Examples of T-O Maps

10th century T-O List Map, 11 cm diameter, note that Africa and Europe are reversed

An 11th century Flemish (St. Pierre, Ghent) Sallust map,
oriented with West at the top, 11 cm diameter.
This map has a great deal of detail in Africa, as it was designed to illustrate Sallust’s history of Jugurtha’s revolt against Rome. In the accompanying Flemish manuscript, as is common, the Jugurthine War is bound with Sallust’s account of the conspiracy of Catiline. What is less common is that the map appears in the Catiline section rather than in the Jugurtha text.  A teacher’s notes on the details of Roman military organization, taken from Cincius, On Military Science, appear on the rim of the map. 11th century, 11 cm diameter, Oxford University, MS. Rawl. G. 44, fol. 17v (#205QQ)

Gauthier de Chatillon T-O mappamundi, 13th century,

10.4 cm diamete,  oriented with North at the top (#205V)

Bibliotheque Nationale, Fonds Francais 11334, fol. 1

14th century Sallust (top) & Lucan (bottom) Maps.

This simple sketch is typical of Lucan-type T-O maps in that it presents only the four cardinal directions, the three continents, and the features that divide them, including ‘gad’, or Cadiz. The text alongside describes the winds. This map is drawn on the last page of a heavily annotated manuscript below another, Sallust-type map. Map with truncated Nile and Don, in North Italian manuscript of Lucan, Pharsalia. Ca. 1350-1388; 8.3 cm diameter (each).

Oxford University, MS. Lat. class. d. 14, fol. 137v (#205Z8)

This page is from Lucan’s manuscript of Pharsalia, which describes the fight between Pompeii and Caesar. Lucan lived during the first century and like Sallust, was of the opinion that Asia was the greatest continent of all and that Europe and Africa should be considered together as one continent. The original of the text of Lucan’s Pharsalia (or, “Civil War”, as many scholars call it) was written in 61-65 CE, approximately a century after the events it chronicles. The page is from a 14th century copy of the original work.

The copy of the manuscript includes maps. One is a T-O map shown on top of the page, which is a typical Sallust map oriented with east at the top and showing the Mediterraneu, Tanais and Nilus, The last two legends appear under the arms of the T while inside the body of water the legends at the left read Fison [Ganges] and Fir-fir. There are two rivers emerging from the Tanais is and the Nile, connecting them to the surrounding ocean in a slanted path. Above the left arm is a vignette of a castellated city, representing Jerusalem (somewhat rubbed). The other arm bears the legend Egiptus, near which appears the rectangular shape of Mare Rubrum [Red Sea]. At the very top (east) the legends read Asia and India (?) Maior. Inside Europe there are only a few legends, the important ones being Europa, Hispania and Roma.

On the African side, which has the most legends and is even divided into various countries and provinces, opposite Roma we see Cartago and to its east the legend inside the rectangle reads Fenicies [Phoenicia]. To the west of Carthage (downward) appear the names of the tribes inhabiting the area. These are the Numidi, Libie, Armeni and Medi (Numidians, Libians, Armenians and Medes), with Perse [Persians] further to the south, each shown with linear borders. According to Sallust these were the tribes, which form the ancestral line of the present day North Africans.

Looking at the map it seems that some of the legends are later additions, such as Mare Mediterraneu, Tanais and Nilus, which the scribe may have added in order to rectify some of the apparent errors.

The map shown at the bottom is a simple Lucan map, which mentions only the three continents with the rivers and sea separating them (Tanais, Nilus and Mare Mediterraneu). We also see the island of Gades (port city of Cadiz in mainland Spam) at the western edge of the Mediterranean.

12th century German Arnstein Bible Map, 27 cm diameter

Similar to the St. John’s College Map, the map in this German Bible is arranged in an abstract fashion, but it is more geographically accurate and is superimposed on a zonal format. East and Asia are at the top as usual, with Europe to the left and Africa to the right. “Occeanus’ is written in the outer rim. Above the map is a diagram of the structure of knowledge or philosophy, divided into the theoretical, practical and mechanical branches. British Library, BL MS Harl. 2799, fol. 241v (#205SS)

Another T-O type map dating from the year 1120 is shown above. This untitled map is bound to the end of the Bible known as the Arnsteln Bible, kept in the British Library. It is accompanied by some other sketches, none of which contain any associated text in the Bible that houses them. The map seems to have been prepared in Germany and above it there is a diagram showing the four branches and sub-branches of philosophical knowledge, though also have no connection with the map.

As mentioned above the map is of T-O type, but unusually, it also incorporates the Macrobian climatic zones. Zonal maps we generally oriented with north at the top, but here the T-O model takes precedence and hence the map is oriented with East at the top. The zones in the map are therefore shown as vertical divisions at the two extremities of which we intemperata [extreme] zones. The Temperate Zone, which includes the inhabited world, is widened and occupies a large portion of the map and is itself shown in the T-O format. At its southern border is the perusta [scorched] zone, which is followed by the Southern Temperate Zone, all unknown to mankind. The Southern Temperate Zone is shown very narrow and bears no legend or description.

