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Maps of the Middle East

It is no secret that maps have been tools of domination and power in the world’s history of conquest and colonization. This is true in the Middle East, a region of the world rich in ancient history, culture, religion, and chaos. Antique maps of the Middle East show a landscape that combines beauty with cruelty, divinity, with bloodshed.

Many fine original maps of the Middle East are held at the Jewish National Library in Jerusalem, including ancient maps of the Holy Land dating from the 15th century. The earliest is a simple woodcut from 1475 showing a peaceful Palestine with place names and a figure in the upper left blowing a gust of wind across the land. A 1591 map by Abraham Ortelius is bordered by spherical vignettes picturing famous biblical scenes of miracles and conquests. Dutch... Read more

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