In the Middle Ages (most notably with the "T and O" maps) it was popular to orient the map with East at the top, hence the similarity of the word "orienteering" with "the Orient."

I'm in the process of making a map of a fantasy setting, and I'm toying around with the idea of using this orientation in the map, basically for the sake of authenticity. However, I'm worried that this will be seen more as distracting than interesting. What are your thoughts?