- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 27, 2001

MILAN, Italy (Agence France Presse) — Humanity's desire to discover and chart the world is the theme of an exhibition of the history of mapmaking that opens in Milan today.
The display depicts the history of the science from Babylonian tablets in the 6th century B.C. until the space shuttle in the late 20th century.
Globes showing the constellations are reminders of the days when conventional wisdom assumed the Earth was at the center of creation.
Before London's Greenwich Meridian became the standard zero longitude, the center of the world depended on the geocultural perspective of the mapmaker.
Early Korean maps depict that country as the center of the world, with China an "In-between Kingdom" and the rest of the world fringe territories.
During the Crusades, maps in Christendom showed Jerusalem as the epicenter while during the Roman Empire all roads led to Rome. European maps in the Middle Ages reflected the three cornerstones of Western civilization Greek science, Roman administration and the Christian faith.
The Chinese contribution and the advanced science of Islamic civilization in the Middle Ages took the subject forward. Chart-making instruments from the Museum of Tehran are one of the exhibition highlights.
Discovery of new worlds saw mapmakers dispatched quickly by aspiring colonial powers. Kings pored over maps of entire continents, but the sailors dispatched to colonize them ignored the big picture, preferring local coastline charts.


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