The cartography of the region of Palestine, also known as cartography of the Holy Land and cartography of the Land of Israel, is the creation, editing, processing and printing of maps of the region of Palestine from ancient times until the rise of modern surveying techniques. For several centuries during the Middle Ages it was the most prominent subject in all of cartography, and it has been described as an "obsessive subject of map art".
The history of the mapping of Palestine is dominated by two cartographic traditions: the biblical school and the classical school. The earliest surviving maps of the biblical tradition derive from the attempts of the early Church Fathers to identify and illustrate the primary locations mentioned in the Bible, and to provide maps for Christian pilgrimage. The earliest surviving maps of the classical tradition derive from the scientific and historical works of the Greco-Roman world. Many Graeco-Roman geographers described the Palestine region in their writings; however, there are no surviving pre-modern originals or copies of these maps – illustrations today of maps according to geographers such as Hecataeus, Herodotus or Eratosthenes are modern reconstructions. The earliest surviving classical maps of the region are Byzantine versions of Ptolemy's 4th Asia map. Cartographic history of Palestine thus begins with Ptolemy, whose work was based on that of the local geographer Marinus of Tyre; the European rediscovery of Ptolemy's works in the 1400s ended the domination of the biblical tradition.
The first lists of maps of the region were made in the late 19th century, by Titus Tobler in his 1867 Geographical Bibliography of Palestine and subsequently by Reinhold Röhricht in his 1890 Geographical Library of Palestine. In a series of articles in the Journal of the German Association for the Study of Palestine between 1891 and 1895, Röhricht presented the first detailed analysis of maps of the region in the middle- and the late Middle Ages. They were followed in 1939-40 by Hans Fischer's History of the Cartography of Palestine. The article lists maps that progressed the cartography of region before the rise of modern surveying techniques, showing how mapmaking and surveying improved and helped outsiders to better understand the geography of the area. Imaginary maps and copies of existing maps are excluded.
The earliest known copy, pictured here, is the Codex Vaticanus Urbinas Graecus 82, thought to be from a manuscript of Ptolemy's Geography assembled by Maximus Planudes in Constantinople c. 1300. Ptolemy's map is considered the "prototype delineation" of the region.
The large red letters in the center say in Greek: Παλαιστινης or Palaistinis.
The earliest known copy is from 1150, the "Tournai map of Asia", shown here. The map comes from a manuscript of Jerome's De situ et nominibus locorum Hebraeorum, which Jerome states is a copy of Eusebius's Onomasticon. Jerome also explains that Eusebius composed a map which showed the divisions of the Twelve Tribes; no copy of this division has survived.
The earliest map of Palestine surviving in its original form, and the oldest known geographic floor mosaic in art history. The mosaic was discovered in 1884, but no research was carried out until 1896. It has been heavily used for the localisation and verification of sites in Byzantine Palaestina Prima. It is the earliest surviving map showing the divisions of the Twelve Tribes.
Labels Greek: οροι Αιγυπτου και Παλαιστινης, oroi Aigyptou kai Palaistinis, the "border of Egypt and Palestine".
Known as the "Anglo-Saxon" world map. The earliest known map of the world (rather than just the region) showing the divisions of the Twelve Tribes. Thought to be based on the map of Orosius, which is no longer extant.
Created in c.1250, thought to be by Matthew Paris
The Kishon River has the following text along it: Latin: Iste torrens q[ui] parvus est, dividit Siriam a palestinam, i[d est] terram sactam q[ue] est versus austrum et palestinam que est versus aquilonem, lit. 'This river, which is small, divides Syria from Palestine, that is, the Holy Land, which is to the south, and Palestine, which is to the North.'
Published in the Rudimentum Novitorium it was a version of Ptolemy's map, brought up to date. Together with three updated maps of European countries, Adolf Erik Nordenskiöld described it as the "first germ of modern cartography"
Named "Palestina Moderna et Terra Sancta" (Modern Palestine and the Holy Land)
The caption "Candido lectori s[alus]. Palestinam hanc..." translates as: "Fair reader, greeting! We have drawn this map of Palestine, and the Hebrews' route into it from Egypt through the stony regions of Arabia"
1570 map in Theatrum Orbis Terrarum.  Ortelius's depiction of a biblical Palestine in his otherwise contemporary atlas has been criticized; Matari described it as an act "loaded with theological, eschatological, and, ultimately, para-colonial Restorationism".
Captioned "Palaestinae Sive Totius Terrae Promissionis Nova Descriptio" ("Palestine, the whole of the Promised Land, a new description")
This 1732 copy of the map by Ottoman geographer Kâtip Çelebi (1609–57) is from the first printed atlas in the Ottoman Empire, and represented the first detailed mapping of the Asian provinces of the empire.
Shows the term ارض فلسطين ("Land of Palestine") extending vertically down the length of the Jordan River.
Originally prepared during the French campaign in Egypt and Syria; 47 sheets were prepared, with the Palestine area being covered by sheets 43-47. The first triangulation-based map of Palestine, it was used as the basis for many most maps of the region until the PEF Survey in the 1870s. It is considered flawed, primarily since it included a significant number of incorrect or imagined details, which had been “added to the map ad libitum where the French had not been able to survey.”
The first modern printed atlas in the Ottoman Empire, part of the Nizam-I Cedid reforms of Sultan Selim III, showing Ottoman Syria in the 1803. Considered to be based on the d'Anville 1794 map (published in William Faden's General Atlas), it contained important adaptations to represent Ottoman geographic representations of the provinces.
