Maps that talk...yes they exist. They are a talkative bunch with lots of stories to tell, and lemme tell you they are not exactly in short stock. Although I will be the first to confess, Biblical names, such as Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Bersheba and Agag - do not necessarily represent actually places which has survived the test of time, going back to the Biblical days. Though, some of them might (must) have been very close to these original places. That way, some of these examples, just might be the very place they are set to describe.
GW Colton (1886)
It is important to keep in mind the different languages the towns needed to survive through in order for the mapmakers (Dutch, French, English, Portuguese, etc.) to keep the original name they got either from the locals, or likelier still, from another map. And remember, the civilisation ruling and running the various ports at the time of the map being made, would have had first pick and held great influence on final map names and where in actuality ancient cities where located, no question ! You see what I am getting at... The ruler makes the rules... And history has had plenty of world spanning empires; Egypt, Babel, Greece (ancient, not modern), Romans and Muhammadans. Take your pick, they all controlled the most important harbours at one point, thereby controlling information and writing history books. Though, as we shall see, sometimes some of this information sneaks through the cracks...
Nuff said, lets dive !
1411 - This map is a classic, and I think one of the oldest ones to date that actually put The Garden of Eden down at the southernmost tip of Africa - Or in the East as the Bible so amply puts it. This really makes a person wonder. Did we, along with making the earth a snowball, also muddle up north, south, east and west? If you regard this map from the vantage point in 2nd image - it should really get the old nuggin` going... What else did we get wrong?
De Virgas Map (1411)
The Venetian cartographer Albertinus de Virga, we may think he was a cartographer but really this is just polite guesswork, we don`t know what he was. Traveler or wealthy businessman, either way he made this beauty of a map available around 1411, but probably this was much much sooner. And most certainly he got the place and names that can be seen (if you squint really hard) from another source of information. Which means, you got it. More maps had already been made, hence the copying of names had already begun. De Virga also made one more map of the Mediterranean before the World Map. Now, this map is now lost and get this it was owned by a `Jewish` family named Heidelberg at the end of the 1930s. But now the map is nowhere to be found. Which means we cant get a closer look at what other treasures it holds. The map includes, as with most things back in the day when they where able to discern and tell time, lunar changes and dates of Easter (according to the Roman-Catholic calendar we now live under, well you know).
De Virgas World Map (1411)
What is interesting about this map, are many things, it is oriented to the North, with something looking like a rose (wind rose) in the centre of Asia - which could be ties to the fabled city and city state Samarkand, which would be ancient Syria in terms of the ancient old Biblical locations. This rose or wind rose divides the map into eight sectors. It also has the zodiac signs and a table for lunar calculations (the phases of the moon). De Virga places Jerusalem (near todays modern day Jordan and Gorlan). The three continents are labeled Europa, Africa and Axia. The islands in the Indian Ocean are depicted and show styles similar to Arab trader maps. Which seem to be the source of most maps (an important point to make mention of). Muhammadans changed history through strict control of trading posts and cities all around the coastal lines of Africa (Alkebulan, what Arabs called it).
De Virgas Map (flat earth rendition)
Africa contains depictions of the Atlas mountains and the Nile River, but also includes Prester John (Pre. Joanes), a lengthy article for another time, who was situated somewhere in Æthiopia (old name for Africa). At the tip is a symbol of two concentric rings, which catches the eye of all looking at this map. And from these rings emerge four rivers mentioned in Genesis; Pishon, Gihon, Tigris and Euphrates.
So, just as the good book goes in Genesis 2,10-14:
"10 And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became four heads."
The first river is called Pishon :
11 The name of the first is Pishon; that is it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold;12 and the gold of that land is good; there is bdellium and the onyx stone.
The second river is called Gihon :
13 And the name of the second river is Gihon; the same is it that compasseth the whole land of Cush.
The third river is called Tigris & the forth is Euphrates :
14 And the name of the third river is Tigris; that is it which goeth toward the east of Asshur. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.
We should read it accordingly. What is truly interesting then is placing these rivers where De Virga says they are. This way puts Pishon and Gihon on the right, Tigris being the River Nile and Euphrates to the left through South Africa then Namibia. Which means Havilah, which encompasses South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland (eSwatini), Mozamibque, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana, Malawi an even Angola could be included (but also it may have gone farther, Tanzania, Kenya and The Congo). Might be why the text says the `Whole of Havilah`, eluding to its size, which must have been vast. So, to find the Garden of Eden, you have to follow The Four Rivers (Blue nile, white nile, red nile and yellow nile), from north to south. The Nile remains the same. All other rivers are contributories to the Nile River, such as Orange River (part of Red Nile), the same with Limpopo, Zambezi and Congo Rivers in Southern Africa.
