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Charta Cosmpgraphica, 1540

Charta Cosmpgraphica, 1540

Charta Cosmographica
Peter Apian (1495-1552)
Antwerp: s.n., 1540-64
GT3200 1540 A65

This famous heart-shaped world map is based upon a larger 1540 map by Gemma Frisius, a mathematician, cosmographer, cartographer, and physician who prepared the map for Peter Apian’s Cosmographicus Liber. The map first appeared in the Cosmographia of 1544 or 1545. The woodblock is done on a cordiform projection, set in a dramatic surround of clouds, figures and windheads. The cartography shows precise outlines for Africa, South America and the East coast of North America. However, North America is shown as a narrow peninsula – Baccalearium, referring to the nearby cod fishing industry – separated from mainland Asia by a reduced Pacific Ocean. The size of the islands of Cuba and Hispaniola are both grossly exaggerated. Cannibals are depicted in South America. The ugly, cadaverous heads in the South represent what were believed to be plague-bearing southerly winds. Ships, monsters, and mermaids appear in the seas. The signs of the zodiac and Ptolemaic climate zones can be seen in the borders, along with deity figures representing the twelve winds. Despite these fantasies, Peter Apian is considered a pioneer in the development of astronomical and geographical instruments.