Why were the Romans so terrible at making maps? Pic related. Its ca. 40 BCE.
Maps are actually very hard to create. We just have the advantage of thousands of years of people collectively making maps so of course what the Romans created seems absurdly wrong to us.
I like how the Arab Gulf is a face. But honestly, this is amazing to me. They had nothing but their eyes for this, right? Have you tried walking along a coast-line for a few weeks and then drawing that shit accurately?
They thought Scandinavia was an island, but they wouldn't bother sailing around it to verify it. So it's probably more of an issue about relevant trading routes than exploration for the sake of exploration.
This one is from around 500 BC and is a lot better.
Bretty good, but you can still see how obvious mistakes: no Tasmania, they don't know the details of the high Canadian Arctic and northern Greenland, no Vancouver Island, they have the Gulf of California going way too far north and Baja much too wide, African Great Lakes are missing, Japan is all wrong...