Thursday, October 18, 2007

World History

Ever wonder what the world looked like 2'000 years ago? How much land did the Romans actually rule? What lands did the Chinese rule 1'500 years ago? What did the Arab Islamic Empire look like? How about Alexander the Great's empire?

I've been a big fan of history ever since I was a little kid. I remember reading about Charlemagne's Frankish Empire before I was in High School. The Roman Empire has always been my favorite, and it spanned over 2'200 years. Imagine what the US would be like 2'000 years from now!

When looking for maps online, I never had much luck finding maps I was satisfied with. Sure I'd find good maps covering one or two small regions (like France or Greece, etc.), but I couldn't find any maps that covered whole continents. And believe you me, I looked!

Check out World History by Thomas Lessman.

I was forced to draw my own maps. It took a LOT of research, but I've done it! PLEASE look around, and see if you can find any maps that are as detailed, extensive, or accurate as the historical maps I've drawn. And if you DO find better maps, let me know!

So far I've been able to draw 15 of these maps, covering the world (well, at least the Eastern Hemisphere) from 500 BC to 1025 AD. I've got my complete set available on my website;

So if you like history, check out my Historical Maps at, and see what the world looked like at various key points in history.

Thomas Lessman


Glen Gordon said...

Great job. You are my hero, sir! :) I know how much work that must have been.

Kevin McGinty said...

Just wanted to wish you and your family a Merry Christmas Thomas. You're all good people and I'm proud to know you.
Kevin McGinty

The man called Anne said...

Such a wonderful job. I keep glancing at these maps.
If you like maps, try to follow the Geography of World Cultures lecture series from Stanford, which has been published on enhanced podcast.
(if you can't find it, look it up in my blog)


JSN said...

I think the work of Christian Nussli at is comprable. Nicer looking, but smaller scope.

history buff said...

I would like to express a hearty thanks for the maps you have created. I always felt frustrated while reading history to put places and time in context. I had been thinking of doing the exact same thing , but You have beaten me to it congratulations.

My next wish...

A flash based animated map that would show the boundries of empires change as one slides the time-line.
That would be possible if these maps are not static, but drawn with active pullable borders. If such a template can be designed then others can add more granularity time-wise , resulting in a smooth animated map.

I know this is an ambitious plan but once done with the same base satellite, I imagine dynamic maps being built showing history of technology, e.g. how did the technology of printing travelled from china to europe over time, spread of languages, spread of religions etc....

thanks for doing for what you have done so far... kudos

Anonymous said...

Hi would just like to say thats its great to see a historical map that correctly states that the Roman Empire lasted till 1453 AD and not a "byzantine empire". There are many textbooks and historians who like to claim that when Rome fell in 476 AD that the empire ceased to exist! No its empire and traditions continued for a further thousand years in the East, who knows why such claims are made.

Dan said...

I like your maps.
Where do you keep them?
Seems like the place you have had them stored on the internet no longer exists?
Would love to see the rest of them.

oxydracae said...

You have done a wonderful job Thomas... Your maps are very accurate, I mostly refer to them when I had any doubt :)