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Strange Maps

404 – Europe, Sunny Side Up


The German polymath Sebastian Münster (1488-1552) also was a cartographer, and one with a penchant for strange maps. He produced an anthropomorphic map of Europe as a queen (#141) for his Cosmographia (1544), and also this one, a map of Europe oriented south instead of north. The effect is quite literally disorienting, and provides an opportunity to re-examine an all too familiar geography from a different perspective. The Iberian peninsula, for example, seems too large this way up; but looks to be just about the right size if you turn the map the ‘right’ way up. Or is that just me?

This map was sent in by the people over at Martayan Lan, a New York dealer in rare books and fine antique maps, globes and atlases. Their website currently features a few of Munster’s more extraordinary maps, including this one.


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