“Theatrum Orbis Terrarum”
In 1570 the world’s first geographical atlas “Theatrum Orbis Terrarum” was published for the first time. A revolutionary set of maps and geographical information covering the known and existing world was unified all in one atlas by Abrahamus Ortelius. The idea of the world as theater became “viral”. Who would have said that several years later, in 1599, William Shakespeare would build the Globe Theater:
All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts.
“As You Like It”, by William Shakespeare
It’s amazing how maps fascinate humanity. It is incredible how the map carries meanings that go far beyond the mere description of the physical world, its mountains and seas.
In these days my son reviewed the Italian regions. It’s a pity that the geography consists in repeating the names of the mountains, capitals, rivers, etc. It’s amazing instead seeing my son fascinated by looking at the map of a region and rediscovering the places of a journey and their spatial relationships with other places. Taking a look at a map always starts from one’s own experience, which inevitably enriches the lived experience with meanings that go well beyond the simple visual perception or the sad notionism of Italian school geography.
The representation of the earth and the phenomena that occur on it have always brought something incredible behind it. They have also greatly influenced humanity. Not only science but above all human and religious thought. The map represents the dynamism of humanity.