During the last weeks the Classical Greece map progressed well and I could finish Cyprus and Troas while making progress in Thrace. Recently, a new book arrived, The Archaeology of Lydia. In the long term it should be a very valuable addition to my private library, while helping me to finish the Classical Greece map in the coming weeks. With the completion of this map in sight, it’s time again to think about future projects.
Within the next months I will probably run out of the old Sardis Verlag Dawn of the Classical World prints. Thus the time has come to prepare a new edition. I haven’t yet decided about what kind of improvements I want and can make to the map. As I stated already elsewhere, I was never completely happy with Dawn of the Classical World and even thought about a complete redesign. However, with the Classical Greece map now covering a large part of the old map in more detail and the Bronze Age project still to complete and will limit myself to an evolutionary approach. During the last 4 years since the map’s release I could collect a large amount of new literature and already made a number of additions to my source files. As for all of my maps all canvas- and other custom made prints are based on the latest version of each map.
Dawn of the Classical World depicts the ancient world in about 500 BCE. At this point, 2500 years ago, the oldest historical records, like the Narmer Palette, already went back for another 2500 years. Thus, at least in the middle east, half of history had already unfolded itself. A few decades earlier Nabonidus, the last Babylonian king before the Persian conquest, was leading archaeological excavations to enable him to restore the ancient sanctuaries of his country according to their original plans. The king’s men were digging in ruins over 1700 years old, the same time span that has passed between our era and the reign of Roman emperor Constantine.
The Bronze Age and it’s early civilizations is one era that has always caught my imagination and special interest. While the legacy of the Roman Empire is still a daily part of our lives through many elements, like the Latin alphabet, the romance languages, the Pope’s seat or the continual existence of most of it’s cities, the world of the Bronze Age has became not much more than an distant echo in the cultural memory of our times.
Yet, these memories, the myths and legends from a long gone era, like the Iliad or the biblical stories of Nimrod and the Exodus, are what still captures the imagination of countless people.
It is the history of the first civilizations, with their religions and worlds of ideas still deeply rooted in times before the advent of highly complex societies, grown without the influence of thousands of years of older predecessor city based cultures.
For my next project I will go back to this long gone era. My main focus, and planned release for 2020, will be to finally finish the Bronze Age DIN A0 map. Now already three years ago, my map of Ancient Egypt was a first, big step towards this goal. However, it will still require a lot of work and research, thus I can’t give any realistic estimates when the map will be finished.
The map’s time frame will be the later part of the 13th century BCE. Based on similar thoughts as when I chose the date for Imperium Romanum 211 AD, the map will effectively show the end of the beginning. In 1250 BCE, the today most well known actors of their time had reached their zenith, New Kingdom Egypt of Ramesses II, Mycenaean Greece, the Hittite Empire. A zenith that shouldn’t last for long. At the century’s end the great Late Bronze Age collapse had begun, their achievements faded into the realm of myths and legends, the following Dark Ages and transition to Iron age should create the base for the world of classical antiquity.
The first thing to to will be to rebuild the map in QGIS 3, since the old QGIS 2 project files are crashing the newer version. Then the geography, adding and removing lakes and rivers, changing the coastlines where appropriate. For the Aegean region some of the research done for the ancient Greece map can be reused. To reconstruct the landscape in 1250 BCE Mesopotamia I have to take into account the changed courses of rivers and their respective fertile zones, as well as the regression of the Persian Gulf’s coastline due to material deposited by Euphrates and Tigris.
I expect that I will be able to share some progress report about one month after the Classical Greece map is released.