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Imago Mundi


Imago Mundi volume 48 (1996)
English-language Abstracts of Main Articles


CARTOGRAPHY AND SCIENCE IN EARLY MODERN EUROPE: MAPPING THE CONSTRUCTION OF KNOWLEDGE SPACES. (David Turnbull)

KEYWORDS: History of cartography; local knowledge; knowledge spaces; sociology of scientific knowledge; Padron Real; Cassini and mapping of France; Ordnance Survey.

ABSTRACT: Science and cartography have had an intimate history which has not been simply the creation of ever more accurate scientific maps but one in which science, cartography and the state have co-produced the knowledge space that provides the conditions for the possibility of modern science and cartography. The central cartographic process is the assemblage of local knowledges and as such is a particular form of the assembly processes fundamental to science. The first attempts by the state to create a space within which to assemble cartographic knowledge were at the Casa da Mina and the Casa de la Contratación, and hence they can be described as the first scientific institutions in Europe. Their failure to create a knowledge space can be attributed to the nature of the portolan charts. The triangulation of France and the linking of the Greenwich and Paris Observatories established the kind of knowledge space that now constitutes the dominant form within which modern science and cartography are produced. However, resistance to the hegemony of modern scientific knowledge space remains possible through finding alternative ways of assembling local knowledge.


WORLD MAPS AND EASTER TABLES: MEDIEVAL MAPS IN CONTEXT. (Evelyn Edson)

KEYWORDS: Computus; calendar; Easter; medieval maps; mappaemundi; Bede; Paschal tables; scientific diagrams; time measurement.

ABSTRACT: Medieval geographical texts and world histories have long been searched for world maps. One source which merits further exploration is the computistical or calendar manuscript, which is devoted to calculating the date of Easter. Types of maps which appear in computus manuscripts include T-O, zonal and "list" maps, as well as more complex and detailed maps. Three of the complex maps are examined here, and their form and content related to their context.


A FORGOTTEN PTOLEMY: Harley Codex 3686 of the British Library. (Marica Milanesi)

KEYWORDS: British Library Harley Codex 3686; Ptolemy's Geography; portolan charts; nautical-regional maps; `synthetic' mappaemundi; Venetian cartography, fifteenth century.

ABSTRACT: The text of the British Library's manuscript Harley 3686 is an undated and anonymous Latin version of Ptolemy's Geographia with an innovative set of eighteen non-Ptolemaic maps of Europe, Asia and Africa. Links with Andrea Bianco's nautical atlas (1436) suggest a Venetian provenance for the manuscript and a date of between 1436 and 1450. Map outlines were derived from portolan charts but inland topographical detail and toponymy appear to have come from the Ptolemaic text. The codex constitutes one of the earliest examples of the synthesis of portolan chart, Ptolemaic map and medieval mappamundi that characterised fifteenth-century cartography and the only example of such a synthesis on a regional scale. Harley 3686 reveals some of the technical and methodological problems that the Geographia must have presented the period's cartographers.


BENEDETTO BORDON, 'MINIATOR', AND CARTOGRAPHY IN EARLY SIXTEENTH-CENTURY VENICE. (Lilian Armstrong)

KEYWORDS: Bordon, Benedetto; Rosselli, Francesco; Manuscript illumination, Italy [Venice, Florence]; Renaissance book illustration, Italy [Venice]; Renaissance printing, Venice; Renaissance cartography, Italy [Venice, Florence]; Ptolemy, Cosmographia, revival in Italy; world maps, Italy [Venice, Florence, Rome]; `island books', Italy [Venice].

ABSTRACT: This paper surveys the career of Benedetto Bordon (c. 1450-1530) as a miniaturist, designer of woodcuts, and cartographer. Although from Padua, Bordon worked primarily in Venice where he illuminated religious and classical texts and official ducal documents destined for Venetian noblemen. The author argues that Bordon designed woodcut illustrations for books printed by Aldus Manutius and others, in addition to the woodcut maps in his 1528 book on islands in the Mediterranean, Atlantic and Caribbean. Bordon's lost world map of 1508 is discussed in relation to the map-making activities of Francesco Rosselli, the Florentine miniaturist and engraver who was in Venice in 1504 and 1508; and in relation to a circle of Venetian scholars and patricians interested in Ptolemy's Cosmographia and in the mapping of the New World.


