I've been looking maps of Europe from medieval times, but I haven't found any good ones. What I'm really looking for are maps of smaller areas (duchies and below), with terrain, smaller holdings and such. Are there maps like these on the web? If so, I haven't found any.
You get a lot of maps the size of modern nations, but there's a good many smaller maps in there. I suspect if you want truly localized maps, you'll have to look in national or local collections of the specific country or region whose geographical region in which are you are interested.
Also remember, people didn't create maps of their village. Most commoners memorized landmarks, or relied on the knowledge of the locals if they were unfamiliar with the area (hooray Area Lore). Maps served several purposes, but good ones could be expensive, and so were more likely commissioned to depict larger, more complex political regions (so the king could better understand his territory) rather than smaller simple ones.
During these times, the "only" purpose for small scale maps of this sort was military. Unless you were planning a siege, no reason for them to exist other than, perhaps, a single "exhibition" copy for the local lord (for defensive military purposes.)
And even then they would not be very accurate across a wide area, more abstract. Without surveying equipment, it would, at best, be a "best guess" sort of affair for the main roads, and a complete crapshot off the beaten track.
(I'm sure exceptions existed, and the Romans are always ahead of the times, but this is how I understand it as a rule.)
Yup, large scale surveying is a later thing, Saxton and Spede maps of Britain being the earliest comprehensive examples and they are a few hundred years after our cannonical setting.
The most commonly used maps of the era are route maps, essentially a long thin road map displaying all the places you would pass/visit whilst travelling a particular route. They depeict only 1 route per map. They are depicted as straight line, but of course represent many twists and turns following particular roads.
So maps "of" medieval times rather than actually "from" medieval times. Got it.
Not so many on the web that I've found - the archive link above is one source. They have to be reconstructions (for the above reasons), and often are found only in narrow-scope history books relating to that particular area.
(Edit - and since we're on the tangent, here's a link to "the earliest known map of England", ca mid 1300's. Scroll down on this and check out the "detail" around London - ooooh! aaaaah!)
w/ Details: http://www.bodley.ox.ac.uk/users/nnj/goughmap.htm
When I was part of the Prospectus Locus saga, one of our group brought in a copy of an old Roman map of Iberia. Just where he got it I don't know, but he had his degree in archeology so he likely found it in the local university library. What he had was xeroxed on on 8.5" x 11" sheets of paper. He'd tiled them togeather to reproduce the original. It was about 25" tall by about 40 feet long, and looked more like a family tree than a modern day map. The map illustrated the roman roads and the distance in miles between cities was marked, but there was no way to determine the distance between cities as the crow flies, nor any indication of the distance between cities not connected by roman roads. The point is although as stated maps as we know them today weren't avaliable there were some interesting things available.
This also brings to mind the role of a mapmaker of that time. Maps were used for military planning, as mentioned. How common were cartographers, and might that be an interesting choice for a character? Or maybe a story idea; we need to find the missing cartographer who's somehow made a map of the covenant!
My new campaign, set in the Normandy Tribunal, has the covenant located on Belle-Ile in Brittany. I found an extremely detailed website for this island, with antique maps and such. It's on belleisleenmer.free.fr/English/Eindex.htm