DESCRIPTION: The world maps made by the European Church Fathers were a legacy taken over from the ancient world, and they were gradually expanded and adapted in accordance with the texts which they accompanied. Maps gradually came to stand on their own as independent works, instead of mere supplements to texts.
Among the first maps in Christian Europe to reveal a new character are those by Pietro Vesconte (fl. These maps of Italy use the coastal outline from portolan charts as the basis for a general map of the area, showing mountains, rivers and inland towns. The world map included in this volume was made by Vesconte who used his knowledge of sea charts in the crafting of this work.
Pietro Vesconte, in his mappamundi drawn for Marino Sanudoa€™s Secreta fidelium crucis, tried to combine the two types into one image.
The Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts, with (in the east) the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov, are no longer an unrecognizable pattern of shapes that can be identified only by names attached to them; instead they are drawn just as in a normal portolan chart.
The map however cannot be considered as a T-O type but akin to the Ptolemaic model of the world, having been rotated 90 degrees. Northern Europe is show as a densely populated area with many legends of towns and provinces.
The flat-bottomed circular sea enveloped by mountains is named Mare Caspiu [the Caspian Sea]. The unnamed mountain range running between the Black Sea and the arrow-like Caspian Sea can only be the Caucasus Mountain range. To the left of the red inscription Asia there is a vertically standing rectangle resting on the mountain range, bearing the label Archa Noe [Noaha€™s Ark].
To the west of Armenia, south of the Black Sea the region is divided into various strips of land starting at the top with Persida, Asia Minor and followed by Bitia [Bithynia]. Africa occupies most of the southern hemisphere and does bear the basic geographical features such as the Gulf of Guinea and the Cape despite its inaccurate shape. From Rouben Galichiana€™s Countries South of the Caucasus in Medieval Maps: Armenia, Georgia and Azerbaijan the text surrounding the map provides explanatory comments about various provinces and their features.
The map sees the first mention of the name Georgia, though there is a reference to Colchis (or Abkhazia), indicating that the latter may not yet have been entirely annexed with the kingdom of Georgia.
The chronicle compiled by the Minorite friar Paulinus dates from about the same time (ca.1320).
Besides his world map, the most interesting of the medieval maps of Palestine was also drawn by Vesconte in about 1320. Fine example of this rare portolan map of the World, the earliest surviving printed evidence of Pietro Vescontea€™s world map created circa 1311, generally considered to be one of the earliest surviving examples of a modern map of the world. This mappamundi is, in essence, a portolano of the Mediterranean world combined with work of pre-portolan type in remoter regions. Its basic form also conforms to fundamental medieval conceptions of geography, in that it is oriented with East at the top and shows Jerusalem at the center of the World. The present printed version of the map shown above appeared in Germany in the early 17th century. Vescontea€™s portolan of the eastern Mediterranean (1311), is the oldest known signed and dated map.
Twenty-three surviving examples of Sanudoa€™s manuscript work are known to exist, all of which date from the 14th Century. Vescontea€™s most important sea chart atlases were produced in 1313, 1318, 1321 and 1322 and are kept in Bibliotheque National de France, Rel. Brincken, Anna-Dorothee van den, a€?Das geographische Weltbild um 1300,a€? in Peter Moraw (ed.), Das geographische Weltbild um 1300.
Vesconte world map, 1320, 35 cm diameter, oriented with East at the topa€?British Library, Additional MS. This world map is painted using colors fairly typical of the medieval period.A  The oceans, seas and rivers are in green, the saw-tooth mountains in brown, the major cities represented by crowns and castles are in red, and the landmasses are in white. Vesconte world map, 1320, 35 cm diameter, oriented with East at the topBritish Library, Additional MS. Mall Home - Plaza Star At our recently renovated Plaza location we provide additional specialty items and a larger selction of products.
The commentaries and learned notes (scholia) added to the texts formed the basis of further alterations to the maps. They became an essential part of the collections in monastic libraries, in whose catalogues we commonly find, from the ninth century onward, at least one such independent map. A A copy was also offered to the King of France, to whom Sanuto desired to commit the military and political leadership of the new crusade. On this copy he even drew rosettes, which are standard feature in the portolan sea charts but are scarcely used outside the sea chart tradition. The maps were in fact long thought to be the work of Marino Sanuto [also spelled a€?Sanudoa€?] himself.


Notwithstanding its raison da€™etre (urging the European rulers to organize a new crusade) it stands bereft of any religious content.
Norwegia is a peninsula and Anglia, Scotia and Hybernia are shown as islands in the North Sea. Situated between this and the Black Sea [Mare Pontos] there is another arrow-like lake, which bears the legend a€?marea€? only. At its intersection with the second mountain range the vignette of a large gate reads Porte Forree [Iron Gates, the name given to the Caspian Gates by the Persians, Turks, Armenians and others]. The eastern end of this mountain range is called Montes Caspii [Caspian Mountains] while towards its western extremity it is identified as Taurisius or Taurus mountain range.
