997 The Northern Black Sea Region in Antiquity: Issues of Source Studies, Moscow, 1999, pp. 237-252, especially p. 237, note 2.

4 This position was most clearly expressed by Kai Brodersen (see Brodersen K. Terra Cognita. Studien zur romischen Raumerfassung. Hildesheim, 1995).

5 Galazzi S., Kgateg V. Artemidor im Zeichensaal. Eine Papyrusrolle mit Text, Landkarte und Skizzenbiichern aus spathellenistischer Zeit // Archiv fur Papyrusforschung und verwandte Gebiete. 1998. Bd 44. Ht 2. S. 189-208.

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Rice. Map of Iberia (?) around the middle of the first century BC.

the task of placing and restoring its individual parts is still waiting to be completed. The pre-publication by Galazzi and Kramer deals with those parts that have already definitely found their place. But it is already clear that the beginning (protocol) and end of the scroll are lost. On the front side of the scroll is a text with the beginning of a Greek geographical book, which is illustrated with a map, followed by part of a collection of sketches and sketches of human heads and other body parts. On the reverse side of the papyrus are drawings of animals. The high quality of the text and illustrations indicates that the scroll was made in the workshop specifically as a scientific and artistic publication. Since the text of the scroll has no date, the only way to date it is paleography. Analysis of graphic features and comparison of fonts with other well-known papyri allowed the authors of the article to date the geographical text and map on the front side of the scroll to about the middle of the first century BC. Sketches of the human body on the front side and drawings of animals on the back belong, according to the publishers, to a later time, probably to the beginning-middle of the first century AD.E.

As for the place of origin of the scroll, the fact that it is glued together with Greek documentary papyri from Antaeoupolis (Autelovtoulis; in Upper Egypt) may indicate this city, although it is possible that it was made somewhere else, for example in Alexandria.

Let us now consider the geographical part of the papyrus that interests us. The front side begins with two male portraits placed one above the other: the upper one - facing the reader in full face, the lower one - in profile to the right. The images resemble Hellenistic portraits of gods, heroes, rulers, poets and philosophers. Then, after the portraits, follows the text of a detailed introduction to the geographical book, which, obviously, was originally supposed to form the main content of the scroll. In three columns, the author promotes geography as a science worthy of philosophy and equal to it. This text and the text of the geographical essay were written by a professional calligrapher. Then the author of the manuscript left space for the image of the map (which I will discuss below) and in two columns gave the beginning of the geographical description of Spain. This description gives the names of Iberia and its surrounding areas.

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provinces, descriptions of coasts, parts of the country, and a list of distances between geographical locations.

Comparison of the text with the geographical evidence of antiquity led the authors of the publication to conclude that the first, introductory part of the description with general parameters of Iberia is nothing more than a quote from the First book "Geographies" of Artemidorus of Ephesus, who lived in the late II-early I century BC (acme-in 104-101 BC). 6 . This is evidenced by an excerpt from the same text by Stephen of Byzantium (VI century AD; s.v. 'I vpriai), which coincides word for word with the papyrus text 7 .

And now - about the map that precedes the description of Iberia. The map is about 93.5 cm wide, while the scroll is 32.5 cm high, as already noted.Work on the map, which was obviously made not by the calligrapher who wrote the text, but by another master 8, was stopped even before toponymic data was entered into it; thus, the map remained incomplete. Based on the "Iberian" environment of the map, the authors conclude that this is a map of the Iberian Peninsula. Another argument in favor of this conclusion is the large number of lines that cross the map from east to west parallel to each other and partially branched; these lines probably represent the flow of rivers and roads. The fact is that on the medieval maps of Ptolemy, this situation is very typical for the image of Spain 9 .

It is not entirely clear, however, why the authors of the publication decided that the lines on the papyrus drawn from right to left should necessarily coincide with the lines drawn from east to west (or vice versa). The authors of the publication probably tacitly recognize the scroll map as oriented to the north. This is quite possible, since the maps of the Ptolemaic tradition were most likely oriented to the north, and we can attribute the new map to this "learned" tradition. On the other hand, it is well known that when the world map is oriented north, it is not necessary for all regional maps to have north at the top, as shown by the same map from Dura-Europos, oriented to the west, or the map of Palestine from Madaba, oriented to the east10 .

What type does the map (presumably) belong to? Iberia? What is it-an itinerary map for practical use in travel or a scientific map that reflects theoretical ideas about the geography of the world and its individual regions? Since the map contains many so-called vignettes (quadrilaterals, houses, fortress walls with turrets, etc.) that indicate topographical points, post and military camps, cities and settlements located along road lines, then by analogy with similar vignettes on Pevtinger

6 For a collection of fragments of his" Geography " in 11 books, see Stiehle R. Der Geograph Artemidoros von Ephesos // Philologu.s. 1856. 11. S. 193-244.

