Travels of Prudent Men

— Suárez Miranda, Travels of Prudent Men, Book Four, Ch. XLV, Lérida, 1658 in J. L. Borges, A Universal History of Infamy (translated by Norman Thomas de Giovanni), Penguin Books, London, 1975.

Keywords: Cartography, Society, Fiction

… In that Empire, the Art of Cartography at­tained such Perfection that the map of a sin­gle Province oc­cu­pied the en­tirety of a City, and the map of the Empire, the en­tirety of a Province. In time, those Unconscionable Maps no longer sat­is­fied, and the Cartographers Guilds struck a Map of the Empire whose size was that of the Empire, and which co­in­cided point for point with it. The fol­low­ing Generations, who were not so fond of the Study of Cartography as their Forebears had been, saw that that vast map was Useless, and not with­out some Pitilessness was it, that they de­liv­ered it up to the Inclemencies of Sun and Winters. In the Deserts of the West, still to­day, there are Tattered Ruins of that Map, in­hab­ited by Animals and Beggars; in all the Land there is no other Relic of the Disciplines of Geography.”