Calcedonia, Licaonia, Galatia, Lidia and Frigia minor [Phrygia], Cilicia lies to the south of this region, over the mountains and between the two vignettes of castles. The Nile River has its source in unspecified mountains and flows northwards to the Mediterranean flowing through Egyprus, past numerous castellated towns located on its shores. At the top right of the map, lines two to five and twelve to fourteen from the top describe the peoples, features and location of Armenia.
It too contains a world map and a map of Palestine, which closely resemble the work of Pietro Vesconte. Vescontea€™s map, in its earliest form, survives in a 14th century manuscript work by Marino Sanudo, which was reproduced for the first time in print in Johann Bongarsa€™ Orientalium expeditionum historia. A The ocean surrounds the known landmasses of the world, while the outer parts are largely conjectural.
A Notably, this map, along with Vescontea€™s other work, features the first broadly accurate conceptions of the Mediterranean and Black Seas. A It was produced as part of the greater intellectual movement that flourished in Europe, and in Germany in particular, roughly from 1450 to 1650, during which scholars, heavily influenced by the enlightened ethic of Humanism, sought to acquire, preserve and learn from the most progressive elements of Classical and Medieval thought. As evident on the present map, Vesconte was the first mapmaker to accurately maps the Mediterranean and Black Seas, and his depiction of Great Britain was a marked improvement over his predecessors. The large variety often found in larger chain Plaza Star At our recently renovated Plaza location we provide additional specialty items and a larger selction of products. He was a Genoese cartographer and one of the earliest creators of portolan [nautical] charts.
This is large propaganda volume, was written on vellum and includes many miniatures and vignettes of the Crusaders and their battles with the Saracens. The region of the Mediterranean, whose accurate portolan charts already existed, is depicted in true detail but the rest of the world is shown in very approximate form and shape.
Later, however, a copy of the Liber secretorum was discovered with the signature of Pietro Vesconte and the date 1320, and he is now considered the author of the maps in place of Sanuto, who was not known as a cartographer.
While much of his production is conventional, his world map for Sanudoa€™s crusader manuscript departs dramatically from earlier examples, seeking to combine the mathematical system and new land-shapes of the portolan charts with the contained, circular, Jerusalem-centered format of most mappaemundi. On this map we do not see mythical and Biblical creatures or other Christian features such as the Earthly Paradise or the rivers of Paradise and here, for the first time in medieval world maps the Red Sea is not colored red and does not standout.
This should in fact be the Caspian Sea, since to its south the legends read Caspia and Yrcania, two provinces located south of the Caspian Sea. For the first time in medieval western maps this passage, also known as the Caspian Gates, has been shown in as correct position, namely on the western shore of the Caspian Sea.
Two lines further down there is a description regarding Georgia beginning with: Kingdom of Georgia has a large white mountain at its east, and to its south lies Armenia. Some differences in detail occur; for example, though both the Vatican copy and the Paris copy have two Caspian Seas, in the Vatican copy they are the same shape, while in the Paris copy the western Caspian corresponds to the later form of the Catalan maps. 1450): it illustrated a book by Marino Sanuto that urged a new crusade to re-conquer the Holy Land, now entirely lost to the Christians. A True to the medieval conception of the world, the landmasses are about equally balanced between the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. A These scholars sought to go ad fontes, or a€?to the original sourcea€™ of the knowledge, or as close to it as possible. Vescontea€?s world maps were circular in format and oriented with East to the top, although most of the fabulous elements so common to early world maps have been omitted, Prester John, the mythical Christian king occasionally located in Ethiopia, does manage to appear on Vescontea€™s map and has been a€?re-locateda€? to India. He operated primarily out of Venice, and greatly influenced Italian and Catalan mapmaking throughout the 14th and 15th centuries.
One of the paintings on folio 7r is that of the Crusader forces meeting King Leo of Armenia (Cilician Armenia) and the prisoners of the Armenian king.
As mentioned above, Sanutoa€™s work was written to induce the kings of Europe to undertake another crusade against the Turks, and so the following maps accompanied it: a world map, maps of the Black Sea, the Mediterranean, the western coast of Europe and Palestine, plans of Jerusalem, and Ptolemais [Acre and Antioch].
In this map, the influence of the portolan charts can be seen at a glance: in contrast with the amorphous forms of Asia and southern Africa (familiar in many other medieval mappaemundi), the Mediterranean world is instantly recognizable and proportionate, clearly copied directly from the outlines of a portolan chart.
