A map of all the earth and how after the flood it was divided among the sons of Noah


Dublin Core


A map of all the earth and how after the flood it was divided among the sons of Noah


World Maps


This is a printed, hand-coloured map created by hydrographer and globemaker, Joseph Moxon 1627-1691. It was published sometime between 1671 and 1710, with its official place of publication unknown. Given that Moxon worked at various addresses in London, UK throughout his mapmaking career (Jonathan Potter Limited) it is likely that this was also the place of the map’s publication. This piece specifically looks to communicate religious and Biblical knowledge, likely of the High Anglican denomination. Primarily, this map seeks to divide the world and its continents among Noah’s offspring after the Biblical flood. Various sections of land correspond to the names of his sons. The illustrations that border the top of the map show extravagant depictions of the Seven Days of Creation, while the illustrations along the bottom depict some of the major Biblical events (Fall of Man, Crucifixion/Resurrection of Jesus). The map is centered upon Holy Land in Jerusalem and, upon georectification, this section of the map also represents its most geographically accurate area. In the bottom, left-hand corner there is a dedication to The Archbishop of Canterbury, Gilbert Sheldon, along with his coat of arms, Papal keys, and a miter.

Jonathan Potter Limited. [Portrait] Joseph Moxon. (n.d.). Retrieved February 25, 2016, from http://www.jpmaps.co.uk/map/id.34598


Moxon, Joseph 1627-1691






Kevin Maynard


Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 License


Full-sized digital item can be found in McMaster's Digital Archive at: http://digitalarchive.mcmaster.ca/islandora/object/macrepo%3A26842


Map. 32 x 44 cm, on sheet 37 x 49 cm









Still Image Item Type Metadata

Original Format

Printed map on paper, hand coloured

Physical Dimensions

32 x 44 cm, on sheet 37 x 49 cm

Contributor's Research

Moxon outlines the ovular, geographic aspect of the map with distinct, highly detailed Biblical illustrations; the Seven Days of Creation are on the top and the Fall of Man, Crucifixion and Resurrection of Christ are on the bottom. Why did Moxon choose these specific illustrations to border the technical, geographic aspects of the map?

At first, it would seem that the Biblical illustrations are strictly for aesthetic purposes; Moxon beautifully demonstrates his artistic capabilities through these pictures—a trait that the Church has always valued. Aesthetics aside, if we examine the content and placement of these illustrations there appears to be another message that Moxon is trying to communicate.

Regarding placement, it is curious as to why the Biblical illustrations are completely separate and bordered from the rest of the map. One may expect that the most formidable aspects of the map (the illustrations) would be infused throughout its technical aspects, rather than separated. If this were the case, the map would breakdown any barriers between our world and God. There is however, a clearly defined border between our human world and the Biblical events Moxon illustrates. This is not to ignore the distinct religious points that are present in the technical aspect of the map; the map is centered on The Holy Land, the Garden of Eden is labeled, and Noah’s sons are listed across various continents. Instead, it begs the question as to why the Biblical events, or, the events resulting directly from the interference of God are separate from our world? I will argue that Moxon purposely created this level of disconnect, while simultaneously encapsulating our physical world in the religious, Biblical world.

If we examine the illustrations, particularly along the four corners, the pictures only provide a partial view of the Biblical image; Moxon cuts off parts of the sun and only draws a fraction of the tree in the Garden of Eden. This creates a level of continuity outside of the map itself and highlights the vastness of God. The fact that our world is in the middle of these pictures extends some continuity into the Earth. William Poole, fellow and tutor at the University of Oxford, defines this as “literally [encircling] geographical space with the notion of biblical time” (Poole, 2010). In this sense, Moxon is able to create a level of disconnect between our world and God with defined borders, while also establishing a level of inclusivity with God.

With this quote Poole also acknowledges another important aspect of this map: the concept of Biblical time. If we examine the top illustration it is noticeable that the Seven Days of Creation are presented in a linear, straightforward manner. Similarly, other Biblical events (Fall of Nan, Moses, Crucifixion/Resurrection of Christ) are presented in a linear manner throughout the bottom illustrations. Rather than choosing random, aesthetically pleasing illustrations, Moxon is able to create a Biblical timeline. The establishment of a simultaneous continuity and disconnect between this timeline and the human world may very well have been influenced by St. Augustine’s concept of time and its relation to God.

To elaborate, it is first necessary to breakdown Augustine’s analysis of time and eternity in Book XI of Confessions. First, Augustine examines the temporality of the Earth and the eternity of God. This creates a problem with Genesis, since it suggests that there was a time before the creation of the universe; thus, God existed and was limited by time. With this interpretation, God cannot be eternal. To elaborate, Augustine provides an analogy regarding human speech, in that all human speech is limited by time, “[the] syllables have sounded, passed away and no longer exist” (Augustine). In this way, speech has a beginning and an end. God’s word however, and the word of the bible must be eternal. As such, God must exist outside of time. Moxon clearly establishes this criterion by forming a distinct border between the Biblical time he portrays, and the world we live in.

Furthermore, Augustine establishes that God decided outside of time how creation should be; although creation exists in time, this does not mean that God exists in time. In this temporal state, we as humans are bound by the present. The past and future are therefore just concepts and, as a result, do not necessarily exist. Since the present is immeasurable (it cannot have space because it is time, and it does not have duration) time therefore cannot exist. Augustine describes time as a distension of the soul—a movement away from the perfect being, God (Gradesaver, 2015). If you can attempt to conceive this “time” before time, you have a piece of God. Although we, as humans, may not understand this, the puzzle reveals an interesting dynamic with God: you can know things without understanding them. We know what eternity is because we are living in time, even though we may not understand it.

I believe that Joseph’s map was influenced by, and encapsulates St. Augustine’s concept of time. By encapsulating our world with the Biblical timeline, Moxon clearly establishes the eternal presence of God on Earth, while simultaneously separating the temporal and eternal world. This concept, though not completely understood by humans, ultimately increases our knowledge of God. This map then, transfers both technical religious knowledge (how the Earth was split up among Noah’s sons) and theoretical religious knowledge (ways in which we can understand God). Since Moxon dedicated this map to The Archbishop of Canterbury, Gilbert Sheldon, this implies that Joseph’s beliefs are consistent with High Anglicanism. The High Anglican denomination would have held the arguments presented by Augustine in high regard during the 17th century.

Augustine of Hippo. (2001). Original 397-400. Confessions (117). Lafayette, Indiana: Sovereign Grace Publishers, Inc. Retrieved February 25, 2016, from https://books.google.ca/books?id=jPgEK7c06y8C&pg=PA117&lpg=PA117&dq=the+syllables+sounded+and+passed+away&source=bl&ots=x5R6XrI2pk&sig=trRiWOQ5i6bkj7PDYg7ziix7bn4&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjEu6DB45PLAhVMpx4KHX55CiIQ6AEIHDAA#v=onepage&q=the%20syllables%20sounded%20and%20passed%20away&f=false

Gradesaver. (2015) Confessions Summary and Analysis of Book XI – Time and Eternity. Retrieved February 25, 2016, from http://www.gradesaver.com/confessions/study-guide/summary-book-xi-time-and-eternity

Poole, W. (2010). The World Makers: Scientists of the Restoration and the Search for the Origins of the Earth (139-140). Oxfordshire, United Kingdom: Peter Lang Ltd."


Moxon, Joseph 1627-1691, “A map of all the earth and how after the flood it was divided among the sons of Noah,” Omeka Testbed, accessed September 26, 2017, http://mapexhibit.mcmaster.ca/items/show/34.