Great Maps: Ptolemy to Joan Blaeu

Map of Venice, Jacopo de' Barbari, 1500 (Image: Wikipedia)
Jerry Brotton's Great Maps, which I casually picked up today, made for a very fascinating read. Offering an insightful look at cartography over the ages, Brotton explores more than 50 maps in detail, right from the very first world maps to the latest digital maps like Google Maps and Google Earth that we use to get around, but what struck me the most were Ptolemy's World Map (AD 150), Jacopo de' Barbari's Map of Venice (1500), Gerard Mercator's Nova et Aucta Orbis Terrae Descriptio ad Usum Navigantium Emendate Accommodata (1569) and Joan Blaeu's Nova et Accuratissima Terrarum Orbis Tabula (1648). Incredibly detailed and indescribably beautiful, particularly de' Barbari's spectacular woodcut aerial view of Venice, calling them great would be an understatement; game-changing is more like it!