How Were Maps Used in Ancient Times?

Maps have been an integral part of human civilization since ancient times. The use of maps can be traced back to more than 5000 years ago when early civilizations started to explore the world around them. In this article, we will take a closer look at how maps were used in ancient times.

Ancient Egyptian Maps

One of the earliest known maps was discovered in Ancient Egypt. The map, which dates back to around 1500 BC, was found on a papyrus scroll. The map shows the location of gold mines, temples, and other important landmarks in Ancient Egypt.

The Ancient Egyptians used maps for various purposes such as navigating the Nile River and tracking the movements of the stars. They also used maps for military purposes by creating battle plans and strategizing their attacks.

Ancient Greek Maps

The Ancient Greeks were also known for their cartography skills. They created some of the most accurate maps during their time. One famous Greek cartographer was Ptolemy who created a world map that was considered to be one of the most accurate until the 15th century.

The Greeks used maps for many purposes including navigation, trade, and military strategy. They also believed that maps could help them understand the world around them better.

Chinese Maps

China has a rich history when it comes to mapping. Some of the earliest known Chinese maps date back to around 4th century BC. These early maps were made using silk or bamboo strips and depicted various regions and landscapes.

Chinese cartographers were skilled in creating detailed and accurate maps that showed not only geographical features but also cultural and religious landmarks.

Roman Maps

The Romans were known for their engineering skills but they were also proficient in cartography. They created many detailed road maps that helped travelers navigate through their vast empire.

Roman cartographers understood the importance of accurate measurements and used various tools such as compasses and surveying instruments to create their maps.


In conclusion, maps have played an important role in human civilization since ancient times. From the earliest maps of Ancient Egypt to the detailed road maps of the Roman Empire, maps have helped people understand the world around them better and navigate through it more efficiently.

Today, we rely heavily on electronic maps and GPS systems but the importance of traditional cartography cannot be ignored. Maps are not just tools for navigation but also works of art that showcase the creativity and ingenuity of human beings.