The inhabited world is squeezed inside the Northern Temperate Zone; hence it is shown n somewhat distorted and stylized form. In order to accommodate all the information intended to go on the map the width of the Temperate Zone has been exaggerated, making it wider than all the other zones combined. The Mediterranean Sea, here called Affricum mare, separates Europe from Africa and the rivers Thanais and Nylus are the borders between Asia-Europe and Africa-Europe respectively. The two sloping lines at the western end of the Mediterranean, near the ocean are named Calpes, to Rock of Gibraltar, with Gades [Spanish city of Cadiz] situated in their middle.

The landmass of Asia is shown divided into three parts. The northern part contains the provinces of Armenia, Brithinia, Frigia, Galacia, Lidia, Bactria, Pamphilia, Cilicia, Nyce and Troy. The central sector is topped by Paradise, followed up by the names India, Parthia, Assyria, Persida, Media, Mesopotamia, Chaldea, Arabia, Syria, Palesinta, Ascelonia and Antiochia. The Biblical provinces of Samaria, Galylea, Judea and Hierusalem follow the inscription ASIA. The third sector of Asia, at the far right, contains the inscriptions Alexandria, Egyptus and Babylonia (in reality Cairo). In the area of Caucasus only Armenia is mentioned.

In Europe, at the lower left of the map many provinces are shown including Roma, Ythalia [Italy], the city of Constantinople, Grecia, Ungaria [Hungary], the river Danube, Germania and Francia. At the very edge of the map the provinces of Anglia, Scocia, Hyberia [Ireland] as well as Britannia are shown. Britannia, here most probably refers to the French region of Brittany rather than Britain, which is already shown with the names of its constituent provinces.

In Africa the cities of Carthage, Cyrene [SeineAswan] and Hyppone [Hippo, present day Annaba in Algeria], as well as other provinces are shown. In line with Sallust, who writes that the Persian and Armenian mercenaries of Hercules’ army settled in the northwest of Africa, this area of the map shows the name Perse [Persians] but no Armenians.

13th century Gautier de Chatillon World Map, English, 7 cm diameter

The text that surrounds this tiny but detailed T-O map refers to the division of the earth among the sons of Noah, revealing its origin from another work, as Gautier does not mention this event in the accompanying text. The ‘Medes, Armenians and Persians’ appear in Africa, following Sallust history. The map is located at the end of the poem and contains 59 geographical names, in addition to the cardinal directions and the 12 winds. Oriented to the East, the areas marked off in the North and South may be the remnant of a zonal map. In short, this is a composite world map, drawn from a variety of sources and here included as relevant to the tale of Alexander, who conquered the world. Bodleian Library, MS Bod. 527, fol. 189v (#205TT)

This map is known as Gautier de Chatillon world map and is included in his work entitled De Alexandreis, an epic poem about the conquests of Alexander the Great. The author was born in Ronchin, France in 1135 and died in 1201 in Amiens. The book includes this map, which is a Sallust type of map and contains a few of the toponyms included in the poem. In addition to having the T-O map layout, the map also boasts two double vertical lines at the northern and southern fringes of the inhabited world, dividing the world into three climatic zones. The two outer zones are the frigid zones, outside the habitable world and only the central part is shown as the habitable world, conforming to the T-O shape and divisions.

The four protruding arms and the outer ring of the map are inscribed with the names of the four cardinal directions and the external double circle bears the legends of the twelve winds. The rivers Tanais [Don], Nilus [Nile] and the Mediteraneu Mare [Mediterranean Sea] are shown as the arms and the stem of the letter T, dividing the continents. In Europe the names shown include the river Danubius [the river Danube] Ungaria, Germania, Italia and Roma. The triangular shape at the western end of the Mediterranean, near the ocean is inscribed Calpe, Latin for the “Rock of Gibraltar”. In the territory of Asia the toponyms are divided into two columns. The column on the left begins with the region of Armenia and is then followed by Bitinia, Frigia, Galathya, Lidia, Boecia, Pamphilia and Niceia. The right column begins with Paradisus and is followed by India, Parthia, Media, Assiria, Persida, Mesopotamia, C[h]aldea, Arabia, Siria, Palestine, Anthiochia, Ascolonia, Samaria, Asia, Judea, I[e]r[usa]lem, Galilea and the legends in South Asia read Egypt, Alexandria, Babilonia.

Africa includes various countries and tribes. From top, along the Mediterranean we note the tribes of Medi (Medes), Ubies (Libyans) and Armeni (Armenians), who according to Sallust had settled in North Africa after the death of Hercules. The text around the map also describes the division of the earth between the sons of Noah.

