Nothing new under the sun.

clipped from

Map of the World

Babylonian, about 700-500
Probably from Sippar, southern

Map of the World

This tablet contains both a
inscription and a unique map of the Mesopotamian world. Babylon is
shown in the centre (the rectangle in the top half of the circle),
and Assyria, Elam and other places are also named. The central area
is ringed by a circular waterway labelled
‘Salt-Sea’. The outer rim of the sea is surrounded
by what were probably originally eight regions, each indicated by a
triangle, labelled ‘Region’ or
‘Island’, and marked with the distance in between.
The cuneiform text describes these regions, and it seems that
strange and mythical beasts as well as great heroes lived there,
although the text is far from

The map is sometimes
taken as a serious example of ancient geography, but although the
places are shown in their approximately correct positions, the real
purpose of the map is to explain the Babylonian view of the
mythological world.

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