The story of an unhappy Doge.

Willima Frazers 19th centrfrf Willima Frazers 19th centrf Willima Frazers 19th centr fhgyWillima Frazers 19th centrf

 

Spending the day researching and producing my latest project.  Whilst wandering in virtual space through the exhibition space at the British Library, I came across this beautiful 19th century copy of an older map of the world.  The detail is breathtaking, and the map itself records not just the geographical understanding of that time, but also the belief systems that dominated the European viewpoint in the 1400’s .

In  William Frazers 19th century copy of a map made in 1450 by Fra Mauro, South is at the top, and thus appears upside down to us.  Europe is top right , Africa below, Asia to the right. When the original was drawn the Europeans had not yet discovered the Americas or Australia.

Fra Mauro was commissioned by the Venetians to produce the map, but the Doge was unhappy at the small size of Venice in relation to the world. He was reported to say ‘ then make the world smaller’. Twas ever thus.  But glad to say he didn’t get his way.

Mauro placed the Garden of Eden outside the world, unusually for the time as it was generally portrayed to be in the extreme East.  Theologians were pondering where paradise could exist on earth, and in Mauro’s map Eden is linked symbolically to the world through the landscape and the four rivers flowing through the walls.

The elements are represented by the diagram in the top right, earth is brown and green, then water followed by fire and the outer ring of air.

In the left hand corner is the diagram of the Ptolemaic system, an antecedent of the map of the solar system. This understanding was generally accepted until the 16th century , when astronomers put forward alternative theories.

The exhibition is now closed, but the online link is http://www.bl.uk/magnificentmaps/map2.html

Willima Frazers 19th centrfrfs

 

 

 

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “The story of an unhappy Doge.

  1. Pamela Baker

    Great article – so intriquing. It amazes me how much theologians and scientists were so ahead of their time in thought during the 14-15th centuries. As one who loves ancient history, this was very informative. Love the maps also and how they were able to piece so much of the world together.Thank goodness they took Eden off the map!!

    Like

    Reply
    1. amonikabyanyuvva Post author

      Well they took it off the map, but the idea was that Eden was still somewhere to aspire to, and was connected somehow to the earh. I love thinking about how the context of when and where we live affects our world vision. Fascinating. Thank you for your reply. Its lovely to know it resonates with someone somewhere!

      Like

      Reply

I like to hear from you, so tell me what you think.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s