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Old 09-21-2012, 12:43 AM   #11
trans
 
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Default Re: Realistic Low Tech Maps

Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! This map is distorted six ways to Sunday, but that didn't matter because its purpose was to show the roads and distances between waypoints. Those practical Romans weren't going to take the extra effort to provide geographical accuracy if it wasn't necessary.
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Old 09-21-2012, 01:31 AM   #12
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Default Re: Realistic Low Tech Maps

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Originally Posted by Flyndaran View Post
Cross oceanic travel is definitely more TL 4+ let alone hitting near the port you were aiming at. I assumed they hit land and just slid along the coastline until they got to where they wanted to go.
I can't say I agree with that, but it hardly matters. I said "low tech" not "before TL 4". I fact I was mostly thinking of TL 4.

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Originally Posted by Tzeentch View Post
-- Before TL3 in the West? There's no evidence for such a thing so far (the Peutinger Table isn't TL2 despite people claiming it is an example of an earlier art, nor is to scale as far as we know - currently working on a research project that will test this actually). Doesn't mean there were not real honest to goodness maps drawn to scale but we've never found one and the Greeks and Romans don't discuss such a thing (well, unless you use some inventive translation). Before TL3 in the East oh heck yes. The Chinese were doing all sorts of things with actual maps fairly early in TL2 at least. How recognizable those maps are is a matter of some conjencture, but they certainly were centuries ahead of the West in using drawn representations of the earth to some scale or system (even Ptolemy may not have ever actually used his own projection system to create a map, Ptolemaic maps that survive are all sourced centuries later).
There are enough recognizable reconstructions of TL2 maps that it seems ridiculous that there were none in the first place. I could see some of the reconstructors making a new map and calling it an old one but all of them? Even if they improved it during the reconstruction it's hard to see the maps becoming non recognizable. I don't really think drawing to a precise scale is necessary for recognizably or mapness.

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Originally Posted by Tzeentch View Post
-- Subway maps show topological relationships but are not a "map" you could use for anything but trip planning. Which is what itineraries and such were, lists of places and distances and maybe some description of landmarks on the way. But really that's all people need. It's anachronistic to think ancient people even required our level of map consciousness (and I teach geography so that isn't saying much given current skill levels).
I'm familiar with subway maps I'm just not certain where your line between "real maps" and "subway maps" lies. Trip planning is all a map is for in practically all circumstances I can think of involving a map in-game. If you are using it to figure out how to get from one city to another then all you really need is a schematic. Inevitably rivers and things will be added in to make the schematic look nicer but if you aren't taking a ship it doesn't much matter if they are distorted.

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Originally Posted by Tzeentch View Post
-- Absolutely. But you don't need a map to do that, even "here be dragon" fictions.
It seems incredibly cumbersome to try to plan out a trip by using written records of which areas have roads to other areas and how long they are. I'm sure you could plan a trading expedition with it though. I wouldn't think that this would be the sort of information that one has for farther off areas though where you have to either depend on talking to someone who went on a trip there or looking at a map based on their travels.

Trying to move troops strategically by means of written records would be awful. Sure you could do routine routes easily but trying to, for example, go to a place as quickly as possible while avoiding one army and trying to not be caught in unfavourable terrain would just be so much easier when do and do well with a map that it seems absurd that well organized empires did not produce them for their generals.

Likewise it seems far easier to make an unusual sailing trip with a map to help then relying on memory and written records.

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Originally Posted by Tzeentch View Post
-- Sorry for getting exuberant about this, but I'm very interested in this topic and have had some spirited discussion with my advisor regarding defining and categorizing conceptions of space in the ancient world :)
Hey, I'm glad someone thought it was an interesting topic.

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Originally Posted by Tzeentch View Post
-- Well. It MAY be more geographically accurate then is currently appreciated. Noone has actually tried fitting it to a coordinate system (either piecemeal or as a whole). Expect more on this subject in a journal next year once I get some free time to do the digitization :)~
Well whatever it's accuracy it's very definitely recognizable.
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Old 09-21-2012, 02:09 AM   #13
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Default Re: Realistic Low Tech Maps

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Originally Posted by Sindri View Post
There are enough recognizable reconstructions of TL2 maps that it seems ridiculous that there were none in the first place. I could see some of the reconstructors making a new map and calling it an old one but all of them? Even if they improved it during the reconstruction it's hard to see the maps becoming non recognizable. I don't really think drawing to a precise scale is necessary for recognizably or mapness.
-- Are you confusing maps OF the Roman/Greek world with maps created IN the Roman/Greek world?

