Anaximander’s Map c. 570 BCE


Map Code: Ax02240

Anaximander was a revolutionary cosmologist who introduced the concept of ‘space’ and layers of celestial bodies rather than the static dome-like ‘celestial vault’ described by his predecessors. He envisaged the earth as free-floating and unsupported but stationary ‘in the same place because of its indifference’. He conceived its shape not as spherical but rather a drum-shaped cylinder, with the inhabited world on its slightly convex top. His cartography exhibited the usual conceit of placing his home turf, Ionia, at the centre of the world (or possibly, the shrine at Delphi, seen by the Greeks as the navel of the world). The three known continents, Europe, Asia and ‘Libya’ then appear as cake wedges enclosed by a circumambient ocean. The aquatic divisions between the continents are respectively, the Mediterranean, the Nile and the Phasis River (the present day Rioni River in Georgia flowing from the eastern banks of the Black Sea).

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