Why Is It Called A Compass Rose?

Compass roses have been around since antiquity and are believed to have originated in either China or the Mediterranean region. They are traditionally used to mark the cardinal directions of north, east, south and west on a map. But why is it called a compass rose?

The answer lies in its origins, its symbolic meaning and its function throughout history. It is estimated that over 8 billion compass roses have been produced since its first appearance.

In this article, we will explore the origins, symbolism and uses of the Compass Rose. Get ready to discover the fascinating history behind this ancient symbol!

Why is it Called a Compass Rose?

Have you ever wondered why the symbols that represent directions on maps, globes, and navigational tools are called a compass rose? Named after its resemblance to an old-fashioned compass, the compass rose has a fascinating history that dates all the way back to the 13th century.

History of the Compass Rose

The earliest known version of the modern compass rose dates back to Europe in the 13th century. The symbol was used as a navigational tool to mark the cardinal directions.

Over the centuries, its design has changed, but it always includes four main directions — north, south, east and west — as well as four intermediate directions, usually northeast, southeast, northwest, and southwest.

The Design of the Compass Rose

The classic compass rose is a symmetrical design featuring eight primary direction points.

Each point is marked with a line or a number that indicates the direction it represents. Some versions also include a small circle in the centre, and some feature additional directions, such as northeast by east or south-southeast by south. On some navigational tools, magnetic north is also marked with a contrasting colour.

What is the Compass Rose Used For?

The compass rose is used in navigational tools, maps, globes, and compasses to indicate direction.

On a map, the compass rose helps indicate which direction is north, which can help people determine their bearings and easily orient themselves to the landscape. On a compass, it can be used to determine which direction one is facing.


The compass rose has a long and fascinating history, and it has been an invaluable navigational tool since the 13th century.

It is an important part of maps and globes, helping people to orient themselves and find their way. Its simple yet elegant design helps make navigation easy. Citation URL: https://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Compass_rosehttps://study. com/academy/lesson/what-is-a-compass-rose-definition-design-uses. html

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