logo
logo

Lecture

 

A New Interpretation on the Eastern Limit of Ptolemy’s World Map and its Influence on European Worldview in the Evolution of Southeast Asian Mapping. A talk by Trongjai Hutangkura

 

India beyond the Ganges and Chinese lands. Geographical Information by Ptolemy (2nd century), redrawn by Gerard Mercator (1584 CE).

 

The Geography, written in the second century CE by Claudius Ptolemy (c. 100 ce- c. 170 ce), described the Earth’s geography through knowledge from Greco-Roman trade routes. The map India beyond the Ganges presented geographical information stretching from the river’s east bank towards China. Although previous studies provided place-names based on cognate comparisons between Ptolemaic data and recent toponyms, the identification of the Ptolemaic eastern limit remains problematic, exemplified by a location known to the ancient Romans as Kattigara, possibly Hangzhou (China) or Óc Eo (Vietnam). My research raises the possibility of Kattigara being located in the vicinity of the Korea Bay, based on a comparison of geographical landmarks such as the river’s mouth and cape. Other possibilities may involve Suvarṇabhūmi and a town called Zabai (Óc Eo). Though geographic recognition of Ptolemaic toponyms has since disappeared, their graphic information is still acknowledged and carries some influence in Southeast Asia, including in maps compiled by European and Arab cartographers in the 12th-16th centuries. These maps are a blend of Ptolemaic place-names and navigational information of their ages, visualising an imaginary continent of Southeast Asia. My presentation will illustrate research on the identification of cartographic information of Ptolemy’s India beyond the Ganges and Chinese lands as the basis for the study of ancient Southeast Asian maps.

Dr. Trongjai Hutangkura is a researcher on Thai History and Archaeology at the Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Anthropology Centre (SAC) in Bangkok. He holds a PhD from the University of Nice-Sophia Antipolis, France. His research focuses on the re-examination of problematic cases of interpretation in Thai historical and archaeological subjects: aspects of the Dvaravati period; the structural evolution of the Lai Sue Thai from Old Khmer scripts; re-reading, re-translating and re-interpreting ancient Mon inscriptions in Lopburi.

Date: Thursday, 31 August 2017
Time: 7.30 p.m.
Place: The Siam Society, 131 Asoke Montri Rd, Sukhumvit 21

Non-members donation: B200. Siam Society members, members’ spouses and children, and all students showing valid student ID cards are admitted free of charge. For more information, please contact Khun Arunsri or

Office Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 9:00am. – 5:00pm.

The Siam Society is deeply grateful to the James H.W. Thompson Foundation for its generous support of the 2016-2017 Lecture Series.