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It is essentially a European view and it needs to be emphasised that this development was not evenly spread across the Earth.Indeed, many of the pictorial techniques which were developed very early on are still being used today.
The decoration often included angels and imaginary monsters.
In the Islamic world, the study of the science of mapping and geography did progress.
The first of these books had the delightful title of ‘The Amusement of him who desires to traverse the Earth’.
It is believed that the influence of Al-Idrisi’s work was far reaching with generations of Islamic map makers using his designs as the basis of their maps.
An excellent example of this is the work of Al-Idrisi, an Arab scholar in the court of King Roger II of Sicily.
In the period around 1154 he produced a number of outstanding ‘world’ maps and geographic books.This system revolutionised European geographic thinking, by imposing mathematical rules to the composition of maps.Ptolemy’s work continued to be of great importance to European and Islamic scholars well into the Renaissance (1500s).This tablet (circa 600BC), which is in the collection of the British Museum, is an excellent example of Babylonian clay tablet maps.It shows Babylon in the centre with the Euphrates River, mountains and a surrounding ocean.One interesting development was the adoption of the principle of having Jerusalem in the centre of a ‘world’ map and the Orient (Asia) at the top of the map.