EGERTON 1513: A REMARKABLE DISPLAY OF CARTOGRAPHIC INVENTION (Tony Campbell)

KEYWORDS: Sea charts; cartographic invention; southern continent; Java-la-Grande, Dieppe School; drafting techniques; Pasterot; British Library.

ABSTRACT: The unfinished Egerton MS. 1513 in the British Library offers insights into the drafting technique of seventeenth-century French chart-makers, which included taking extracts from large models drawn at different scales. As the last and most imaginative of the surviving Dieppe School works, Egerton 1513 also displays a more elaborate Southern Continent than any found elsewhere. That its place-names, and those for the west coast of North America, are imaginary warns against an over-literal interpretation of map evidence. Pure invention rather than misunderstood reality is an explanation that might have wider application in the history of cartography.


ERHARD ETZLAUB'S PROJECTION AND METHODS OF MAPPING (Brigitte Englisch)

KEYWORDS: Erhard Etzlaub; Etzlaub's stereographic projection; Romweg map; Compass Map; Gerard Mercator; stereographic projection; projection of varying latitudes.

ABSTRACT: Erhard Etzlaub's cartography is a product of a conceptual method of projection. For his Romweg map (1500) Etzlaub developed a geographical system of representation which allowed compass orientation according to the principles of stereographic projection. At the same time, the map offered a way of determining distance along the main European routes from a scale of dots. It also combined elements of the popular Ptolemaic-style `land' maps with a representation of towns designed to meet the demands of a functional travel and road map. Etzlaub transferred these principles of a conformal projection to his Compass map (1501) by using a projection with varying latitudes. The Compass Map is thus a logical continuation of the projective principles of his first maps and their transformation into an innovative model.


POST-TRIDENTINE `GEOGRAPHIA SACRA'. THE GALLERIA DELLE CARTE GEOGRAFICHE IN THE VATICAN PALACE. (Francesca Fiorani)

KEYWORDS: Vatican, Galleria delle Carte Geografiche; Ignazio Danti; maps, Catholic and Protestant; post-Tridentine debates; mural maps, Italy; surveying methods, 16th century.

ABSTRACT: In the Galleria delle Carte Geografiche in the Vatican Palace (1581) regional maps of Italy are combined with scenes of episodes from church history. A number of cartographic questions are posed concerning authorship, execution and sources, and another set of issues is raised concerning the purpose and relevance of the murals in sixteenth-century religious debates. In this paper, the map murals are examined in the context of Renaissance surveying practice through a new scrutinity of archival evidence on the Galley's planner and supervisor, the Dominican Ignazio Danti. The murals are then considered in the context of post-Tridentine religious debate and explained as an attempt to accommodate Protestant use of cartography to the advantage of the Catholic Church.


Selected Papers from the 16th International Conference on the History of Cartography (Vienna, 1995):-

AMSTERDAM ATLAS-PRODUCTION IN THE 1630S: A BIBLIOGRAPHER'S NIGHTMARE. (Peter van der Krogt)

KEYWORDS: Dutch atlases (Amsterdam 1630s); printing history; atlas bibliography; G. Mercator; H. Hondius; J. Janssonius; W. J. Blaeu.

ABSTRACT: The principles of bibliographical description are severely challenged by seventeenth-century Dutch folio atlases. Although an atlas may appear to be a book, its method of compilation does not allow for an `ideal copy'. The integrity of each folio sheet -- with map on one side and letterpress on the back -- meant that additions, omissions and the interchange of individual sheets make each compilation a unique creation. Thrift meant that minor changes were added to existing copper plates, old sheets continued to be used after newer version were printed and new letterpress text was appended to older maps. Thus extant atlases may contain early states of some folios and much later states of others. The bibliographical consequences of such a situation are illustrated by the problems of accommodating all variations in the Mercator-Hondius-Janssonius atlases in the new, revised edition of C. Koeman's Atlantes Neerlandici, which is now under way.


