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MappingLike most people, I have a ridiculously large collection of bookmarks saved in my browser of choice (Firefox, if you care).  To be honest, a noteworthy amount of them are sites that are rarely visited (some only once), but that contain something that is just too damned interesting and/or useful.

Among my large collection, however, there are a number that compose my Usual Haunts.  You know – the half-dozen or so sites that I visit pretty much every day.  Strange Maps (always entertaining and informative) is one such site, and I suggest you add it to your list of usual haunts (if it isn’t already on it).  Anyway, today I visited Strange Maps and encountered this post, about Athanasius Kircher, and a map he drew of Atlantis:

Atlantis

(Do visit the post linked above.  It includes the original image, depicting the entirety of the page from which this map was clipped.  It’s in Latin, but a translation can be found in the comments.  The comments at Strange Maps are always worth reading.)

You’ll notice that Kircher’s map is ‘upside-down’ by today’s standards.  This is a relative thing, of course.  The convention of upward=northward is a fairly young one.

Anyway, I had some time on my hands (a very rare commodity these days), so I thought I’d have some fun.  Using GIMP, I clipped and rotated Kircher’s map, then laid it over an image saved from Google Earth, just to see what I would see:

Atlantis Found

Holy crap!  I found Atlantis!

Alright.  But still – it looks cool.  And if any adventurous divers find anything in the area, I’d appreciate a nominal finder’s fee (the undersea landforms in the southern peninsula look especially promising for vast treasures and ancient mysteries).

I think the most remarkable thing about this map, though, is what it tells us about Kircher’s geographic awareness and cartographic skill.  Look closely, and you’ll see that he did a fine job of placing Mount Pico.  His knowledge of landforms west of Atlantis needed some work, but I’m willing to forgive him.  It was the 17th century, after all.

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