January 27, 2014

Monday Geology Picture: An Early Map of Arabia

Posted by Evelyn Mervine

A Map of Arabia by Abraham Ortelli, circa 1570. Map print hanging in the Dubai Museum, September 2013.

Map of Arabia by Abraham Ortelius, circa 1570. Map print hanging in the Dubai Museum, September 2013.

Back in September 2013 I visited Dubai for one day during a layover when I was flying from Alaska back to South Africa. I was fortunate enough to be able to sleep on the flight from New York to Dubai, so when I arrived in Dubai I took a quick shower at the hotel then headed out to explore for a few hours. I spent some time at the Dubai Museum. The museum is located in a fort that is the oldest building in Dubai and has several interesting exhibits. I’ll blog a little more about my visit to the museum later this week.

For now, I want to share this picture of an interesting map that was displayed in a little nook in one part of the museum. As I was walking through the museum, the map caught my eye, so I took a picture of it. The map is titled “Map of Arabia in 1570 by Abraham Ortelius”. I was intrigued by the map as I thought that 1570 was quite early for such a detailed map to have been produced for the region. When I did some googling after the museum visit, I discovered that the map comes from a book known as the Theatrum Orbis Terrarum (Theatre of the World), which is considered to be the world’s first modern atlas. This atlas was compiled by Abraham Ortelius, a Flemish cartographer and geographer. I’ll have to do some reading on Ortelius– he sounds like he was a very interesting person. According to Wikipedia, he was apparently one of the first people (the first person?) to propose the theory of continental drift… long before Alfred Wegener!