Saturday, 27 March 2010

Chess, one of 100 objects, Northern Sea Trading Routes, India and Persia ...

Checkmate – that finality in a game of chess .. the call of the young child .. ‘I beat you’ ‘checkmate’! I could never master chess properly – sufficiently to play – but almost always to be beaten quite easily – how about you?

The British Museum, that bastion of a house of treasure, holds in its collections seven million objects from around the world, originating from all continents, illustrating and documenting the story of human history and culture from its beginning to the present.

It was established in 1753, largely based on the collections of the physician and scientist Sir Hans Sloane as a “universal museum”; Sir Hans had, over the course of his lifetime, amassed an enviable “collection of curiosities”, and not wishing to see his collection broken up after his death he bequeathed it to King George II, for the nation, for the princely sum of £20,000.
Above: The Lewis Chessmen in the British Museum from the 12th century most of which are carved in walrus ivory

Guests from Overseas, 1901 (Varangians in Russia) Nicholas Roerich [Varangians: northern peoples travelling east; more likely to be known as Vikings with their seafaring ventures westwards]

I just love way the history of the Museum has been described: The Foundation – logical, I agree, with Sloane’s 71,000 objects, to which the King added two libraries .. the Cottonian Library dating back to Elizabethan times; the collection of the Earls of Oxford and finally by the Royal Library: these four “foundation collections” included many of the most treasured books now in the British Library, including the Lindisfarne Gospels and the sole surviving copy of Beowulf.

What an amazing start to what is an incredible institution today .. The "Cabinet of Curiosities" was the next part in its development (1753 – 1778), whereby the Trustees decided it needed a permanent home: the book collection continued, but now the first antiquities of note were being gifted to this "Cabinet of Curiosities". The next part is known as “Indolence and Energy” (1778 – 1800) , when exploration was really happening,with the round the world voyages of Captain James Cook, amongst others. Despite the "Indolence", the collection “grew like Topsy” with the "Energies" of those intrepid 18th and 19th century explorers.

I digress though! Back to today and the BBC and the British Museum’s collaboration and decision to select 100 objects from this huge collection. They have been selected to cover the broadest possible chronological and geographical period, and tell a history of the world from two million years ago to the present day. The 100 programmes being broadcast by the BBC throughout the year: bbc.co.uk/ahistoryof theworld/ (It opens with flash - hence no link)
Ivory label depicting Den smiting an enemy; British Museum – King Den 4th Egyptian King of the First Dynasty (period 3050 - 2890BC)

I heard a BBC history podcast by the Curator of the Museum explaining this venture where one of the objects selected to be explained was the first recorded Christian chess set piece of a Bishop, discovered in 1831 on the Isle of Lewis, in the Outer Hebrides, Scotland. Other items, not discussed, but which are included in this exhibition are a Chinese Jade Axe, a Neolithic Food Vessel, the Rhind Mathematical Papyrus, dated to around 1650 BC, King Den’s Ivory Sandal Label, all of which can be viewed on the BBC’s 'A History of the World' site.

This Bishop chess piece was made in the 12th century out of walrus ivory, which then begged the question why was it made of walrus and not of elephant ivory; this has not been answered .. and the question remains – why did the elephant ivory trade stop, apparently suddenly?

The Bishop is included because it confirms various things relative to the object itself, as well as to explanations about the world at that time. Chess, “The game of Kings”, is thought to have originated in North-West India in the early 300 – 550 AD period; at that stage it was known for the four divisions of the military – infantry (pawns), cavalry (knights), elephants (bishops) and chariotry (rooks or castles). The Muslim world took the game up after the Islamic conquest of Persia (633 – 644 AD).
ros marus piscis (sea horse) in Carta Marina (Walrus)

The game then quickly spread along the Mediterranean trading routes, reaching Spain and Portugal, with various language name changes along the way – Persian, Greek, Spanish and Portuguese: the Persian shah (“king”), which was familiar as an exclamation, subsequently became the English word “check”, and ultimately “chess”.

