The Mythic Geography of the Northern Polar regions (Chet Van Duzer)

Septentrionalium Terrarum descriptio by Gerard Mercator (1623)

This article compares the mythical geography of the northern polar regions in two very distinct traditions: a western European tradition based on a lost 14th century book titled Inventio fortunata, and the traditional Brahmanic Hindu and Buddhist conception of the earth. Both of these traditions involve a high mountain at the top of the world and water flowing in or out from this mountain in four streams that flow as if to the four cardinal points. Both traditions were represented cartographically. It is extremely unlikely that one of these traditions influenced the other; rather, it is an interesting case of strong similarities between two completely distinct conceptions of sacred centers.