Unusual And Marvelous Maps

I love looking at ancient maps. Even those that are relatively correct feature fantastic artwork in the spaces that would otherwise have no information. But some of those extra decorations had a purpose.
The richly decorated Carta Marina, from 1539 might seem a little crude by today’s standards but modern satellite imaging revealed that the sea monsters shown in parts of the ocean on the map actually correspond to well known storm fronts, dangerous currents and maritime hazards. This was perhaps just a method of depicting this at the time, as a warning to sailors venturing into these areas

This picture is just a small detail of the Carta Marina. See the full map and many others in a roundup of old maps at Dark Roasted Blend. Link

Newest 5
Newest 5 Comments

Hail to Scotchdrinkr & Co.! I too embellish mapped directions with sea monsters and "Here be Dragons" and "Terra Incognita," etc.

When I read this article, I found myself thinking of Scylla & Charybdis from Homer's "Odyssey."
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Love these maps! I'm delighted to hear the "monsters" have a purpose - makes them much more real, somehow!

Also enjoy the thought of Scotchdrnkr & his colleague adding sea-monsters to their river surveys - if it wasn't for getting them into trouble, I would love to see their clients' faces if a few slipped through the net and made it to the final version... :--)
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
A fellow draftsman & I used to draw sea monsters on our surveys in no print pencil when ever we drew a survey along a water way. We used the no print pencil because you couldn't allow these to show up on the printed copies that would be sent out to the client. Basically it was purple pencil and when you ran it through the print machine they wouldn't show up.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.)
Commenting is closed.

Email This Post to a Friend
"Unusual And Marvelous Maps"

Separate multiple emails with a comma. Limit 5.


Success! Your email has been sent!

close window

This website uses cookies.

This website uses cookies to improve user experience. By using this website you consent to all cookies in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

I agree
Learn More