Charting a New World

Liber chronicarum.  Registrum huius operis Libri cronicarum cu[m] figuris et ymag[in]ibus ab inicio mu[n]di

Hartmann Schedel

Liber Chronicarum

1493

Hc Svnt Dracones

The age-old phrase Hic Svnt Dracones - or 'Here be Dragons,' first used on the Hunt-Lenox globe of 1505-07 - hints at the precariousness of life for explorers who charted new territories. Maps such as those published in Hartmann Schedel's Liber Chronicarum (Anton Koberger, 1493), shed light on ancient and medieval efforts to understand humankind's place in the world.  Schedel's Ptolemaic map is graphically bordered Pliny-influenced composite figures: a hirsute woman; a bipedal centaur; and an ornithomorphic human, all of whom, according to hearsay in the Roman world, occupied the far reaches known lands.   

Gerardi Mercatoris atlas sive cosmographicae meditationes de fabrica mundi et fabricati figura

Gerard Mercator

Gerardi Mercatoris atlas sive cosmographicae meditationes de fabrica mundi et fabricati figura

1630

Gerhard Mercator.  Gerardi Mercatoris atlas sive cosmographicae meditationes de fabrica mundi et fabricati figura. Amsterodami: Henrici Hondij, 1630. Donated by Pieter Hondius.

Though renowned for his cartographic skills and for his development of an innovative projection that improved navigation at sea, Gerhard Mercator travelled little.  He depended upon scholars and correspondents around the globe, including mathematician and astrologer John Dee, who promoted Mercator’s work in the English court and who encouraged exploration to the east by way of an as yet undiscovered northern passage.

Etched and handpainted - the painting in the early years by Mercator's wife and daughters - the atlas provides a window into late sixteenth-century understanding of the world.

Accurata delineatio celeberrimæ regionis Ludovicianæ vel Gallice Louisiane

Mattheus Seutter

Accurata delineatio celeberrimæ regionis Ludovicianæ vel Gallice Louisiane

[1734?]

Matthaeus Seutter.  Accurata delineatio celeberrimæ regionis Ludovicianæ vel Gallice Louisiane ot. Canadæ et Floridæ adpellatione in Septemtrionali America: descriptæ quæ hodie nomine fluminis Mississippi vel St. Louis.  Augsperg: Germany, [1734?].  

Matthaeus Seutter's Mississippi Bubble map depicts the geographical reach of the short-lived French financial scheme masterminded by Scottish financier John Law.

The map shows early eighteenth-century geography, settlements, and territories in North America, with a focus on the Mississippi River.  A large inset of the Gulf Coast shows a number of forts and American Indian villages.

The geography of the heavens and class book of astronomy

Elijah H. Burrit

Geography of Heavens

D.K. Bailey Collections

1846