The game reached Western Europe and Russia by at least three routes, the earliest being in the 9th century and by the year 1,000 the game had spread throughout Europe, and was actually described in a 13th century manuscript, The Libro de los Juegos, (“Book of Games”) [chess, dice and tables] in old Spanish completed in Alfonso X’s scriptorium in Toledo in 1283.
Knights Templar playing chess, Libro de los juegos, 1283

Walruses are only found in the Arctic circumpolar area, and have played a prominent role in the many indigenous Arctic peoples, who have hunted them for their meat, fat, skin, tusks and bone for many thousands of years. The name ‘walrus’ may have come from the Dutch words ‘walvis’ (whale) and ‘ros’ (horse); while the archaic English word for walrus – morse – is widely supposed to have come from the Slavic, and from this similar words in Russian, Polish, Finnish, French, Spanish, Romanian etc! So the walrus too has international connections.

People have been living in the Trondheim region for millennia, while in more recent times – a thousand years ago! – the Viking kings used the port of Trondheim as a northern seafaring military base and as the capital of Norway. Trondheim is not marked here but is to be found just above the left (west) of the name ‘Norway’ as shown on the map .. in the orange knitting bouncing down the coast! I’m not sure what the Vikings would have thought of their trading route being described this way?!

Map showing the major Varangian trade routes: the Volga trade route (in red) and the Trade Route from the Varangians to the Greeks (in purple). Other trade routes of the eighth–eleventh centuries shown in orange.
We can see from this map the various trading routes in early days when river and sea routes were component parts of moving goods around. Also depicted are the main connection links – across to China, to India, into the Byzantine Empire (including Persia) and west along the Mediterranean countries and coasts, even crossing to Africa, where there was a major trade route across the Sahara Desert.

So to find carved walrus ivory chess pieces on the islands of Scotland would not have been too unusual, considering the Viking trading routes from Trondheim to Scotland and on to Dublin, but it is the Bishop’s connection confirming the power and spread of Christianity since its early foray into Britain in the 4th century and the fact that that the Islamic game of chess had spread across the known world confirming and highlighting these different trading routes. Probably the actual game of chess came after the spread of carvings became popular as trading items or religious keepsakes.

It was interesting to hear the curator’s introduction to this BBC series and then to piece the idea together regarding the Christian Bishop chess piece and the reasons why it was selected as one of the hundred objects. Our ancients’ world is fascinating to cobble together, so we can get to grip with some of its knitting!

Dear Mr Postman – it does make a difference being a little warmer, though Spring is taking its time – they do say we should have a brilliantly coloured, rich and full burst of nature to announce its actual arrival – which will be glorious to look at. We’re still settling in .. but my mother is fine, weaker inevitably .. she’s just very grateful for company, holding hands and being peaceful.

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

48 comments:

Journaling Woman said...

I love chess sets and the idea of playing chess and yet I have not learned the game. But, my eldest grandson is learning. He is going to chess club every Tuesday morning. In a age where technolgy steals the attention of all, I like that he is learning a board game.

Betsy Wuebker said...

Hi Hilary - How fascinating to read about the provenance of the Bishop chesspiece and confirm the far-ranging travels of the Norsemen. They are said to have reached Minnesota, too, as evidenced by the Kensington Runestone, an artifact unearthed here a century ago about which scholars have been arguing ever since.

The British Museum sounds very much like our Smithsonian Institution - collections, archives, curiosities and items that are indicative of their time in the nation's/world's history.

A very good read to start my day, thanks!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Teresa .. they can be exquisite can't they .. some fo the carvings are just lovely. Perhaps you can give your grandson a run for his money - Wikipedia seemed to give some ideas?! I was taught point scoring for bridge, but they seem to do it for chess .. I'll have to have a look more closely one day!

We were lucky - and were taught board games, card games etc .. they stand you in good stead for all sorts of things - grandchildren!!

Good for your grandson .. he could teach you?! Thanks for being here .. have a good weekend -Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Betsy ... lovely word ‘provenance’ .. thank you! I was so interested listening to the podcast that I had to find out a little more. I haven’t heard of the Kensington Runestone – I must have a look .. interesting – yes I saw the controversy element.

