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Maps from Walter Ralegh
The Historie of the World in Five Books
See catalogue no. 30

Walter Ralegh’s maps of the dispersion of peoples . Ralegh placed both the Garden of Eden and the Tower of Babel in Mesopotamia. From catalogue no.30, plates between pp. 152 & 153, respectively.

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These maps from Ralegh’s Historie of the World in Five Books (catalogue no. 30 ) show the situation of paradise, and the location of the Tower of Babel and the dispersion of peoples from it. They demonstrate the extent to which early modern readers of the Bible conceived of its stories as conveying geographical, historical, and ethnographical fact.

Several features of these maps are also notable in the context of catalogue numbers 46 to 50 and 83 to 86. Ralegh placed Eden in Babylonia, where the Tower of Babel was built. The map locating Babel clearly shows the dispersion of peoples, and indicates which modern races were eventually descended from the biblical patriarchs. Ralegh also equated Ararat with Taurus, a mountain in the Caucasus, and suggested that some of Shem’s descend ants (Ophir and Havilah) had set out for the east before Nimrod had settled in Shinar. Unlike Verstegan (catalogue no.48 ), Ralegh traced the ancestry of the inhabitants of England through the Cimbri, descendants of Gomer’s son Javan, rather than of Ashkenaz. This was a common choice for the ancestry of the English during the seventeenth century, not least because it allowed the option of accepting the legend that Trojan exiles had been the first to people the country.

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