|Dimensions||258 x 165 mm|
An allegorical map of Europe in the form of a queen, from a German edition of Munster's Cosmographia. This famous and highly collectible cartographic oddity was first published by Johannes Putsch in 1537, under the title Europa in forma virginis. Munster's version appeared sporadically in editions of his Cosmographia, though from 1588 it was included in each edition until the final printing in 1628. Historically the map was most likely inspired by the rising fortunes of the Holy Roman Empire under Charles V. Europa is oriented so that her head occupies the Spanish peninsula. She wears a Carolingian crown, and carries an orb, representing Sicily, and a sceptre. Her heart is appropriately shown as Bohemia. Rivers, mountains, and forests are shown pictorially, as are key cities, including Venice, Paris, Belgrade, and Constantinople. Although Denmark is included, as her left arm, Scandinavia is separated from Europe by the Baltic, and the British Isles are shown in rudimentary fashion under her sceptre. Nearby parts of Africa and Asia are also shown.
Sebastian Münster (20th January 1488 - 26th May 1552) was a German cartographer, cosmographer, and theologian. A gifted scholar of Hebraic, Münster originally joined the Franciscans, but left the order in favour of the Lutheran Church. He was appointed to the University of Basel in 1529, and published a number of works in Latin, Greek, and Hebrew. His most celebrated works are his Latin edition of Ptolemy's Geographia in 1540, and the Cosmographia in 1544. The Cosmographia was the earliest German description of the world, an ambitious work of 6 volumes published in numerous editions in German, Latin, French, Italian, and Czech.
Condition: Foxing and time toning to sheet. printed on full sheet, German text to left of map, and on verso.