World Ancient Map

Explore World Ancient Maps to know about the rich historical legacy of the past empires, ages, and cultures. Are you aware of how large were the different civilizations in ancient India, Babylonia, Egypt, and across different parts of the world? To help you out in your quest to know more about the ancient world, MapsOfWorld.com has brought a series of ancient maps of the world of different eras and empires. Whether you are looking for a blank, outline, printable, or customized world ancient map with the demarcation of areas and expanse of empires, you’ll find everything of your choice at MapOfWorld.com.

The earliest known world maps were found in the 6th to 5th centuries BCE when people still believed in the flat earth paradigm. It was only in the Hellenistic period (the time of the Mediterranean history or from the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC and the emergence of the Roman Empire) that the first-ever spherical Earth concept appeared in the ancient world maps. 


Eratosthenes and Posidonius pioneered the concepts of world maps during the Greek era, which then culminated in the Roman era. Throughout the Middle Ages, Ptolemy's world map (2nd century CE) remained authoritative. 


The geographical knowledge of the cartographers started to expand since the times of Ptolemy. They had the knowledge of the approximate size of the Earth. Though they were aware of the existence of parts of the earth, many parts were considered terra incognita (the cartography term in Latin meaning “unknown land”, referring to regions that have not been mapped or documented). 


Since Ptolemy, knowledge of the approximate size of the Earth allowed cartographers to estimate the extent of their geographical knowledge, and to indicate parts of the planet known to exist but not yet explored as terra incognita. An increasingly more accurate world map came into existence during the 15th to 18th centuries with the Age of Discovery. It was only in the 19th and early 20th centuries that the western mapmakers explored Antarctica, Australia, and the interior of Africa.


The bronze age “Saint-Bélec slab”, discovered recently, is the oldest known map of the territory in the world. This three-dimensional representation of the River Odet valley in Finistère, on Brittany’s northwestern tip, was discovered at an ancient burial ground a century back. The study, published in the Bulletin of the French Prehistoric Society, believes that this earliest world ancient map belonged to the era from 1900 BCE to 1640 BCE. New analysis shows that this 4,000-year-old Bronze Age stone slab represents an area around an 18-mile stretch of the Odet river. It shows many lines, showing a local river network that represented the territory of an ancient king. 


The Babylonian World Map or the Imago Mundi was the earliest known world map for a long time. It was found in the ancient city of Babylon, which was ruled by some of the most influential and powerful empires of the world at that time. This ancient world map of around 600 B.C. was scratched on a star-shaped clay tablet and measured just 5-by-3 inches. It showed the earth as a flat disc, which is surrounded by the ocean. At the center of the clay tablet, Babylon and the Euphrates River are shown as a pair of rectangles. Assyria and Susa, the neighboring cities of Babylon city, are shown as small, circular blobs. 


There are many other remarkable early, ancient maps that are the testament of the ancient world and also showcases the early history of cartography. Some of these ancient maps are Turin Papyrus Map, Ptolemy’s Geography, The Peutinger Map or Tabula Peutingeriana, The Tabula Rogeriana, The Da Ming Hun Yi Tu, The Cantino Planisphere, The Waldseemüller World Map, The Mercator Projection, Mappamundi, and many more. These antique navigational tools chart the course of humanity through history. 


Whether you are looking for a blank, outline, printable, high resolution, or customized world ancient map with oceans, seas, names of ancient places, and others, you’ll find everything of your choice at MapOfWorld.com.

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Last Updated on: September 27, 2021