MAPS, WAR, AND COMMERCE: BUSINESS CORRESPONDENCE WITH THE LONDON MAP FIRM OF THOMAS JEFFERYS AND WILLIAM FADEN (MARY PEDLEY)

KEYWORDS: Thomas Jefferys; William Faden; Jean Nicolas Buache de la Neuville; Roch-Joseph Julien; Jean Lattré; François Perrier; Ambroise Verrier; map and print trade, eighteenth century; War of American Independence.

ABSTRACT: Eighty-nine business letters from European map sellers to the London firm of Thomas Jefferys and William Faden are preserved in the William L. Clements Library at the University of Michigan. Dating from the decade 1773-1783, the letters reveal through the invoices, accounts payable, bills of lading, and orders many detailed aspects of the map trade in the eighteenth century at the time of the War of American Independence. Special attention is drawn to the exchange of maps between England and France during this period of war.


FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE MAPS AND THE 1:100,000 TOPOGRAPHIC MAP OF ISRAEL: BRITISH AND ARAB ADAPTATIONS. (Dov Gavish)

KEYWORDS: Israel; Palestine; intelligence maps; military maps; topographical maps.

ABSTRACT: Intelligence work is based on the gathering of information, including cartographic material for preparing new maps. This paper examines copies and re-editions, produced by British, Egyptian, and PLO military authorities, of topographical maps of Israel on a scale 1:100,000, which were published from the later part of the Mandate (1930s and 1940s), up to the 1980s. Certain features in the copies reflect distinctive political attitudes to the local situation or illustrate a lack of cartographic awareness of their significance. No country made a serious attempt to hide the sources of their maps.


From the Theory Session:-

THEORY AND THE HISTORY OF CARTOGRAPHY (Matthew H. Edney)

KEYWORDS: History of cartography, theory; naturalised maps; Michel Foucault; J.B. Harley.

ABSTRACT: Cartographic history has been dominated by an empiricism that treats the nature of maps as self-evident and which denies the presence of any theory. In contrast, this paper argues that theories lie at the root of all empirical study whether or not they are acknowledged. The linear, progressive model of cartographic development, for example, is not a law deduced from historical evidence; if it were it would be easily and quickly dismissed. It derives instead from our cultural beliefs concerning the nature of maps, which is to say from our unexamined theories. Historians of cartography need to be critical of their assumptions and preconceptions. Theoretical discussions in the history of cartography must address not whether we should use theory at all but to which theories we should adhere. It is inadequate simply to knock theories down. We must establish a debate in which old understandings of maps, of their creation, and of their use are replaced by better (that is, more consistent and coherent) theories.


TOWARDS A CULTURAL HISTORY OF CARTOGRAPHY (Christian Jacob)

KEYWORDS: Theory in the history of cartography; transparent maps; opaque maps; maps and culture; power of maps; J B Harley; The History of Cartography.

ABSTRACT: Theory is not a goal in itself but a means of enriching the history of cartography by stimulating new research questions and objectives. A critical review of the basic methodological parameters which condition the focus and boundaries of research is followed by a discussion of the notion of `transparant maps' (carriers of an image of the external reality of the world) and `opaque maps'. First, the notion is approached structurally (standards of graphical representation, drawing, geometry, text); second, through the sociology of the map (map-makers, institutions, the public); and third, through maps in their cultural and historical context (an approach which raises issues of the definitional boundaries of the history of cartography and which is arguably one of the most stimulating perspectives today as fostered, in particular, by contributors to the History of Cartography). Finally, attention is drawn to three important topics for the research agenda: the links between maps and culture; maps as a language of communication and as instruments of power; and the links between perception, logic and mnemonics.


WHY THEORY IN THE HISTORY OF CARTOGRAPHY? (Catherine Delano Smith)

KEYWORDS: Critical theory; history as text; authors and map makers; context; genre; theory in the history of cartography.

ABSTRACT: In focusing on the `history' of the history of cartography, attention is drawn to the need to distinguish between two sources of theory: critical theory, for the way maps are interpreted as historical documents; and a variety of bodies of theory (such as those of the social sciences, humanities, and sciences) for the information derived from maps. The argument touches on the relationship of history, by definition a text-based (in broad terms) subject, with critical theory, and their common preoccupation with problems of authorship, the importance of context and genre at the empirical level, and the different levels of relevance of theory to the history of cartography.


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