The Medieval Copies of Claudius Ptolemy’s Maps: A Semiotic Analysis
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Cartography is an inherently iterative field in which the works of the past often influence the works of the present. This study investigates the ways in which Claudius Ptolemy’s maps influenced European map making upon their reemergence in the 14th and 15th centuries. By analyzing collected maps based on Peirce’s semiotic frameworks and existing carto-semiotic literature we tracked and compared the use of signs in Ptolemaic maps and non-Ptolemaic mappamundi from the same time period. Our analysis shows the progression of symbolization and illustration in early Medieval Ptolemaics and begins to touch on the possible influences of Ptolemy in other types of maps at this time as this type of map grew to be more stylized. We conclude that Ptolemaics of the surveyed period showed a tendency towards mapping the secular geography of humanity rather than the common religious or cultural narratives of the period.
Includes Images, Maps, Figures, Tables and Bibliography.