Who’s On Top of the World
The orientation is not the only ideological decision that a cartographer must consider. She must also make important decisions about what kinds of information are necessary for inclusion on the map. From these decisions, we can hypothesize about the purpose of the map and/or the interests of the cartographer.
Look again at the ways in which Babylon is depicted on both the Hereford Mappa Mundi (Babylon can be found under the “Bible Stories” tab on the upper righthand corner of the page) and the Outremer Map.
- How are these depicted similarly? How are they depicted differently (pay attention to the color(s) of ink used, the kinds of structures drawn, the size of the illustration, the kinds of information given verbally)?
- What conclusions can you draw about the purpose of each of these maps and/or the interests of the cartographers based on these similarities and differences? Identify and describe at least two.
- What are the similarities and differences in the geographical information depicted on each map? What conclusion(s) can you draw about the purpose of each map and/or the interests of the cartographers based on these similarities and differences?
- Locate a feature of the Outremer Map that is NOT a city or a castle. Do some research about whatever this feature depicts.
- Why do you think Matthew Paris found this feature worthy of being represented? What might be the value of having an idea of the location of this feature for Matthew Paris’ audience? Find 2 or 3 other representations (artistic or cartographic) of this same feature.
- How are they similar to Paris’? How are they different? What significance do you find in these similarities and differences