Atlas of European & Mid-East Conflict - 1000 A.D. to 1700 A.D.

This Atlas Of European & Mid-East Conflict is an interactive map and database of major Conflicts occurring in Europe, the Middle East and western Asia, between the years 1000 A.D. and 1700 A.D. The map and country overlay boundaries are set to the following geographic boundaries:

This area is represented by the underlying base map as shown below. Map tiles have been created by the Ancient World Mapping Center (AWMC) Project at the University of North Carolina and are provided through a MapBox server (refer to the Technical Details section at the end of this Help file).

Underlying (un-zoomed) Base Map

A Conflict is comprised of a series of Events, ranging over a period of time, leading to a change in political boundaries, leadership, etc.  Each Event is an individual battle, siege, or skirmish that played into the Conflict and had an impact on the outcome of the Conflict. Each Event is represented on the map by its location, with various levels of summary information provided for further reference.

In addition to an underlying base map, the Atlas contains 388 individual colored overlay maps that depict the evolution of geo-political borders throughout the 700-year time span of the Atlas (refer to the Technical Details section for how the overlay maps are created, rendered and displayed). When a Conflict or an Event is displayed, the appropriate overlay map is updated to reflect the geographical year of occurrence of the Event, or the beginning year of the selected Conflict. The Year display at the bottom of the map reflects this Conflict/Event year. You can advance the Year one at a time through the left/right arrow controls at any time.

Standard map controls allow you to zoom through four levels from an initial scale of 1 inch = approximately 200 miles or 500 km (minimum zoom) to a maximum of approximately 1 inch = 20 miles or 50 km (maximum zoom). The map can be panned at higher zoom levels but attempting to pan outside of the geographical area represented in the initial display causes the map to re-center to within the limits listed above.

The following figures show some typical map displays.

 

Sample

Initial Display - Showing Historical Countries

Sample
Example Conflict Result: The Reconquista

Making Selections

The Menu Bar allows you to choose Events either by Conflict, or chronologically (falling within a specified date range), or search for Events containing a key word or phrase, by choosing the appropriate icon.

Menu Bar - Select Events by Conflict, Date, or Keyword Search

To Select Events By Conflict

Click the red Battle icon:    The icon turns green:   and the Conflicts button is activatedSelect a Conflict from the drop-down selection list.   Note that the first two choices in the Conflict list drop-down selection list retrieve all Events (battles) from the database; Event markers and location indicators are either turned on or off. The latter is a useful choice if you want to get an uncluttered view of the evolving geo-political borders over time.

Conflict Selection List

Click the Go button to retrieve all events associated with the Conflict.

To Select Events By Year Range

Click the red Calendar icon:    The icon turns green:   and the Start Year and End Year fields  are activated. Enter a Start Year and optional End Year, then click the Go button. All Events between the two years inclusive are displayed.  If no End Year is entered, the default is the Start Year, and a single year's Events will be displayed.

To Search For Events Containing A Word Or Phrase

Click the red Search icon:    The icon turns green:   and the Search field  is activated. Enter a key word or phrase (for example, the name of a city or location), then click the Go button.  All events with the specified word or phrase in the Event Title or the Event Description are displayed. NOTE: to search for a phrase, enclose it in double quotes - for example, "First Crusade". Otherwise, all Events containing any of the search words are displayed.


Selection Results

Conflict Summary

A summary of the currently selected Conflict is displayed in the top left panel of the display in a scrollable window.

Conflict Summary Window

Event List

All Events matching the selected criteria are returned in an Event List in the bottom left panel of the display. Event details include the Event Title, associated Conflict, date(s) when the Event occurred, and the geographic location (name, latitude, longitude) of the Event.  Click the blue header ribbon containing the Event Title.  The Event background color changes to a light blue, and the associated flag marker on the map changes color from red to blue.  An Event Summary displays in a popup window on the map (see Event Display, below).

Event List Window

Event Display

All Events are positioned on the map using markers.  A flag marker  indicates the position of a land battle, and a ship marker  indicates the position of a sea battle.

Click on a marker, and the following actions occur: the associated Event in the Event List is highlighted.  A small window opens at the marker location with a summary of the Event. Click the small window to close it and display the marker in blue. (Note that this is the same result you get by clicking the Event Title in the Event List, as described above).

Sample Event Detail

Locations Display

The locations of all Events (battles, sieges, etc.), are ALWAYS displayed on the map, regardless of any selection choices. Each location is marked with a red circle whose size indicates the relative importance of the location on a scale of 1 (least) to 4 (most) significant. Clicking on a circle displays a popup listing ALL Events that have occurred at that location. Each listed Event is a link that directs you to the relevant Wikipedia page when selected.

Sample
Example Location Details: Show All Events at that Location

Map Overlay Control

The Map Overlay Intensity control    in the upper right corner of the map allows you to emphasize or de-emphasize the intensity of the overlay maps; a zero setting displays the base map only whereas a setting of 100% puts full focus on the historical countries and boundaries.


Conflict and Event Reference Materials

The icon indicates the availability of an appropriate Wikipedia page for further reference on any Conflict or Event. Click the icon to display the Wikipedia content in separate window, as in the following example.

Sample
Wikipedia Reference Page for Selected Event


Technical Details

This section provides some detail on the implementation of the Atlas.

I am greatly indebted to the following technologies, all of which are free for use via standard GNU licensing or similar access rights:


Status and Caveats

This is a work in progress; as of the latest update, the Events database contains over 1400 entries, grouped into approximately 20 Conflicts.  Future plans are to add individual Wars and Countries to the selection capability which requires some enhancements to the current database structure. I would also like to implement a 3-D map display (e.g., using Google World as a base map), and build an Animator capability that automatically sequences through the map geo-political borders over a specified time interval.

First of all I am not an historian, by education or profession. Reading history is something I enjoy doing, but as with many subjects that don't involve direct experience, I find it difficult at times to grasp the large scale historical flow of events, especially over extended periods of time and across fluid geo-political boundaries.  So developing this site is an exercise in gaining a better sense of that flow.  Of course, any major conflict evolves over time as the result of complex political, economic, and religious factors that cannot possibly be represented with simplistic static displays. As with any high-level summary of complex geo-political, regional, and local events, I had to make some concessions for the sake of simplicity. I use the notion of a Conflict as a convenient method of grouping historical Events into manageable collections for storage and retrieval. This sometimes results in placing Events into Conflicts that may seem somewhat arbitrary.  And the time-frame in which Events occur has to be bounded rather narrowly; in reality, the lead-up to a battle or siege takes time and almost always involves movement of forces that cannot be accurately represented in the format I use here.  For details on the events, I tried to maintain a single point of reference, hence the use of Wikipedia; the usual caveats apply to the information contained there as well.

I welcome comments, (constructive) criticism, suggestions, and improvements; please refer to the Contact information in the Footer display at the bottom of the Web page.