Mappa Mundi

The Hereford Mappa Mundi is a T and O map dating to ca. 1300. The map is signed by one "Richard of Haldingham or Lafford". Drawn on a single sheet of vellum, it measures 158 cm by 133 cm. The writing is in black ink, with additional red and gold, and blue or green for water (with the Red Sea coloured red).

Jerusalem is drawn at the center of the circle, East is on top, showing the Garden of Eden in a circle at the edge of the world. Great Britain and Ireland are drawn at the north-western border (bottom left).

The map is based on traditional accounts, and earlier maps such as the one of the Beatus of Liébana codex, and does not correspond entirely to the geographical knowledge of the 1300s. Note, for example, that the Caspian connects to the encircling Ocean (upper left). This is in spite of William of Rubruk's having reported it to be landlocked in 1255, i.e. several decades before the map's creation. The "T and O" shape does also not necessarily imply that its creators believed in a flat Earth. The spherical shape of the Earth had been well known from at least the 1100s, and the circular representation may be considered a conventional attempt at a projection: In spite of the acceptance of a spherical Earth, only the "upper" parts were believed to be inhabitable (see antipodes), so that the circular representation remained adequate.



This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Hereford_Mappa Mundi".