Old and New

A bit of fun this week, comparing diagrams old and new in the spirit of plus ca change ...


Here is Cassiodorus (6th century) using a decision tree in legal reasoning. This has been translated for your reading pleasure, but you can check out the original in Latin too.

And here is Ahmad Farouq (21st century) explaining the legal doctrine of negligence in Commonwealth jurisdictions in a remarkably similar stemmatic diagram that proceeds downwards, then left to right, quoting key words and key cases:


Here are the tribes of Mount Seir (in modern Jordan), who were perceived as having ancestral affiliations among one another by the authors of the Book of Genesis. They probably were tribally related, though not through eponymous ancestors as claimed here. The 5th-century author the Great Stemma diagrammed them thus:
A modern scientific approach is to build phylogenies among cultures based on language characteristics. Here is a diagram by Michael Dunn et al. on language groups:

These old and new diagrams show that although the form and sophistication of infographics has advanced enormously in the past century, the principle of visualization and its uses has deep and ancient origins.

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