I’m sure the Smithsonian Institution is similar in its collections et al .. which would also be very interesting to visit – and of course now we get a number of exhibitions, which allow us to concentrate on a particular collection, and be able to read and see more in the media or on the net – perhaps getting a fuller picture than just with a visit and a general visitor’s knowledge. Living at this time we’re lucky.

Delighted you enjoyed the visit – and am sure your day is continuing along its good start ... – all the best Hilary

Joanne said...

Some of the carved Chess pieces are seriously artwork in their own right! I'm fascinated watching people play Chess, but never learned the game. I'm more a Checkers player myself :)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Joanne .. yes .. carving and art are so beautiful - exquisite to look at and to feel. Checkers we learnt too .. we know it as draughts - a lovely game to play particularly as kids .. thanks for being here - all the best - Hilary

arlee bird said...

That was a fascinating look at something I've never known about. I enjoy hearing about origins and connections. I've never been a chess player--each time I've played the game has to be re-expained to me and I've just never caught on. Maybe someday if I ever have someone to play with.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Lee .. just very glad that you found the information so interesting. Me too - just love putting the pieces together and finding out some more about our human and world heritage.

Chess .. is one of those games we need play and play for a few months - before we get it. I really can hardly play - against a young child perhaps .. but I'd still lose!!

Have a good weekend .. Hilary

heph said...

nice post, I also like playing chess

Megan "JoyGirl!" Bord said...

Hilary, I'm with you on chess --- I could always play, but was almost always beat. (By my brother... ugh!) I actually preferred checkers because it moved faster!

What an interesting account of history; you took me right back to grade school when we learned about the trading routes, what was traded, why, the power certain empires had b/c of trade routes. Thank you! I feel both intellectually refreshed and young again as I read your words.

Wishing you and your mother a beautiful day (evening, now, as I type this comment)!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Heph .. thanks for visiting - glad you like chess. All the best - Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Megan .. thank you - another sister being beaten! Me too - draughts as we call it.

Glad you were taken back .. at least you learnt about the trade routes - I suppose I did .. but I've learnt so much more recently! Frightening how little I know ... just happy 'to teach' us all ..

Thanks for the thought re the evening - long daylight now - bliss! It could do with being a little warmer!! Have a good week yourself - all the best Hilary

Paul C said...

This is a wonderful introduction to the British Museum, a destination I hope to get to soon. And the 100 objects focus sounds fascinating!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Paul .. thank you very much - it's a wonderful place .. just glad I gave you a brief overview - very brief .. as I was writing it - I thought I should do a whole post on the Museum. The 100 objects is really interesting .. I hope to get up to see the exhibition.

I'm sure you'll enjoy your visit there .. in your travels, which you're obviously enjoying - your Italian trip sounded wonderful ..

Thanks for being here - Hilary

J.D. Meier said...

I always have a sweet spot for chess. While I never turned into a chessboard collector, I did end up getting a Fred Flintstone one.

I wonder who has to keep a count of all those pieces in the museum ... I'd hate to lose count and have to start all over :)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi JD .. thought you might be a chess player with your Microsoft connections. Fred Flintstone chess set - good marketing ploy?!

Horrible thought about making a count mistake at 6.5million - yes too ghastly. I suppose as long as the computer doesn't crash .. all should be well now? Talk about learning about categorising and sub categories ..the referencing must be enormous. Thanks for this thought .. interesting ..

All the best - Hilary

BK said...

Chess? I have never really invested the time to learn about chess and have yet to be good at it. The only time when I was playing chess was with my grandfather many years ago. However, the chess we were playing was Chinese Chess; just similar to the one you mentioned.

I like the idea of brilliant colours coming up; it will certainly be very beautiful.

Always sending positive thoughts to you and your mother.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi BK .. interesting what you say about Chinese Chess - that you actually played it .. and that it's similar to chess as we know it: I have to say I'd never heard of it before .. but the history of chess etc makes sense & the chinese connections also .. there was lots more collaborative trade across continental Asia and Europe than we supposed.

Re the colours .. I definitely spoke too soon - we're in for a terrible cold snap. This year really has been miserably cold.

Many thanks for your positive thoughts to us both .. - we're always grateful and they bring a smile to my mother .. so she is happy - hugs from across the world! Thank you .. Hilary

janice | Sharing the Journey said...