Shows the term "ارض فلاستان" ("Land of Palestine") in large script on the bottom left.
The first British army survey, carried out during the Oriental Crisis of 1840. It represented the second modern, triangulation-based, attempt at surveying Palestine. It was not published at the time; although a private printing for the British Foreign Office was produced in 1846, and it was used in the creation of Van de Velde's map.
Shows the Ottoman administrative districts in detail, made for the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge. Hughes had been producing popular maps of Palestine for almost a decade, notably in his 1840 Illuminated Atlas of Scripture geography.
Published in 1858. One of the most accurate maps published prior to the PEF Survey.
The Holy Land
Leves en Galilee
Jean-Joseph Mieulet and Isidore Derrien
A follow-up to a map of Lebanon. It was intended to be the first part of a complete coverage of Palestine, but the expedition was recalled to France at the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian war. It was published in 1873.
^Laor 1986, p. XI quote: "Cartography in the Middle Ages was generally of poor quality, with the exception of the cartography of the Holy Land, which reached a peak both in quality and quantity. For several centuries, the Holy Land was the most important and prominent subject of mapmaking.
^Wood 2010, p. 232: "In fact, the mapping of Palestine is a paradigm of the history of mapmaking; but since it’s also the object of counter-mapping and counter-counter-mapping, and an obsessive subject of map art, it makes a uniquely trenchant example around which to review the arguments of this book."
^Wilson, Nigel Guy (2006). "Cartography". Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece. Psychology Press. p. 145. ISBN978-0-415-97334-2. As geographical knowledge improved, various writers recorded what they believed to be the spatial relationships of territories and peoples to each other, and it is from this information that many modern historical atlases present items such as the world according to Hecataeus or Herodotus or Eratosthenes: actual ancient versions of these maps do not survive (indeed, modern versions seem to originate in the 1883 volumes of Bunbury), although there do exist Byzantine versions of Ptolemy’s maps.
^Leo Bagrow, “The Origin of Ptolemy's Geographia.” Geografiska Annaler, vol. 27, 1945, pp. 318–387. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/520071; p.331, “Hecataeus of Milet… Herodotus… Dicaearchus of Messina… Crates of Mallos… Hipparchus… Posidonius of Apamea… Marinus of Thyre… All these maps before Ptolemy have, naturally, not come down to us.”
^Nebenzahl 1986, p. 8: "Cartography as we know it today begins with this spectacular map of the world at the time of Claudius Ptolemy. It sets the stage for the history of mapping the Holy Land... his work was to become the model for scientific cartography during the great revivals of mapmaking: the tenth-century Golden Age of Islam and the European Renaissance. The rediscovery of Ptolemy in the fifteenth century was particularly important for maps of the Holy Land; it ended the almost complete domination of mapmaking by Church dogma throughout the Middle Ages... Around AD 150 he produced his Geographia, the earliest known atlas of the world.".
^Nebenzahl 1986, p. 2: "The Madaba mosaic, the earliest surviving original map of the area and the first to show the Twelve Tribes of Israel"
^North 1979, p. 85: "Certainly it is the oldest map of Palestine now existing in the form in which it was first produced"
^Piccirillo, Michele (September 21, 1995). "A Centenary to be celebrated". Jordan Times. Franciscan Archaeology Institute. Retrieved 18 January 2019. It was only Abuna Kleofas Kikilides who realised the true significance, for the history of the region, that the map had while visiting Madaba in December 1896. A Franciscan friar of ltalian-Croatian origin born in Constantinople, Fr. Girolamo Golubovich, helped Abuna Kleofas to print a booklet in Greek about the map at the Franciscan printing press of Jerusalem. Immediately afterwards, the Revue Biblique published a long and detailed historic-geographic study of the map by the Dominican fathers M.J. Lagrange and H. Vincent after visiting the site themselves. At the same time. Father J. Germer-Durand of the Assumptionist Fathers published a photographic album with his own pictures of the map. In Paris, C. Clermont-Gannau, a well known oriental scholar, announced the discovery at the Académie des Sciences et belles Lettres.
^ abBaumgärtner, Ingrid. "Burchard of Mount Sion and the Holy Land," Peregrinations: Journal of Medieval Art and Architecture 4, 1 (2013): 5-41. : "Burchard’s description, although little studied even today, is considered a key document that influenced the perception of Palestine in both text and image, in travel accounts and maps until far into the sixteenth century."
Fischer, Hans (1939). "Geschichte Der Kartographie Von Palästina" [History of the Cartography of Palestine (part 1)]. Zeitschrift des Deutschen Palästina-Vereins. 62 (4): 169–189. JSTOR27930237.
—— (1940). "Geschichte Der Kartographie Von Palästina (Fortsetzung Und Schluß)" [History of the Cartography of Palestine (continuation and conclusion)]. Zeitschrift des Deutschen Palästina-Vereins. 63 (1): 1–111. JSTOR27930252. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
Karmon, Yehuda (1960). "An Analysis of Jacotin's Map of Palestine". Israel Exploration Journal. 10 (3): 155–173. JSTOR27924824. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
Kalner, David (1941). "The Development of the Topographical Maping of Palestine / התפתחות המפות הטופוגראפיות של ארץ ישראל". Bulletin of the Jewish Palestine Exploration Society / ידיעות החברה העברית לחקירת ארץ-ישראל ועתיקותיה. ט' (א'): 33–38. JSTOR23724373. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)