minima maxima sunt

The Small things are the Great things; as in a grain of mustard seed.

Mappae Mundi

Bunting, Heinrich, 1545-1606

Delving once again into the cartography and world maps of the middle ages I came across a set of maps from the 16th century with a bit of a different take on the world as we know it. They were made by a German protestant named Heinrich Bunting who while making a set of maps based on the travels in the bible, made a few extra “just for fun”. His book of maps, called Itinerarium Sacrae Scriptura was first published in 1581.

The map on top is known as The world as a clover leaf. It is a world map and shows Jerusalem as the center of the world. America can be seen in the lower left-hand corner, and Denmark dropping in from the top. Apparently the map was drawn to mimic a coat of arms from Buntings’ homeland. As with many mappae mundi, accuracy wasn’t really the goal. Rather it approaches the world like a schematic drawing showing a symbolic and abstract version of the world.

A second from Bunting is called Europa Prima Pars Terrae In Forma Virginis, or Europe as a Queen. This is a representation of Europe identified with Mother Church and a tie in with the mythical princes Europa who was raped by Zeus. Similar depictions of Europe as a queen are said to have existed from the 14th century. Wearing a Crown in Spain; the Orb, a globe with the cross in Italy and the scepter pointing to the west. Here I am reminded of a Quote form Hilaire Belloc “I say again, renewing the terms, The Church is Europe: and Europe is The Church.” Europe was reborn from the fallen Roman Empire as a group of united catholic states which lasted until the time of the reformation.

Asia as Pegasus

A map of Asia is also found among this collection which is called Asia Secunda Pars Terrae in Forma Pegasi (Asia in the form of a Pegasus) and as you can see it shows the south and east parts of Asia in the form of that mythical winged horse.

Taking a closer look at these mappae you can see how the images fit into the cartography of the known world in interesting ways. Also take note of the surrounding images in the sea of ships and creatures.


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One thought on “Mappae Mundi

  1. marieagrace on said:

    OK Megel, Greek Mythology always did strike me as fairy tales it took some doing but I did try to answer this because of my curiosity on the fact that most all the world comes from Greek and Latin including pharmacy and even the doctors signature!! I went to a site that gave some details of this Europe and how she was taken by the bull etc.I am not to impressed some of the mythology scares me as they talk in riddles or rated x stuff. Even the pictures of the old days are rated kinda x it seems that men are either trying to make up stuff or tell fabrications of what they think would be right or entertaining,yet even so it is all around us today in different forms and it all comes from the beginning.This mythology must have been more then entertaining to them as the galaxy is full of this to.I don’t know how to feel about anything any more as I am very mixed about all this I don’t know what is real from make believe/??? Do you mike?

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