The Jireček Line
Yet another border dividing the Balkans, in Greek and Roman halves.
From a young age, Frank was fascinated by maps and atlases, and the stories they contained. Finding his birthplace on the map in the endpapers of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings only increased his interest in the mystery and message of maps.
While pursuing a career in journalism, Frank started a blog called Strange Maps, as a repository for the weird and wonderful cartography he found hidden in books, posing as everyday objects and (of course) floating around the Internet.
"Each map tells a story, but the stories told by your standard atlas for school or reference are limited and literal: they show only the most practical side of the world, its geography and its political divisions. Strange Maps aims to collect and comment on maps that do everything but that - maps that show the world from a different angle".
A remit that wide allows for a steady, varied diet of maps: Frank has been writing about strange maps since 2006, published a book on the subject in 2009 and joined Big Think in 2010. Readers send in new material daily, and he keeps bumping in to cartography that is delightfully obscure, amazingly beautiful, shockingly partisan, and more.
In 1911, Czech historian Konstantin Jireček drew a line across a map of the Balkan peninsula. The line, running east-west from the Adriatic Sea to the Black Sea, through northern Albania, along the Macedonian-Serbian border, and straight through the middle of Bulgaria, was an imaginary demarcation based on archaeological findings.
To the north, Latin was the dominant language. To the south, Greek dominated. This situation became more fluid after the collapse of the Western half of the Roman empire in the 5th century, eventually leading to the diminishing of Latin’s influence – although it did lead to the creation of Romanian, the only large romance language group of Eastern Europe.
Strange Map #128
Got a strange map? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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