How Maps Were Used in Ancient Times?

Maps have been an integral part of human history, helping us navigate unknown territories and keep track of our surroundings. The earliest known maps date back to ancient times, and they were used for various purposes beyond navigation. Let’s take a look at how maps were used in ancient times.

Ancient Egyptian Maps

The ancient Egyptians are known to have created some of the earliest surviving maps. These maps were primarily used for religious and administrative purposes.

They depicted the Nile River and surrounding areas, including towns, temples, and other landmarks. The maps were often drawn on papyrus or painted on tomb walls.

Ancient Greek Maps

The ancient Greeks are credited with developing the science of cartography (map-making). They created some of the most accurate maps of their time, including world maps that showed the Earth as a sphere. Greek scholars such as Eratosthenes also calculated the circumference of the Earth using geometry and astronomy.

Roman Maps

The Romans were known for their military conquests, and they used maps extensively for strategic planning and navigation. They created detailed maps of conquered lands, including roads, rivers, mountains, and other geographic features. These maps helped Roman generals plan their campaigns and conquer new territories.

Medieval Maps

During the Middle Ages, map-making became more sophisticated as European explorers ventured into unknown lands. The medieval period saw the development of portolan charts – navigational charts that showed coastlines and harbors – which helped sailors navigate along trade routes.

Islamic Maps

Islamic scholars during this time also made significant contributions to cartography. They created detailed world maps that included Africa, Europe, Asia, and parts of America. Islamic cartographers also developed techniques for projecting spherical shapes onto flat surfaces – a process known as projection – which is still used in modern map-making.


Maps have come a long way since their earliest origins in ancient times. From simple depictions of local landmarks to complex world maps, they have played a vital role in human history. Today, maps are still an essential tool for navigation and exploration, and the development of digital mapping technologies has revolutionized the way we interact with our surroundings.