7 Translating text: "The whole country from the Pyrenees Mountains to the area around Gadir and the interior is called both Iberia and Spain. It was divided by the Romans into two provinces. The first province is the area that stretches entirely from the Pyrenees Mountains to New Carthage and Castalon, and to the headwaters of Betis. The second province includes the area up to Gadir and the entire Lusitania region."

8 Publishers point to the same way of working on the text and map in Ptolemy: it is known that the maps were made not by Ptolemy himself, but by a certain "mechanic" (i-iexariKoq) Agathodemon from Alexandria. As another parallel, I will also point out the famous epigram attached to the geographical work of the fifth century AD. "Divisio orbis terrarum", which tells how two masters worked on the composition, and "while one was drawing, the other was writing" (dum scribit, pingit et alter; see the edition of the text: Schnabel P. Die Weltkarte des Agrippa als wissenschaftliches Mittelglied zwischen Hipparch und Ptolemaeus / / Philologus. 1935. 90. S. 412-424; see also Latin text, Russian translation and commentary: Podosinov A.V. Problems of historical geography of Eastern Europe (antiquity and early Middle Ages). Lewiston-Queenston-Lampeter, 2000. С. 271-297.

9 См. Stiickelherger A. Bild und Wort. Das illustrierte Fachbuch in der antiken Naturwissenschaft, Medizin und Technik. Mainz, 1994. Taf. 10-12.

10 For more information on the orientation of ancient maps, see Podosinov A.V. Orientation of ancient maps (From ancient Times to the Early Middle Ages) / / VDI. 1992. N 4. pp. 64-74.

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as in the drawings of Roman agrimensors, it could be mistaken for the same type of road map as the Pevtinger map itself 11. Therefore, the authors of the publication conclude that the prototype of the Pevtinger map must be older than previously assumed 12.

At the same time, the authors of the article suggest that "although our map of Spain bears distinct features of itinerarium pictum, its function goes beyond the itinerarium, which, while neglecting geographical accuracy, should serve only the purpose of practical orientation in the road network; we are dealing with a truly scientific geographical map, which gives a fragment of the geographical picture of the world of its time." 13 ". From the publication, it is not entirely clear what this conclusion is based on. If this is the case, we would have a really interesting fact in the history of ancient cartography, showing that road maps already in the first century BC were not a separate type of cartographic production, not connected with the development of scientific cartography, not just rough road diagrams that have little correlation with the real geographical context, as in the first century BC. this was with the Pevtinger map, but a side branch of cartography based on the developments of desk scientists. After all, until now it was customary to consider scientific and theoretical cartography as something far from real cartographic practice, little connected with it and almost did not affect it. The newfound map could clarify a lot in this complex issue, but, unfortunately, the authors of the publication here are extremely concise and declarative. And this is understandable, because to clarify the type, function and features of the map, a lot of work is needed, which in the current conditions was not possible to carry out.

In any case - and this is emphasized by the authors of the first publication-the discovery of the oldest preserved geographical map from antiquity is an outstanding event, especially considering the almost complete absence of such ancient maps and our poor knowledge of the history of ancient cartography. We can only look forward to the time when the papyrus scroll will be available for study by scholars of antiquity: paleographers, papyrologists, historians, literary critics, art historians, historians of geography and cartography.


A.V. Podossinov

The paper introduces the oldest Greek map, drawn on an Egyptian papyrus scroll, from the middle of the first century ВС, that was recently published by C. Galazzi and B. Kramer (Archiv fur Papyrus-forschung und verwandte Gebiete. 1998. Bd 44. Ht 2. S. 189-208). The map is supposed to represent the territory of the Iberian peninsula, since the accompanying text contains a fragment of the description of Iberia from Book 2 of the "Geography" of Artemidorus from Ephesos (the late second - early first century ВС). The preserved fragment of the map helps to elucidate some problems of the history of ancient cartography.

11 See about it for more information: it's the same. Pevtinger's map // Svod drevneyshikh pis'mennykh izvestiya o slavyanakh [A set of ancient Written News about the Slavs], vol. I (I-VI centuries), Moscow, 1991, pp. 63-80.

12 The earliest dating, according to publishers, suggests the second century AD, however, many researchers derive the prototype of the Peutinger map from the world map of Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa (d. 12 BC); see, for example: Weber E. Zur Datierung der Tabula Peutingeriana / / Labor omnibus unus. Gerold Walser zum 70. Geburtstag. Stuttgart, 1989. S. 113-117.

13 Galazzi, Kramer. Op. cit. S. 200.


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Podosinov A.V. (Moscow), TO FIND THE OLDEST GEOGRAPHICAL MAP OF ANTIQUITY // Tokyo: Japan (ELIB.JP). Updated: 17.06.2024. URL: (date of access: 19.07.2024).

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