-- What reconstructions are you referring to? Even the Severan Marble Plan isn't actually truly to scale (probably cobbled together from smaller surveys), and I'm not sure when the last time even the claim of it having a scale was actually tested. Might be something to check later, most ancient historians just eyeball this stuff and repeat citations from decades ago.

-- To be more exact I'm talking about scale maps or even a true wayfinding map. Not cadastral or artistic or religious. You don't need any graphics to replicate a subway map/itinerary info and there's no extant document that can be dated to the imperial era that I'm aware of off-hand that is anything but a list of places and distances between them. No graphics at all, even simplified relationships like on the Peutinger Table. In GURPS terms: no Cartography skill was used.
Quote:
Inevitably rivers and things will be added in to make the schematic look nicer but if you aren't taking a ship it doesn't much matter if they are distorted.
-- The second you step off the road it matters.
Quote:
Trying to move troops strategically by means of written records would be awful. Sure you could do routine routes easily but trying to, for example, go to a place as quickly as possible while avoiding one army and trying to not be caught in unfavourable terrain would just be so much easier when do and do well with a map that it seems absurd that well organized empires did not produce them for their generals.
-- Roman history is replete with examples of people having zero knowledge of what was where or what was going on, even a fairly short time after they had a military campaign there. Even a learned scholar like Galen records being surprised by entire cities existing that he hadn't heard of before he showed up in the area.
-- It probably was a huge pain in the ass, with lots of reliance on local informers and guides and the hugely unreliable narratives of people who had been in the area sometime in recorded history who bothered to write about it and make it available (e.g. Homer and Caesar being as good as it got for many people with regards to knowledge of the Med and Gaul).
Quote:
Likewise it seems far easier to make an unusual sailing trip with a map to help then relying on memory and written records.
-- Sure, but it's that line of thinking that led to the "of COURSE they had maps we just haven't well ... found any mention or remains of ones ... ever" :) Heck you still see this all stated matter-of-factly on Wiki and so on.

-- I actually think it's more interesting trying to work out how they managed the empire without these kinds of resources. The administration was pretty diffuse (I mention this briefly in the new Pyramid issue about Roman law enforcement) and locally managed so that alone probably removed a lot of problems, but that sort of runs counter to the "centrally administered" thesis of imperial government. It also makes discussions of "grand strategy" by Luttwak and others rather moot. It's an interesting puzzle to work on for a Roman- rather than Medieval-based game though, right?
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Old 09-21-2012, 03:32 AM   #14
Peter Knutsen
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Default Re: Realistic Low Tech Maps

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Originally Posted by Flyndaran View Post
Cross oceanic travel is definitely more TL 4+ let alone hitting near the port you were aiming at. I assumed they hit land and just slid along the coastline until they got to where they wanted to go.
Yes, hitting the right spot cross-ocean was unexpected at low TLs. That said, the Norse did manage to hit Iceland reliably, when they sailed out from Norway or the British Isles.

Except once they didn't, and Greenland got discovered.
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Old 09-21-2012, 04:41 AM   #15
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Default Re: Realistic Low Tech Maps

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Originally Posted by Tzeentch View Post
-- Are you confusing maps OF the Roman/Greek world with maps created IN the Roman/Greek world?
I don't think so.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tzeentch View Post
-- What reconstructions are you referring to? Even the Severan Marble Plan isn't actually truly to scale (probably cobbled together from smaller surveys), and I'm not sure when the last time even the claim of it having a scale was actually tested. Might be something to check later, most ancient historians just eyeball this stuff and repeat citations from decades ago.
I've looked into this more and I had the wrong idea about some maps. Still when descriptions like Ptolemy's and Pomponius Mela's are good enough to make maps and the Tabula Peutingeriana exists I'm still sure that recognizable practical maps were around before TL 3 especially given how much easier it is to use maps than written records.

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Originally Posted by Tzeentch View Post
-- To be more exact I'm talking about scale maps or even a true wayfinding map. Not cadastral or artistic or religious. You don't need any graphics to replicate a subway map/itinerary info and there's no extant document that can be dated to the imperial era that I'm aware of off-hand that is anything but a list of places and distances between them. No graphics at all, even simplified relationships like on the Peutinger Table. In GURPS terms: no Cartography skill was used.
I was starting to get the idea that you were referring to some subset of maps. I'm interested in any map that can be of practical use. A schematic map with decorations is of practical use and recognizable as a map but there is also room between it and a map with proper scale for a practical map. The Mediterranean inside circle with ocean around it style map is useful for getting a general gist of the world even if it is lacking in proper scale. The only maps I'd consider calling not recognizable are the symbolic or religious ones.

