Armenia on Ptolemy’s map

Ptolemy was a significant figure in ancient science, and his works have had a lasting impact on various scientific disciplines. He lived in the city of Alexandria, one of the intellectual centers of the ancient Mediterranean world. His most famous work in geography is the ‘Geographia’ (also known as the ‘Cosmographia’), a compilation of what was known about the world’s geography in the Roman Empire during his time. It included a gazetteer, various regional and world maps, and mathematical methods for constructing these maps.

The Map and Greater Armenia

The mention of “Greater Armenia” (Armenia Maior) in the map is noteworthy. Armenia was a significant kingdom and later a region under various empires. In antiquity, Greater Armenia was a large area covering parts of what is now modern-day Armenia, eastern Turkey, and parts of Iran and Azerbaijan. It bordered Media to the east, another significant kingdom absorbed into the Achaemenid Empire. To the south lay Assyria, an ancient empire that had once controlled vast territories, including Armenia. To the west was Lesser Armenia (Armenia Minor), which was generally under Roman influence. The northern borders with Colchis, Iberia, and Caucasian Albania are also indicative of the geopolitical landscape at the time.

Nicolaus Germanus’s Reprint in 1428

Nicolaus Germanus was a German cartographer who lived in the 15th century. He is best known for his Latin translations of Ptolemy’s ‘Geographia’ and for updating Ptolemy’s maps. His work, printed using the relatively new technology of the printing press, helped disseminate the ancient understanding of geography to a broader European audience. It was a significant development in cartography and was widely used until more accurate maps began to appear in the age of exploration.

Importance and Current Location

The map, now housed in the British Museum in London, serves as a testament to the scientific curiosity and endeavor of both ancient and medieval scholars. It also provides a snapshot of how the ancient world was understood and interpreted by different generations of intellectuals.

To summarize, the map is a fascinating relic of historical geography and cartography, bridging ancient and medieval understandings of the world and serving as an educational tool for scholars, historians, and the general public alike.

Vigen Avetisyan
Source of Map: Samvel Poghosyan Historical maps

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