What an interesting post! To lower the tone a bit, we watched the two Night at The Museum DVD's with the kids at the weekend, and the thought of what might come to life in a museum, and what we could learn from talking exhibits, is both terrifying and intriguing. Thank you for always taking me on fascinating wee trips through time and space.

Hope your mum's enjoying the spring.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Janice .. thank you! Always good to have your thoughts. Yes - I saw that a while ago on the tv .. and thought it was quite amusing. I'm just staggered at how much information we have stored away in museums and we haven't a clue about practically all of it! Let alone the books holding the information - thank goodness for researchers I guess and people who let us know about this wealth of info.

Just glad you like your wee trips and it's always good to see you.

Spring - wrong day to say that isn't it - you're going to get a brunt of a cold northern blast with more snow - too much. Thank you for the thought re Mum .. all the best Hilary

Sara said...

Hilary -- When I visit my daughter, we always try to go the British Museum. I've been over the pond many times and still have barely touched the many exhibits in this museum. Thanks for writing this post and letting us know about the collaboration between the BBC and the Museum.

I hope spring has sprung where you are:~)

Mama Zen said...

This sounds like a fascinating series!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Sara .. definitely don’t come over now! it’s about to get freezing again! Can’t believe it – just came across some photos of us sitting outside at 30 deg C for a Mother’s Day lunch on 30 March a few years ago (seven maybe) .. incredible change of temperature .. year to year.

Glad you enjoy visiting the British Museum .. amazing place – or places .. Natural History Musuem, British Library et al .. it’s really interesting .. perhaps when you’re next here .. there must be a book .. I haven’t seen it yet.

So don’t come now!! about to get a burst of snow etc .. miserable cold – this winter is too depressing for anything .. – however the flowers are coming out, but bashed in the rain .. cold big drops .. not nice! April showers – they say, but we’re in March!!

Come when it’s warmer – see you sometime then .. enjoy Easter time .. Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Mama Zen - thank you for coming over and good to see you .. the 100 objects will, I'm sure, be so interesting .. I've been tied up .. but I'll catch up later on! I hope.

We do 'do culture and tradition' so well over here .. - enjoy your week with the family .. Hilary

Chase March said...

I play chess every day. I'm not very good at it but it's nice to play against my family and friends.

I play at chesscorner.net and it is very easy to use. I like how you can sign on and make a move without your opponent having to be online at the same time. There is also a little message board there so you can chat back and forth.

I hardly ever email my brother but we chat under the chess game often. It's a nice way to stay in touch and have a friendly game at the same time.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Chase .. gosh - what a way to go .. chess on the net. Occasionally I think of a game - but then back off ... time is rather precious.

How great that you can play with your brother and keep in touch via the mail mechanism underneath .. good way to go ..

Enjoy your games .. and have fun - Hilary

Mark said...

Love the back story of such a great and challenging game. Chess is a great teacher for it helps us to understand to look well beyond our next step and to consider the next 10 or so steps and where this one step may lead us.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Mark .. thank you for enjoying the history/ back story ... yes - I'm sure you're right .. it's the military tactic .. checking out your back and your front - to plan and be ready for all things .. good to know!

Thanks for coming over - good to see you ... Hilary

Evelyn Lim said...

Fascinating read. I don't play chess but my children love the game. I enjoy looking at the pictures of chess though. I didn't realize that there can be so much history and heritage to this game.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Evelyn .. thank you and glad to hear your children enjoy the game - the exquisite carvings made in times past are truly amazing, and it's so wonderful they've survived for us to see.

Nor did I - and isn't it great that we can learn about that history and tradition for so many things in this modern life of ours.

Good to see you - enjoy the Easter break .. Hilary

Tess said...

Hi Hillary,
I don't play anything intellectual and that's how I think of chess. My grandson learned how to play as well and I think it's a nice switch from computer and TV as well.

Happy Spring and love to mom!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Tess .. you certainly radiate intellectual skill .. but it seems to be a game we learn as kids .. and you were exceedingly busy then. Glad to hear your grandson is playing and has something different to interest him ..