John of Wallingford World Map, c. 1250, England, 8.2 cm diameter

This is a climate Y-O map, in which the inhabited world is divided into eight climates, seven of which come from Pliny. ‘Aren civitas’ in the far south shows the influence of an Arabic map. Jerusalem is at the juncture of three lines which roughly divide the continents. The text in the southern hemisphere describes the universe surrounding the earth ‘like the white of an egg’. Other notes on cosmology, including a list of the climates, fill the page.

British Library, MS Cotton Julius D.VII, f. 46r (#205AA)

Psalter T-O Map, ca. 1265, 9cm diameter

Here the earth is embraced by Christ, who tramples the two dragons underfoot. Instead of a pictorial representation of the world, a list of provinces, cities and islands is given, divided into the three continents. British Library, BL Add. MS 28681, fol.9v (#205VV)

Modified T-O Map, 12th century, 9cm diameter

from Book XIV.2 of Isidore’s Etymologies. The surrounding ocean and the divisions between the continents are added to this map (the Nile, the Mediterranean and the Tanais [Don] with the additional refinement of the Sea of Azov [Meotites Palus, here: the lake or swamp of Maeotis]. This feature is mentioned by Isidore in XIV.4, and in the diagram forms an elbow or Y-shape. The scribe also included the cardinal directions and the names of Noah’s three sons, as well as a small cross in the East. This diagram appears for the first time in a pair of Spanish manuscripts from the 9th century.

Mappamundi on the Tomb of Darius, 1425-50

Livre des proprietes des choses, 40,5 x 30 cm, Jean Corbechon, 1372

Mappamundi from Livre des proprietes des choses, 42 x 32.5 cm, Jean Corbechon, 1480

Mappamundi from Description de la Confederation helvetique, Albert de Bonstetten

T-O Mappamundi from L’Image du monde, 6 x 6 cm, 13th century, Gossuin de Metz

Barthélemy l'Anglais, Livre des propriétés des choses. Jean Corbechon, 1372. Copié par Gilles Gracien et illustré par Evrard d'Espingues pour Jean Du Mas, seigneur de I'Isle-Adam, Ahun (Marche), 1479-1480. Manuscrit sur parchemin, (393 feuillets, 40,5 x 30 cm)

    BnF, Manuscrits (Fr 9140 fol. 243v).

Lambert of St. Omer, Le livre fleurissant en fleurs. Prose translation of the Liber Floridus

Place of origin, date: England 1512; Material: Paper, ff. 476, 375x270 (265x220/175) mm, 2 columns, 30-41 lines, littera textualis. French. Decoration: 125 pen drawings; Provenance:

Made for Philip of Cleves, Lord of Ravenstein (d. 1528); purchased in 1531 from his estate by Henri III, Count of Nassau (d. 1538); by inheritance to the princes of Orange-Nassau, the later Stadtholders, at The Hague; taken in 1795 to Paris by the French occupying forces and restituted in 1816 to the KB. © Koninklijke Bibliotheek National Library of the Netherlands

Lambert of St. Omer, Liber Floridus Place of origin: Lille and Ninove; 1460

Material: Vellum, ff. 225, 408x286 (304x215) mm, 2 columns, 40 lines, littera textualis. Latin.

Decoration: 98 coloured drawings. Made for Pierre de Goux et de Wedergraete (d. 1471). Philip of Cleves (1456-1528). © Koninklijke Bibliotheek National Library of the Netherlands

12th century T-O and -V maps from Isidore of Seville’s Etymologiae sive Origines, 7.2 cm

BNF, Manuscrits (Latin 10293 f° 139)

Chet Van Duzer, “A Neglected Type of Medieval Mappamundi,” pp. 278–280, mischaracterizes the V-in-square figure as used to diagram the Noachide dispersion in copies of Isidore’s Etymologiae (Book 14), where it is almost always juxtaposed with a T-O map. The V-in-square figure does not correlate Noah’s sons with the world’s partes, which are nowhere included: the name Shem written inside the “V” cannot be said to “indicate” Asia, nor Japheth at left Europe, nor Ham at right Africa. Rather, the V-in-square functions precisely to offer an alternative to the tripartition of the T-O; the former epitomizes the distribution of peoples according to passages in Etym. 9.2, esp. lines 9, 25, and 37, which depend on Jerome, Hebraicae Quaestiones in libro Geneseos, 10.2–22. Early exegetical tradition hesitated too rigidly to align Noachide inheritance with the geographic division of lands. For example, Bede in Hexaemeron, 3.10.1–2: “the first-born Shem obtained Asia, the second son Ham Africa and the last-born son Japheth Europe—at any rate with the proviso that, since Asia is greater by far in the geographical area of its lands than either Europe or Libya, the descendants of Ham and Japheth also possessed some portions of Asia,” quoted from On Genesis, trans. Calvin B. Kendall. (#205T)

Fitzwilliam Map, 1220, 26.3 x 17.8 cm