As soon as I saw today’s featured picture on Wikipedia, I knew I had to rave about it somewhere. Wikipedia has no “like” buttons, probably for a good reason, but thanks to it and the beautiful institution of the Public Domain, I can copy it here. Does the internet get any better than this?
I’ve seen my share of old maps, not only as popular backgrounds to everything, overblown to pixelation, but in the flesh, and way out of my price range, at the Boston Antiquarian Book Fair. This one is in a special class, though. Without egregious distortions of the physical terrain, it presents an unfamiliar political division. What is going on in Sweden? Look at the tastefully subtle coloration. Visit Wikimedia Commons here, and zoom in on the original. Are all of these places real? Didn’t I read about some of them in Egil’s Saga? Are they all still there? Look at the forests and mountain ranges. At this level of detail, the stylization hardly seems to matter. Written three hundred years ago in Latin, French, and German, it is still utterly intelligible.
Perhaps you understand why I find geography so fascinating, why I cover my walls in maps and learn them by heart?