The Greeks and Romans continued to refine the art of map making, culminating with the work of Claudius Ptolemaeus (in English Ptolemy).
Ptolemy was a geographer, mathematician and astronomer who lived in Roman Egypt.
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Ptolemy’s work continued to be of great importance to European and Islamic scholars well into the Renaissance (1500s).
Earlier maps in this period tended to be simple ‘black-and-white’ maps which showed coastlines, country borders, mountains, rivers, place names etc.
In many cases these were then ‘hand painted’ to add some colour to the finished product.
As a result, maps have become absolutely critical to most fields of human endeavour. In particular, it uses a known projection which is able to be described by its title ‘Oblique Mercator Projection'.
It incorporates the features which maps through the ages have focused on – describing the landscape – in this case the location and names of places, rivers etc and the coastline.
An excellent example of this is the work of Al-Idrisi, an Arab scholar in the court of King Roger II of Sicily.