Sunday, 25 April 2021

mappi mundi

On this day in 1507, humanist and cartographer Martin Waldseemรผller—whom also went by the Latinised form of his name Hylacomylus (forest-lake miller)—together with his collaborator Matthias Ringmann, published their map featuring the new world, significantly portraying South America as a continent separate from Asia and naming portions of the New World America after explorer Amerigo Vespucci. The academy that Waldseemรผller and Ringmann founded in Saint-Diรฉ with the patronage of the Duke of Lorraine came in possession of a booklet that gave a rather heroic and sensational account of the voyages of Vespucci in the western Atlantic and the two scholars carried forward that credit in a short treatise with atlases and a world map as a primer on cosmography (Cosmographiรฆ Introductio) that spanned from the familiar to the antipodes that were predicted in Antiquity. Ringmann actually, persuasively championed the toponym America, arguing: “I see no reason why anyone could disaaprove of a name derived of that Amerigo, the discoverer and a man of sagacity—with suitable forms being Amerige, meaning land of Amerigo, or America, especially since both Europe and Asia have women’s names.” Europa was raped by Zeus in the form of a bull and gave birth to the Minotaur. Hesione was a Trojan princess and distressed damsel for Hercules to save from a sea monster and blamed indirectly for the Trojan War—Hercules helping himself to the fine horses that Zeus sent in compensation for the abduction of Ganymede and causing strife among the gods. Classically referred to as Libya, Africa was considered to have a feminine ethnonym as well. The original world map was believed lost until a copy was found in Schloss Wolfegg in Austria in 1901 and purchased by the US Library of Congress (pictured)—though other uncut gores to be assembled into globes survive.