Georgia on Unique Historical Maps (Exclusive)
23 January, 2015
 Georgia on Unique Historical Maps (Exclusive)
Two unique maps that piqued the society’s interest were explained in detail by Giorgi Lobzhanidze, author of the book, European Maps and Historical Sources about Georgia:

– Both maps are well-preserved examples of Western European cartography. The first one is an Ebstorf Mappa Mundi (a map that depicts the whole world) and the other is a Hereford Mappa Mundi. They are similar in style and content. Both were kept at a monastery, and both carry traits of the age they
were created in.

Let’s take a look at the Ebstorf map first. This map was most likely created in the first half of 13th century, at Germany’s Ebstorf monastery. It is a perfect sample of medieval cartography, which was strongly under the influence of Christian ideology: Its upper part bears an image of “Our Savior,” and depicted to his left is “Paradise,” complete with the Garden of Eden and Adam and Eve. Such a layout implies that God stands above all and that the world is in his grasp. This is further corroborated by Jerusalem being at the map’s center.
The Hereford map, Great Britan, 13th century
“Medieval Europeans gave a mystical importance to the Georgians, considering them to be defenders of the civilized world who held the Caucasian gate, located between Dariali and Darubandi. According to legends and beliefs, Alexander the Great closed this gate to fend off the ‘apocalyptic invaders’ – People of Gog and Magog.”

For all intents and purposes, this is a geographical-political map, since it provides information about the world by associating certain geographical locations with myths and legends about them. Several of them are associated with Georgia, the legend of the Jason and the Argonauts first among them. There is a written explanation that according to the legend, Jason traveled to Colchis to get his hands on the Golden Fleece, which is depicted on the map. There are also depictions of warriors protecting the Caucasian Gate. It is noteworthy that medieval Europeans gave a mystical importance to the Georgians, considering them to be defenders of the civilized world who held the Caucasian gate, located between Dariali and Darubandi. According to legends and beliefs, Alexander the Great closed this gate to fend off the “apocalyptic invaders” – people of Gog and Magog. These people are depicted as eastern cannibals and savages and were considered harbingers of the apocalypse. The map also depicts the city of Dioskuria and a group of nine people near it. This is apparently supposed to allude to the legend of the city’s foundation by Greeks. It was located on the Black Sea, close to modern Sukhumi.

“Colchis and the Golden Fleece are depicted on the Hereford Mappa Mundi as well. However, unlike the Ebstorf map, this one also depicts Noah’s Ark in the vicinity of Iberia, located close to Armenia’s Ararat Mountain.”
The Hereford map in the original picture is very similar to the Ebstorf one in structure. It is presumed to have been created in the second part of the 13th century by a man named Richard of Haldingham and was kept in Great Britain’s Hereford Cathedral Library. The map depicts a variety of legends and myths, which pertained to certain countries or locations in Europe. Colchis and the Golden Fleece are mentioned here as well. However, unlike the Ebstorf map, this one also depicts Noah’s Ark in the vicinity of Iberia, located close to Armenia’s Ararat Mountain.

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