Allegorical map showing Europe in the shape of a woman. The representation of Europa Regina, or Queen of the World, was first drawn by Johannes Bucius in 1537. Her crown, placed on the Iberian peninsula, is shaped after the Carolingian hoop crown. France and the Holy Roman Empire make up the upper part of her body, with Bohemia being the heart. Her long gown stretches to Hungary, Poland, Lithuania, Livonia, Bulgaria, Muscovy, Macedonia and Greece. In her arms, formed by Italy and Denmark, she holds a sceptre and an orb (Sicily). When the Europa regina was introduced, Charles V of Habsburg controlled both the Holy Roman Empire and the kingdoms of Spain, claiming to be the universal emperor of Europe. This may explain why the map is oriented westwards to have Spain as the crowned head, and why the imperial insignia – sceptre, Carolingian crown, and orb – are those of the Holy Roman Emperor.

Excellent hand colour

Sought after map in mint condition

REF References: Tooley (MCC-1) #6, Plt. V; Manasek #3.21.

code : M4826

Cartographer : Sebastian Munster

Date : 1588 Basel

Size : 26*16.5 cms sheet 37*23 cms

availability : Sold

Price : Sold

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Originally a scholar studying Hebrew, Greek and mathematics, Sebastian Munster (1489-1552) eventually specialised in mathematical geography and cartography. It was this double ability - as a classicist and mathematician - that was to prove invaluable when Munster set himself to preparing new editions of Solinus’ “Memorabilia” and Mela’s “De Situ Orbis”, two classical descriptive geographies containing maps, and his own two greatest works, the “Geographia” and “Cosmographia”. These reflect the widespread interest in classical texts, which were being rediscovered in the fifteenth century, and being disseminated in the later fifteenth and sixteenth century, through the new medium of printing.

The “Geographia” was a translation of Ptolemy’s landmark geographical text, compiled in about 150 AD., illustrated with maps based on Ptolemy’s calculations, but also, in recognition of the increased geographical awareness, contains a section of modern maps. In the first edition of the “Geographia”, Munster included 27 ancient Ptolemaic maps and 21 modern maps, printed from woodblocks. Subsequent editions of the “Cosmographia” were to contain a vast number of maps and plans.

One consequence of Munster’s work was the impetus it gave to regional mapping of Germany, but Munster was also the first cartographer to produce a set of maps of the four continents on separate maps. Most importantly, through his books (the “Geographia” and “Cosmographia” alone ran to over forty editions in six languages), Munster was responsible for diffusing the most up-to-date geographical information throughout Europe.