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Diagrammatic World Map, 10th Century

Diagrammatic World Map, 10th Century

Medium: Ink and tempera on parchment

Date: 900

Shelfmark: Cotton MS Vitellius A. XII

Item number: f. 64

Length: 26.5

Width: 22.1

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Map

This diagrammatic map, made in south-west England in the tenth century, shows the Mediterranean world of the Greeks and Romans. It was intended to illustrate the geographical part of an encyclopaedic text, the De Natura Rerum, by St Isidore of Seville (circa 540-636). It is oriented with east ( Asia) at the top. The Mediterranean runs down the map from the central circle, separating Africa and Europe. Each continent has a list containing provincial names. The scribe mistakenly confused Africa and Europe, placing Europe to the south (right) of the Mediterranean. Almost at the end of its list of names of the fourteen European provinces, and as though lying on the fringes of the civilised world, can be read 'Britannia' and 'Hybernia' [Ireland].

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