Anaximander’s Map

Anaximander (c. 610-546 BC) is credited with having created one of the first maps of the world, which was circular in form and showed the known lands of the world grouped around the Aegean Sea at the center. This was all surrounded by the ocean.

Reconstruction of Anaximander’s Map.

Anaximander’s innovation was to represent the entire inhabited land known to the ancient Greeks. Such an accomplishment is more significant than it at first appears. Anaximander most likely drew this map for three reasons:

  • First, it could be used to improve navigation and trade between Miletus’s colonies and other colonies around the Mediterranean Sea and Black Sea.
  • Second, Thales would probably have found it easier to convince the Ionian city-states to join in a federation in order to push the Median threat away if he possessed such a tool.
  • Finally, the philosophical idea of a global representation of the world simply for the sake of knowledge was reason enough to design one.