If you read Josephus Antiquities of the Jews, he says Pishon is what the Greeks (Griquas, remember different people than the ones in the Mediterranean) called Ganges (Geon, Gehon) and was the Nile. Who knows. What certainly should be overlooked is the share number over fanciful theories placing these rivers of life and Creation in the middle of ancient Babylon. Goes to show you what most if not all of the academical scholars worship and will defend with their life, Garden of Eden being in dusty Iraq... Such a far fetched theory.
On a side note: All you have to do to poke one gigantic hole in in academics and other seemingly thinking people that say that places like Africa and America was discovered by so and so in recent times. They cannot explain away maps such as the Asian world map ! A map which Charlotte Harris Rees concludes must be over 4,000 years old. Take a good look, the coast of Africa, all of Europe, most islands, North and South America, Indonesia and even Oceania - they pretty much had it all mapped out. Makes you wonder, who was the people we now know as the Chinese in ancient times? What Biblical name did they have? Asiatics, Babylonians or are they the people of Kanaan forced to move when the Israelites was given the land and took it for themselves?
Back to De Virgas map which also describe Axia (Asia) and the Mongols (another Biblical people, who I am not certain), with Karakorum, along with names of Chinese rivers and cities (used by Marco Polo). Indian Oceans has Mimdar and Madar, with Sri Lanka and possibly Java and Japan. As for Europe, various places such as Ogama, Goga (Gog and Magog), Rotenia, Naia and Samolica are mentioned, also with a peninsula showing Norveca (Norway). Now, the story of this map is strange, as it was re-discovered in a second-hand bookshop in 1911 i Croatia by a man called Albert Figdor. Later it was analysed at the University of Vienna, a session from which the photographs we have today was taken. There are also stories that the map was retracted from an auction in Lucerne. Who knows for sure, and who cares really. If it wants to resurface it will.
1806 - Another map made by C. Brightly and J. Kinnersley, shows the Desert of Seth, in the middle of Africa (West). A source again borrowed from Thomas Kitchin (1718-94) and his map from 1790.
Brightly & Kinnersley (1806)
Kitchin was a very productive chap, and it it well known he borrowed (aka stole) from various map makers at the time, this is a practise of mimicking, something humans do very often and too well. repeating and holding on to tradition as it is some sacred thing. Geographical locations is not sacred, they might have been at one point, but now its all muddled up. These Kitchin maps (and those that came before) where the last time Seths Desert would appear on maps, because now its gone. Was West Africa occupied by the first families of the earth?
Uknown mapmaker (c.1530)
In a book called The Apocolypsis Moses, the progenitors of the first family mentioned in history had 30 children, whereas only three are written down by name in the Bible. Although, if you use another source, The Book of Jubilees, you get the names of five kids: Cain, Luluwa, Abel, Aklia and Seth. After the exit from Garden of Eden, Adam had to descend to a lower level of the holy mountain, and reside in the Cave of Treasuries, below Paradise on the western border. After Cain killed Abel, Eva prayed for a son, a righteous seed to replace Abel. Cain had by then descended the mountain and began populating the plains below, in the land of Eden. Scripture tells us he lived in a land called Nod the the East of Eden (Genesis 4,16). Hence, no land was given or named after Cain. However, Seth had a son named Cainan, and a large city could be found in the north of West Africa called Canem.
Unknown mapmaker (1727)
Now, if we have found Seth and can conclude where the Desert really is, can we now ask if Seths children did mingle with Cains children? In the olden days, places, cities and districts was named after Patriarchs and rulers, just like today. In this map, from 1727 (also in Sebastian Münster 1489-1552, `1554 map of Africa), we see North Africa, and Ammonis, which could be a reference to the Biblical Ammonites, children of Lot. And as we see, they are situated to the West of Egypt. This placement of Ammonis and what looks to be a very large city, in Johannes Honterus (1498-1549) map from 1552 (which record Babylon as being close by). But also more `recently` shown below in French cartographer Pierre du Val (1618-83) and his map from 1664.
Pierre du Val (1664)
The The First tribes (of Ntu, the first man) was commanded by So NiNi and successive generations not to come down to the holy mountain (which would be further South today) and mingle their seed with the children of Cain. But that didn`t pan out did it, and they went down from the mountain and as it where outside of So NiNis protection. It was under Jared (talking sixth generation from Ntu), that this intermingling took place (Genesis 5,18-20 ; 4,17-22) and intermarriage with Cains children happened.
Unknown mapmaker (1777)
Now, moving west, we find that the name Seth disappears from European maps of West Africa during the late eighteenth century (as can be seen in map on the right, from 1777). And modern territories such as formerly known Republic of Biafra located in the southeast, was dominated by the Igbos. The Eboue is a very interesting tribe that has kept many of the customs and traditions of Moses and could be a lost tribe of Jacob. The Biafra Republic sought their independence from Nigeria because of a conflict between Hausa-Fulani, this resulted in War lasting from 1967 to 1970, in defeat for the Igbo. After this war subsequent maps has had the name Biafra, that marked the Desert of Seth, removed from modern maps. And so the story goes, catching on yet?
