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Egyptians and Babylonians alike attempted to draw maps of the world they knew.

In early times, however, traveling was difficult, and most people either knew only their immediate neighborhood or, if they traveled, had difficulty keeping directions and distances in mind.

The first map that we can recognize as having some vague relation to reality was drawn by a Greek traveler named Hecataeus (6th-5th century B.C.). He had the advantage of living after the Persian Empire had been firmly established, so that it was possible for him to travel for thousands of miles without encountering war or disorder.

Hecataeus drew a map about 510 B.C. in which the land area of the world was shown as a circle, with the sea around it. An arm of the sea cuts halfway into the circle from the west. It is the Mediterranean. Europe lies to the north, Africa to the south, and Asia to the east.

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Author:Azimov, Isaac
Publication:Asimov's Chronology of Science & Discovery, Updated ed.
Article Type:Reference Source
Date:Jan 1, 1994
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