Mesopotamian Map 600 BCE


Map Code: Ax02241

Complete with cuneiform inscriptions, the map provides a representation of the world with Babylon, straddling the Euphrates, at its centre. There may have been an element of political point-scoring in the depiction, as Egypt and Persia, powerful rivals of Babylon at the time, are omitted. The known world is shown as circular with a surrounding ocean, a configuration replicated in the roughly contemporary map of the Greek Anaximander. Seven triangular ‘islands’ or regions are shown stretching outward beyond the ocean. Some of the inscriptions are missing, but those present give an indication of the location of the regions they describe. The fifth island ‘where one sees nothing’ and ‘the sun is not visible’ presumably describes the far north, the seventh island ‘where the morning dawns’ would lie to the east. The named regions – Urartu, Assyria, Bit Yakinu (a district of Chaldea) and Elam – were all in Babylon’s neighbourhood.

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