If we move further inland, and further still moving closer to Southern Africa, we find the region or land of Agag in Jan Huyghen van Linschoten (1563-1611) and his map from 1596.
JH v. Linschoten (1596)
Agag as a place and region must have be considered a large space of land, as it is situated in several places in two different maps mind you. In Linschotens it is right above the great lake seen inland on the right, somewhat close to modern day Angola or just a little below the Congo and Angola. Interestingly you will also find both Nazere (Nazareth) and Harode (Herod) on this map. While Nazareth was somewhere along the Ivory Coast (Gabon) and the city of Herod was situated inland, towards the land of Agag, which also could have been in what we toady call Zaire, Zamiba, Malawi and or Zimbabwe (along with Congo and Angola).
WJ Blaeu (1635)
If we press on and also examine Willem Janszoon Blaeu (1571-1638) and his map from 1635, we will find two instances of Agag, one close to the modern day Congo and another further south and close to the ancient port of Sofala. All the more interesting with Blaeus map is that not only does it also include Agag, Herod and Nazareth, but down below a place called Bagame (Angola or South Africa), is shows the region called Gallila (know as Galiliee). Now if you whip up your Bible, and check Samuel 15, you will quickly see that AGAG was known as the sovereign of the Amalakites (Amaleq, descendant of Esau), and respectively is called a race of giants in the good book (Numbers 13,27-33). These references to giants are all over these ancient maps, as they was called man eaters...
Richard Blome (1669)
So, how could we have been mistaken about Africa, being called the great unknown for `enlightened` historians of Europe, all this time? Well, one reason lies in the inherited use of names, and one name in particular Ethiopia. Which was a name given very large parts of Africa. And this stuck well into the 17th century, and maps such as Richard Blome (1635-1705) from 1669, includes a lower Ethiopia, placed lower than what we now call the equator.
This trend is continued in Andreas Cellarius (c.1569-1665) map from 1706 (African Interior), with descriptions of Babylon very close to the Nile. At one point in time the Atlantic Ocean was called the Ethiopian Ocean. And if we go further back the Dead Sea, could very well turn out to be a description of water being dead, as in don`t drink the water or give it to plants , if you do you will dehydrate or your crop will die. That kind of dead sea, a sea with high salt content. Like the area around Port St Johns.
Now, the name Jerusalem, can be found many places in the world and as we shall see, it can be found several places in Africa. If you take a look at Adolf Stieler (1775-1836) map Das Capland from 1875, you will find a Jerusalem and not too far away Bethesda (but also Bethany).
This would put Jerusalem in the middle of wasteland Namibia, which is alluded in Scripture as something that would happen (it would be abandoned). George Washington Bacon (1830-1922) and his map from 1900 shows both Jerusalem and Gibeon in Southern Namibia, along with an area called Bethanien (Bethany) and Beersheba. Another interesting map, also by the American map maker George W. Bacon, shows the Transvaal (1890) and places Jericho, Hebron, Beersheba and Bethany in close vicinity to Johannesburg and Pretoria. The Maps are far to many to mention in one gulp, so below comes a non-exhaustive list of the mapmakers names, so you can do the research for yourself:
Traces like these, with Biblical names easy to find and are in abundance in old maps, however can even these be trusted? Have a look a the two maps below.
So, I have a few questions. What on earth is going on here? Where did all these cities, and towns go? They are most certainly not some bamboo huts and a few hottentots prancing around in the wilderness as Wikipedia suggests, but actual cities, and towns... what happened to them? Cities like Doldel, Augesa, Gebaghe, have disappeared, and where is Lake Sachaf? The names are obviously German, and shows actually places filled with actual people, what they mean is uncertain as this map is very rare and is quickly swept under the rug by historians. Below is another illustrious example of charting history as we know it sometimes being too ridiculous to even make mention.
The below Africae Tabula Nova (1560) by Abraham Ortelius (1527-98), shows that Africa was indeed not some distant exotic fairytale land, recently re-discovered like North or South America. Did they discover Lake Victoria in 1858? And not to mention the issue with Sahara, and how old it is (aint - check city of Timgad) and how these areas once (not too long ago) wash lush, green and filled to the brim with people. Yes, lots and lots of people. This leaves the one below, to be rather slim, wouldn`t you say?
Maps of old sure are puzzling, and many (most) of them cannot be trusted. Simple as that. One thing we can be certain of is this, something that made So NiNi say this about beloved Israel in Job 3,2:
"I will gather all the nations and bring them down to the valley of Jehoshaphat. Then I will enter into judgment with them there on behalf of My people and My inheritance, Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations; and they have divided up My land.”
Because by the turn of the 20th Century, Africa had been invaded, occupied, and colonised by several European nations. This has been know as The Scramble for Africa and did indeed slice the so-called Dark Continent like a big cake up for eating.
French map (1911)