In fact the map has rather more Islamic religious content, such as in Arabia, the Islamic religious centers of Mecca [Mecha] and Baghdad [Baldac], all shown red. The river Tanay [Tanais = Don] is shown flowing from a northern mountain range into the Sea of Azov.


It follows that the true identity of the flat-bottomed sea above should have been the Sea of Aral, situated in western central Asia, with Bactria shown on its shores. In southwest Asia the following toponyms stand out Arabia (red), Mecha [Mecca red], Baldac [Baghdad. Cartographically, however, it was far more sophisticated than Hardinga€™s map, though more than a century older.
A The Arabian peninsula, Black Sea and Caspian Sea are in a recognizable form, and the name Georgia appears above the Caucus Mountains. A As is the case with the antecedent of the present map, most of these sources existed only in manuscript form, available in a single or with very few examples.
Some consider him as the first professional cartographer to sign and date his works regularly.
The king himself is shown surrounded by symbols of various rulers neighboring Cilicia, namely the Lion in the north (Mongols), the Wolf in the west (the Turks), the Serpent in the south and the Leopard in the east. Even more striking is the network of lines that are drawn in a sixteen-point wind-rose that encircles the whole earth. For the first time in western medieval cartography, the region of Georgia appears entitled as such. These differences of detail between the maps in contemporaneous manuscripts of Marino Sanuto and Paulinus can only be explained by assuming that two scribes copied Vescontea€™s map, adding to it from different sources. The ocean surrounds the whole of the known world, the outer parts of which are represented by conjecture. A SomeA idea is also shown of the great continental rivers of the north, such as the Don, Volga, Vistula, Oxus and Syr Daria. A The great achievement of this period was to preserve and liberate this knowledge through the printing press. He uses an exact copy of one of the rhumb-line networks that covered half of a portolan chart to grid the space of the entire world, rather than just one part as in the portolan charts.
The region of Albania, which should have been near Georgia, is shifted to the upper left corner of the map, near the surrounding ocean, which is outside the area cowered by the detail map. The rivers and mountains were drawn in with less precision and they differ somewhat in the seven surviving copies of the book. The authorship of Marino Sanudo is not definitively established and the original manuscript map has also been attributed to Pietro Vesconte. A The portolan tradition was perhaps the most technically advanced element of medieval geography, and early modern scholars held it in high esteem. The grid, however, no longer holds any indexical significance outside of the small corner of the map that has been drawn from the portolan charts. This may seem to us an entirely normal and rational way to set out a map, but in the 14th century it represented an enormous conceptual leap, and confirms that Vesconte was a man of skill and imagination.
His work falls within the period 1310-30; the name a€?Perrino Vescontea€™, which appears on one atlas and one chart, may be his own, using a diminutive form, or that of another member of his family. The rest is a strange hybrid that would have provided little navigational assistance to any traveler.
Where he (or Sanuto) got the necessary information, the list locating the towns, we do not know; both this and the grid may derive from Arab sources, and a more remote connection with grid-based maps in China is not impossible. A While the present printed edition of the map is uncommon, it is nevertheless responsible for creating and maintaining the scholarly awareness of this important map throughout Europe and beyond.
Vesconte was one of the few people in Europe before 1400 to see the potential of cartography and to apply its techniques with imagination. The rhumb lines claim for this new map a kind of symbolic empirical authority, when in actuality the points on the rhumb-circle do little more than indicate the positions of the winds (much like the circular wind-faces depicted along the edges of the world in a work like the Psalter map, #223 Book II). As can be seen in the world maps he drew around 1320 he introduced a heretofore unseen accuracy in the outline of the lands surrounding the Mediterranean and Black Sea, probably because they were taken from the portolan [nautical] charts. What the map actually shows varies little from a traditional mappamundi; what has changed is its implied claim to be modern and accurate in a different sense.
We may suspect that his influence lay behind the maps of Italy in the Great Chronology by Paolino Veneto during the years of 1306 to 1321 that was copied at Naples not long after, for other maps in the same manuscript are related to maps from Vescontea€™s workshop that illustrate Marino Sanudoa€™s book calling for a new crusade.
Vescontea€™s map offers a glimpse of the currency that empirical geometry carried at this transitional moment.
Vesconte clearly saw in the geometry of the portolan charts an iconic, modern power that could be combined with the forms of a traditional world map to create a new kind of picture. A He is best known for his lifelong attempts to revive the crusading spirit and movement.A  He wrote his great work is entitled Liber secretorem fidelum Crucis, sive de Recuperatio Terrae Sancta [Secret book of the loyalty to the Cross or the Recapture of the Holy Lands], also called Historia Hierosolymitana, Liber de expeditione Terrae Sanctae, and Opus Terrae Sanctae, the last being perhaps the proper title of the whole treatise as completed in three parts or a€?booksa€?.



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