During the 18th century, a popular subject for spoof cartography was marriage, as shown in this fantasy ‘map’ made in a typical 18th-century style. Marriage here is depicted as a safe harbour only reached by braving challenging conditions; money and virtue offer safe avoidance of the hazards, but only on islands.
The map contains a lot of moralising about the state of matrimony and love, with some sly double meanings. Here, ‘road’ is used in one of its older senses of ‘a partly sheltered stretch of water near the shore’. There are two prominent classical Greek references: Cupid (god of erotic love and desire), and Hymen (god of marriage ceremonies) – though the word’s anatomical meaning, and association with virginity, is clearly to be understood too.