[FLEUVES) Rivers as Pre-Modern Cartographic Challenge: The Case of Asia Minor

Réalisation : 29 septembre 2017 Mise en ligne : 29 septembre 2017
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Anatolian Rivers between East and West

Axes and FrontiersGeographical, economical and cultural aspects of the human-environment interactions between the Hebros and Tigris Rivers in ancient timesThe Cultural Aspects of Rivers28th September-1st October 2017Istanbul (French Institute of Anatolian Studies)Enez (Enez Excavations Directorate)

Perceptions and Representations of Western Asiatic Rivers

Richard Talbert (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, as Pre-Modern Cartographic Challenge: The Case of Asia Minor

The paper illustrates and discusses the longstanding universal difficulties of mapping rivers, with special reference to Asia Minor. Here, as late as the early 20th century, mapping was still conducted under conditions comparable to those found during classical antiquity. In consequence, with major initiative by the Ottoman authorities barely begun, the hydrography of Richard Kiepert’s Karte von Kleinasien (1901-1907) was far from definitive. The sole surviving representation of the region transmitted to us from antiquity, the Peutinger Map, treats rivers cavalierly, although perhaps nothing better is to be expected from this Map’s curious design. Even in Ptolemy’s Geography concern for river-courses is all but lacking, a limitation justified by his confinement of the work’s scope to geographia and point-data, without accommodating the detail associated with chorographia and with large-scale surveys such as those undertaken by Roman agrimensores. Strabo, too, describes his native region of Asia Minor strictly at the level of geographia, from a perspective far more terrestrial than fluvial.Wherever the unfinished Artemidorus Map may represent, it is evidently at the least chorographic work, which – contra its editors Gallazzi, Kramer, Settis (2008) – affords us a glimpse of how rivers might be rendered by ancient cartographers.


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