Posts tagged map
Posts tagged map
Viking journeys: 8th - 11th centuries
DARMC’s coverage begins under the Roman empire and extends nearly a thousand years toward the present by encompassing the medieval world. Although the initial post-Roman focus has been on medieval Europe, Byzantium and the Crusades have not been neglected, and we have begun to include the essential third leg of the tripod of medieval civilization, the Islamic world.
The Gough Map of Great Britain (also known as The Bodleian Map) is the oldest surviving road map of Great Britain, dating from around 1360. Drawn in pen, ink and coloured washes on two skins of vellum, the map’s dimensions measure 115 x 56cm. It was donated to the Bodleian Library in Oxford by Richard Gough in 1809, along with the rest of his collection of maps, prints, books and drawings, under the terms of his will.
Although the map is undated, clues are given by certain features, such as the town of Sheppey which changed its name to Queenborough in 1366, but is still marked as Sheppey on the map, whilst paleographic evidence suggests the mid- to late fourteenth century.
Once the reader is aware that the map shows east at the top, then the outline of Great Britain quickly becomes familiar. Rivers are given strategic importance, with the Severn, Thames and Humber predominant, and even the loop of the Wear at Durham readily evident. Other physical features are identified by symbols, for example a tree locates the New Forest.
Routes between towns are marked in red on the map, with distances included in Roman numerals, also marked in red, best seen on those roads radiating out from London, and also along the Welsh coast.
The map was drawn some 300 years before precise surveying was made possible by the invention of triangulation in the 16th century, followed by the development of more accurate surveying instruments in the Low Countries. Given these limitations, Matthew Paris’ map is remarkable.
But look at the next post…..
Matthew Paris’ Map of Britain, circa mid 13th century.