Same to you re the Spring .. and thanks for the love to my Ma .. she seems quiet, which is the main thing ..

Blue Bunny said...

my jannie so crying becuase she wants to see a big muzeem wit a fansie collecshun of 100 speshull thigns too.

but my jannie wil get ovir it. and wil be fine. evenshually.

we dont play chess, but i am the champions of chekkers in our house. but not from wallriss, just plastik chips.

from a blue bunny wot lovs yoo.
xoxo

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Blue Bunny .. good to see you - been having a few beers with your Jannie? They havz zo many vings - spect they've got a bunny or two - sertnly zum human beings .. The 100 speshull thingumy things too ..

Hops zee Jannie don't taks too long en don't cries too muchly ..

Chekkers .. good Kelly game, just plastik chips .. potatoes chippies ar bettr ..

Tank you BB .. Hardwick sends his Easter luvs to you all too .. and big hugs from us .. Mum and I - Easter bunny time - what joys .. Spring cometh .. bunnies everywhere .. but ONLY ONE BLUE BUNNY .. Austin style .. xoxoxo

Davina said...

Hi Hilary.
My favourite part of geography was map making. I remember our teacher showing us the proper technique to use for colouring maps with coloured pencils. Since that day, my eyes can get lost, wandering over pictures of maps. I especially enjoyed the "(sea horse) in Carta Marina" that you've used here.

And chess... I used to play and quite enjoyed it.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Davina .. thanks for popping over .. I loved geography .. not sure I really remembered maps - but now I love to connect & hate not knowing where and when things happened .. have to date it, show the route etc -

Like you I loved the sea horse .. Carta Marina .. I found it when I looked for walrus .. I hadn't realised they were only northern hemisphere creatures either ..

& chess - well I'd guess we'd have a fun game - watching the spider outside the balcony, and having a glass of vino .. game - well we'd be entertained!!

Have a good weekend & happy birthday .. hugs Hilary

Patricia said...

I am so mediocre at chess but my cousins all thought I was a great "warm up" player for the challenge of Jeffery the champion. I did not know so many things about the pieces.

I spent 3 days in various museums in London while there and just loved the collections...and yes it made me think of how much I wanted to visit the Smithsonian in the USA.

Hope you have a lovely Easter and spring pushes forward on its arrival.
Thank you for sharing.

Barb Hartsook said...

Play chess? Let's just say I know the basic moves, bought a book in 2002 from Usborne, when my grandkids came along, and left a wooden set out on a library-style table for any and all who wanted to play. (We've always had games around, so this is nothing new.) I can play well enough to pass an hour... without much strategy, however.

In the book I bought, The Usborne Internet-Linked Complete Book of Chess, I learned a great deal about the game. The pieces and their values, strategies from openings, through defenses, to the endgames. Grandmasters and their particular games, the history of Chess from across the world.

Something of interest from the book that I thought of when I read Chase March's comment above:
"At the start of a game, White has 20 possible moves. Black has 20 possible responses to each of White's possible moves, making a total of 400 possibilities, just for the first two moves. By end of White's second move, there are 8,000 different possible positions.

Within ten moves, there are trillions of positions for the computer to evaluate. This is why chess-playing computers need extremely powerful processors."

Of course the book is 8 years old, and technology has advanced exponentially in that time. Still.....

In a shopping area east of me there's a little store with just chess sets. That's it. Boy are some of them gorgeous! And expensive. :)

Your history lessons delight me!

P.S. Sounds like your mum is doing well at home with you???

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Patricia .. I’m sure as kids, and as adults, we’re all sounding boards for various games – way of learning and then finding out we’re not so good at that particular one – eg chess.

Glad to hear you were able to spend some time in the museums on your visit to London – there’s so much to see, as I’m sure you found out. I’d love to come back to NYC and see The Met and other museums there .. as well as the Smithsonian in Washington and other major museums .. they’re more public friendly now.

Thanks Patricia – you have a good Easter too – it is slowly becoming warmer, at least here in the south of England .. all the best Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Barb .. you sound like me .. if I’d had children and thus grandchildren .. perhaps I’d be better – but basic chess is just that for me. Lovely that the children can just turn up and decide what they want to do or play a game .. I love being in houses with chess sets out ... I’m sure I’ve played for an afternoon with various children, but definitely not seriously!

