Maps constitute a specialized graphic language, an instrument of communication that has influenced behavioral characteristics and the social life of humanity throughout history.
They have often served as memory banks for spatial data and as mnemonics in societies without the printed word and can speak across the barriers of ordinary language, constituting a common language used by men of different races and tongues to express the relationship of their society to a geographic environment. They communicated in the same “learned language”— Greek — and discussed “the same body of ideas”.


The map of the principal temple in Babylon, E-sagil, which was the earthly abode of the national deity Marduk, represents the terrestrial counterpart to the celestial residence of the great god Enlil, designed, figuratively speaking, on the blueprint of the cosmic subterranean sweet watery region of the Apsu. Our cartographic knowledge must, therefore, be gleaned largely from literary descriptions, often couched in poetic language and difficult to interpret. Another of a land, also in the north, where a man, who could dispense with sleep, might earn double wages, as there was hardly any night.






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