Ancient Perspectives: Maps and Their Place in Mesopotamia, by Richard J. A. Talbert

By Richard J. A. Talbert

Ancient views encompasses an unlimited arc of area and time—Western Asia to North Africa and Europe from the 3rd millennium BCE to the 5th century CE—to discover mapmaking and worldviews within the historical civilizations of Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, and Rome. In every one society, maps served as severe financial, political, and private instruments, yet there has been little consistency in how and why they have been made. very like this day, maps in antiquity intended very various things to assorted people.

Ancient views presents an formidable, clean evaluation of cartography and its makes use of. The seven chapters variety from broad-based analyses of mapping in Mesopotamia and Egypt to an in depth specialise in Ptolemy’s principles for drawing a global map according to the theories of his Greek predecessors at Alexandria. The impressive accuracy of Mesopotamian city-plans is published, as is the production of maps by way of Romans to help the proud declare that their emperor’s rule used to be worldwide in its achieve. by way of probing the tools and strategies of either Greek and Roman surveyors, one bankruptcy seeks to discover how their amazing making plans of roads, aqueducts, and tunnels used to be achieved.
 
Even notwithstanding none of those civilizations devised the capability to degree time or distance with precision, they nonetheless conceptualized their atmosphere, typical and man-made, close to and much, and felt the urge to checklist them by way of artistic signifies that this soaking up quantity reinterprets and compares.

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Ancient Perspectives: Maps and Their Place in Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, and Rome

Old views incorporates a substantial arc of house and time—Western Asia to North Africa and Europe from the 3rd millennium BCE to the 5th century CE—to discover mapmaking and worldviews within the historic civilizations of Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, and Rome. In every one society, maps served as severe monetary, political, and private instruments, yet there has been little consistency in how and why they have been made.

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49 Those ‘living forces’, however, so much a part of the current memory of the playwright’s audience, provide much of the energy that made the Greek theatre so effective an instrument of reflection, as when, for example, Euripides’ Cassandra, speaking from a beleaguered city, on the eve of the Sicilian expedition, eloquently argues her plea for a military policy of self-defence in preference to a war of aggression (Trojan Women 400). While it would be foolish to suppose that Aeschylus’ Atossa upon her tragic stage in any way contradicts an historian’s testimony concerning Susa’s knowledge of the sack of Athens, the Persian Wars did nonetheless provide the historical context from which Aeschylus’ Persians unfolds.

12 But back to Athens and the point of these introductory remarks. 13 Now that archaeological evidence has persuaded Professor Thompson to revise his initial impressions, it seems to me that a far more convincing ‘historical probability’ has been attained. Instead of assuming that Athens’ civic centre sprang fully furbished from the head of Cleisthenes, we can now attribute it to the period when Athenian democracy, if not Athens herself, ‘came of age’ in the political reorganization which indeed consolidated her people in their new power.

Works of art, like Carpaccio’s Legend of St Ursula ‘whose message to us has no more reality than a fairy tale’ could, so Hughes observes, ‘acquire for the audience of their time the force of history and the augury of revelation. [Public art] made legends tangible and credible, inserting them unconditionally into the lives of their audience, compelling belief and [directing] behavior. That’, writes Hughes in his epilogue on ‘The Future that was’, ‘was what public art has always been meant to do’,14 and that, I believe, is what it did in fifth-century Athens.

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