I certainly haven’t bought a book to see how it’s played .. but the Usborne books are pretty good as reference points, I’ve used them for other things. Interesting to hear that there are so many variants of moves .. no wonder my brain can’t cope!! Not surprising that chess playing computers came into their own – but I prefer the opponent interaction .. and the cups of tea afterwards or during!

I’m sure your book is fine – even if it’s a few years old .. we’re not going to become chess consultants – are we??!!

Isn’t it interesting where niches can be found .. these little specialist shops are such fun – and we can see some of the different styles of sets .. they are so beautiful – especially those carved pieces in museums.

Glad you enjoy the posts .. delighted to hear it .. Mum is fine, but fortunately is up at a Nursing Centre, and I just go up and visit and be there for her when things are difficult .. so thank you – she loves hearing from friends and family around the country and world!!

Enjoy the Easter weekend .. Hilary

Barb Hartsook said...

Thank you Hilary. Easter Sunday is a beautiful day for me, from the time I was very little. I was baptized as a young girl at a six a.m. service, and I've never lost the joy of connecting with life bigger than I knew. For me, Easter is a celebration of the hope of life and renewal. It's personal, and I quietly and thankfully give it its due.

Easter cantatas fill me with song -- I used to sing in them, and the music lived in me for weeks! All through practices and learning the various pieces at home while picking out my harmony at the piano.

As grandparents, we hide eggs filled with coins and candy for our grandkids. And another Sunday
passes with family... for which I am also eternally grateful.

I wish you a grand Easter as well, for all it may mean to you. God bless... Barb

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Barb .. sounds glorious to me - the important family time. I shall make a plan round my mother .. there isn't a lot we can do - but perhaps share some music if she'd like .. but often she's half asleep. Singing would be out of tune if I did it .. I'd love to be able to sing and share in a choir .. but some things are better left to others! We will make a plan ..

That's such fun .. hiding the eggs round the garden? for the grandchildren .. and as you say another wonderful day en familee - & yes it's lovely to be eternally grateful.

Thank you for your thoughts - a quiet time with my mother mainly .. all the best to you too - and have fun with the little ones .. Hilary

Stephen Tremp said...

Wow! What a blog. Oneof the better ones I've read inmonths. But I'm a history buff, a lover of art. appreciate lost cultures, and I've always wanted to be a tour guide at a major musuem like the Metroploitan, the Louvre, or the British Musuem.

Stephen Tremp

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Stephen .. THANK YOU! Coming from you - that's a real honour. I hope I keep it up. I can see from your posts your love of all fine historical things. You would definitely make an excellent tour guide .. but I suspect you'd want to move to the next wonderful emporium and explore their treasures - so you can tell us all about them.

Like you .. I write on things that take my interest or pique my fancy as I hear or relate to something during the day and join the dots together somehow.

Thanks - great to see you here .. all the best and a Happy Easter - Hilary

scheng1 said...

Oh dear, the poor walrus! I doubt it appreciated the fact that its tooth would end up in the museum. Wonder why they can't use gold or silver or stones to make the chess instead.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Scheng .. I agree - but that was then - in the 1100s and the walrus provided so much - the tusks would have been carved into implements of some sort, as well as sculptured. Tokens of all kinds were crafted out of whatever was in normal use .. in Wales - wood being made into love spoons, tokens of the saints in all main religious centres of Europe, in stone, precious metals or whatever material was available.

Today would be different - life is different .. its relating back to those times; & gold and silver weren't available in Norway ..certainly not in huge quantities - we haven't got much here in England .. the trophy here was the Church Bishop being used as a game piece - showing Christianity truly had spread its wings.

Thanks for being here - good to see you - Hilary

Liara Covert said...

Maps certainly offer data for reflection. Intriguing how boundaries shift based on human perception and experience.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Liara .. it is amazing that they were able to produce maps way back .. they are so interesting.

But more importantly perhaps are those boundaries based on human perception and experience .. we need to get to grips with those and learn to understand them more.

Good to see you - thank you - Hilary