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Why we so many ancient maps diasappear?

If by now most ancient biographical data and primary textual sources have been lost, the maps survived in very small quantity. Even the most significant of them that were the subject of written discussions between the Greek philosophers did not reach us. Maps and globes wore; there is plenty of evidence that an uncountable number of them was simply lost by negligence and indifference. But there are other reasons why so few original maps survived and why there are so many gaps in chronological order of their development.

  • Insecurity in travel

Ancient maps were designed primarily for travelers, soldiers and sailors. Travelling in those days was very dangerous. The condition of roads, robbers, fires, floods and shipwrecks negatively impact on the preservation of maps and notes.

  • The material of maps

The materials used in the production of land and marine maps and globes, also contributed to their destruction. Silver, copper and bronze were the materials that are quite resistant to external influences, however, were a temptation for servants and soldiers invaders. Lead was melted down in bullets; from parchment and leather were made wads and good durable hardcover for books. When a shortage of parchment maps printed on parchment were often scraped off and lists were used for new recordings. This practice led not only to a loss of maps, and a variety of other works; one time due to lack of material for writing it gained breadth that in 691 was issued a special decree prohibiting to spoil and destroy any parts of Scripture and the Fathers of the Church.

  • Storage and use of maps

Large maps were always inconvenient to store in the unfolded and expanded form, so they were often stacked, and many intertwined as books. As a result of this practice, had been lost a lot of important cartographic documents.

  • Church

At the beginning of the Christian era and for the next twelve hundred years or so, only a very brave men, or Gentiles dared to embark on geographic considerations. Trying to unravel the mysteries of the universe when it was considered if not a sin, then at least a manifestation of impiety. Therefore, if the manuscript – both with spiritual or pegan content - could be collected, maps were created furtively, studied in secret, and in many cases were quickly destroyed.

  • "Obsolete" maps

For centuries it was believed that the best map is the latter, no matter who created it and what area it covered, but in reality this is not often the case. It happens that the original map is based on a thorough survey and later beautiful specimens are hasty inaccurate copies made with the sole purpose to sell them more profitably. Unfortunately, very old maps were simply destroyed, although there were times when using "obsolete" long-forgotten maps helped to win war campaign. This remains true even today.

As you can see, a large number of reasons prevented the preservation of ancient maps. However, despite this we still have a small number of maps, which allow us to trace the development of cartography since ancient times.