Armenia on Ancient Maps of the World

Armenia on Ancient Maps of the World“Armenia in world cartography” is a unique collection of geographic maps and their descriptions, spanning from times immemorial to modern days.

They represent the geographical features of Armenia, political events, as well as regional relations.

  • Map 1

This map was taken from Ptolemy’s “Geography” published in Strasburg in 1513. It was drawn by Martin Waldseemüller and published by Schott. The map is called “New map of Asia” and depicts Anatolia and Lesser Armenia. Coastal areas and cities are indicated more in-depth, while in the case of the lands far from the sea, only key sites are mentioned. Therefore, this map was most likely created for seafarers.

Size: 61 x 45 cm British Library, London

  • Map 2

This page is from the atlas “Geography” of Ptolemy composed by Lorenzo Fris and printed in Strasburg in 1522 in the Grüninger printing house. This particular map is titled “Third map of Asia”. It pinpoints key cities of Armenia, Iberia, Colchis, and Albania along with their geographical data.

In general, each country is featured in a separate chapter in the works of Ptolemy. He includes geographical data about each country, as well as a list of their cities with their coordinates. In the atlas, each map is typically accompanied by significant information about the displayed country.

Size: 30 x 39 cm British Library, London

  • Map 3

This map is referred to as the map of Asia Minor, which also includes Lesser Armenia. It is featured in the already-mentioned atlas of Ptolemy composed by Lorenzo Fris. This map contains almost every city of Armenia mentioned in the text of the atlas.

Size: 52 x 39 cm British Library, London

  • Map 4

Called “Greater Armenia, Colchis, Caucasian Iberia, and Albania”, this map is from the book “World Geography” by Sebastian Münster, which was printed in the city of Basel in 1540. This map is based on the “Third map of Asia” from Ptolemy’s “Geography.”

As the name implies, this map depicts Colchis, Iberia, Albania, and Greater Armenia. It also features Noah’s Ark portrayed as a house sailing through the Caspian Sea. Lesser Armenia can be seen in the western border of the map. This map contains the Greek names of the major Armenian cities.

Size: 34 x 27 cm Private collection, London

  • Map 5

Another map by Sebastian Münster. This one is from his book “Cosmology.” Named “Tataria and Russia”, it was printed in the city of Basel in 1544 – 45.

Containing many of the maps of Ptolemy, “Cosmology” is one of the most significant works of Münster. It has been republished 36 times over 100 years. The book’s 1,200 pages contain information about the peoples of many countries, their traditions and lifestyle, and the countries’ flora and fauna. It also features mythical creatures and people who have been allegedly living in distant countries.

“Tataria and Russia” is based on the “Second map of Asia” by Ptolemy. Inscriptions on it have been written in medieval German. The map displays a part of the European and Asian Russia to the north of the Caucasian Mountains, south of which is Armenia. Armenia is represented in a rather distorted manner.

Size: 34 x 27 cm Private collection, London

Read also: Armenia in World Cartography – Ruben Galchyan, Drawn Maps,

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