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Originally Posted by Tzeentch View Post
-- The second you step off the road it matters.
People step off roads intending on using maps for navigation? To be more serious though that was a use I missed that falls in the same category as sea travel. It's still quite useful when used for what it is intended for and it's not worthless even when using ships or moving off road.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tzeentch View Post
-- Roman history is replete with examples of people having zero knowledge of what was where or what was going on, even a fairly short time after they had a military campaign there. Even a learned scholar like Galen records being surprised by entire cities existing that he hadn't heard of before he showed up in the area
Interesting. I didn't know that. Can you give more examples?

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Originally Posted by Tzeentch View Post
-- It probably was a huge pain in the ass, with lots of reliance on local informers and guides and the hugely unreliable narratives of people who had been in the area sometime in recorded history who bothered to write about it and make it available (e.g. Homer and Caesar being as good as it got for many people with regards to knowledge of the Med and Gaul).
Even when they were moving around inside their own territory?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tzeentch View Post
-- Sure, but it's that line of thinking that led to the "of COURSE they had maps we just haven't well ... found any mention or remains of ones ... ever" :) Heck you still see this all stated matter-of-factly on Wiki and so on.
Meh. I consider that fairly persuasive. Maps are made of fragile materials and have a tendency to not stay put in a nice safe library or possibly to get thrown out when a better map appears. The lack of maps definitely means there weren't many around but since when has that stopped PCs? : )

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tzeentch View Post
-- I actually think it's more interesting trying to work out how they managed the empire without these kinds of resources. The administration was pretty diffuse (I mention this briefly in the new Pyramid issue about Roman law enforcement) and locally managed so that alone probably removed a lot of problems, but that sort of runs counter to the "centrally administered" thesis of imperial government. It also makes discussions of "grand strategy" by Luttwak and others rather moot. It's an interesting puzzle to work on for a Roman- rather than Medieval-based game though, right?
It is indeed. I'd love to hear more. I'd also be interested in what you know about TL 4 maps.
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Old 09-21-2012, 07:15 AM   #16
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Default Re: Realistic Low Tech Maps

I'm going to get philosophical here, and maybe I am mouthing off beyond my pay grade, but as I understand it all maps are more or less an abstraction. And I live in Germany, so the "Ideal" is a much-desired but still unachievable goal in any case.
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Old 09-21-2012, 08:12 AM   #17
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I'm going to get philosophical here, and maybe I am mouthing off beyond my pay grade, but as I understand it all maps are more or less an abstraction. And I live in Germany, so the "Ideal" is a much-desired but still unachievable goal in any case.
There is a bit of difference between a map which falls short of the standard of a continuously updating one to one scale representation of the ground from above and a map with a continent that doesn't exist.
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Old 09-21-2012, 08:27 AM   #18
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Default Re: Realistic Low Tech Maps

Not exactly on topic, but this is my actual approach in doing a map to give the players to follow. The distances are distorced in relation to my real map and not everything will be where it is in the "real world". It is a earlly build and I am still finding the best way to put the rivers, vegetation and the effects on the text.

Here is the link:

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/37717003/PAN...0200%201.4.PNG

EDIT: Working link
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Last edited by Mateus; 12-11-2012 at 05:44 AM.
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Old 09-21-2012, 08:53 AM   #19
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Default Re: Realistic Low Tech Maps

The ancients had plenty of scale maps (a sketch of Middle Bronze Age Nippur, Ptolemy's world map, the forma urbis Romae) and building plans. I'm not sure which imaginary continents you are talking about, but keep in mind that ancient natural philosophy predicted that there was a southern continent to balance the northern ones, just like ours predicted the Higgs Boson without actually seeing it.
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Old 09-21-2012, 09:07 AM   #20
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Default Re: Realistic Low Tech Maps

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Originally Posted by Tzeentch View Post
-- Before TL3 in the West? There's no evidence for such a thing so far (the Peutinger Table isn't TL2 despite people claiming it is an example of an earlier art, nor is to scale as far as we know - currently working on a research project that will test this actually).
The Peutinger Table is pretty clearly a copy of a map of the 5th century CE or so, which is TL 2 in Europe. What is your evidence otherwise?
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