NJ Standards (6.2.8.GeoHE.4.a): Explain how geography influenced the development of the political, economic, and cultural centers of each empire as well as the empires’ relationships with other parts of the world.

This page is part of the New Jersey state guidelines for public education. Additional pages are in progress to address all core Social Studies areas pertaining to Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages. We are excited to bring Middle Ages for Educators to teachers of Middle School and High School subjects in New Jersey, and eventually in many more states! 

On this page, you will find resources to help you "navigate" through geographically themed topics. In particular, the pedagogical use of maps and mapping is undergoing exciting transformation, which in turn is changing how we can approach the topic of geography and the interactions of humans from different parts of the globe. 

Below you will find videos on maps and mapping, links to map tools that may be useful for teachers and researchers, and other helpful resources.

N.B.: This page is very much in progress as of March 2021.



Resources for New Jersey Educators

Introducing Geographical Tools as a Topic for Social Studies

Here are some preliminary ideas and questions that will help connect students with videos and other materials on this topic.

"What role does geographical distance or proximity play in the development and interaction of different societies and cultures?" 

  • It may be useful to preface geographical studies with questions of societal relevance. Far from impairing the rote memorization of places, events, and persons, introducing relevance can bring students into stronger connection with learning materials. 
  • As with all questions on this site or in a resource guide, it is advisable to rephrase this question in a way that will connect with your students. 

"What are the kinds of sources that would tell us about late antique and medieval geography?"

  • The answer is "maps," right? Well, yes, but many other sources permit us to reconstruct places and their relationship to one another. This could be a great chance to get students thinking about geographical data encoded in, for instance: the writings of late antique historians or medieval chronographers, mosaics, title deeds and other documentary texts, and so on. 
  • Have students consider how people were able to navigate or find a location prior to the creation of maps, precise geolocation, or even standardized addresses. 

Topics of intrigue

  • Many students will graduate into a world saturated with sensational treatments of ancient or medieval topics. It may be useful to jump straight into this "intrigue zone," particularly if there is an unsolved mystery or controversial topic available in the content you are presently studying. 
  • For instance, what did medieval authors have to say about the ancient tradition of Atlantis? Or are there any place-names that scholars struggle to attach to one or more archaeological sites? Or did some figure you are studying purportedly make a long journey in an impossibly short time?
  • Especially in topics where scholars struggle to find consensus, teachers have an opportunity to highlight the skills of collegial disagreement, critical analysis, and comfort with open-ended questions. 

1. A Brief Introduction to Medieval Maps

Introduction: Maps and mapping

Twitter Contact Information

Tobias: @elmermalmesbury

Helen:  @HelsinHashtags

John Wyatt: Surprised Eel Historian @greenleejw

To comment on, or add to, the online bibliography: https://historiacartarum.org/medieval-maps-and-mapping-resources/medieval-maps-suggestions/

Resource Links:


  • The complete passage on Procopius and the Plague in Constantinople can be found online at the Fordham Source Book on Plague.

  • See this video lesson's main page for further sources and helpful information.

2. Digital Resources for Medieval Maps and Mapping