CENTRES AND CENTRALITIES / CENTRES ET CENTRALITES Towards the heart of the matter

Poster of Madam Secretary, Season 1

Madam Secretary, and the Crimea to Moscow?

Our short post is to spotlight a small, maybe banal, yet very interesting, representation of the Crimea is US-and-Russia dialectics, usually a subject of imagination, even speculation, in political drama TV series. The Crimea, in one of the programme’s episodes, is presented as part of Russia, and not Ukraine.

Detail from the Charta Cosmographica, Zeus and Mars

Charta Cosmographica, from knowledge to power

The European Age of Discoveries has given us astonishing maps. Power relations of our present world were shaped out during that age. Today we have a short passage on the interesting power relations as shown in the Gemma Frisius’ and Peter Apian’s Charta Cosmographica from 1544. This map is a developed version of a famous precursor, Martin Waldseemüller’s Universalis Cosmographica, but with some different interesting features that can attest some shift in the centre of the map: we will show how the centre of the map shifted from knowledge (Waldseemüller’s) to power (Frisius’) and how cartography, being knowledge, served to build power and just power.

Rue Justinien's street sign, Beirut

Justinian for a political legitimacy of Beirut

Once there is a need to build a political centre the “builders” go to space-time to find legitimacy: in the case of Beirut many factors participated in this construction, and one of them is certainly the Justinian one. The Justinian Law was at the base of European civilisation and was quite a pertinent argument in the quest for legitimacy of a new sovereign political centre. We can here ask some further research questions:

Rose of Bohemia, by Chr. Vetter, 1668

Rose of Bohemia, style in Prague and roots in Vienna

Geography is the science which studies space and its construction, not only its physical construction but also its social/political one. In other terms geography can be the discipline in quest for meaning of space. And cartography is the science of interpretation of power relations and communicating it via maps. In the light of these tow definitions we exposed, on this site, the rapports between the political centre, space and representation in some famous maps. First we worked on the maps of Heinrich Bunting: Jerusalem and Europe. Then we saw the Dutch Lion of Visscher.

Today our map is the BOHEMIAE ROSA, by Chr. Vetter, Vienna, 1668, a map representing Bohemia as a rose centred on Prague.

Leo Hollandicus, by C. Visscher, 1648

“Leo Hollandicus” of Visscher, The Centre and the Name

Dutch cartography has been one of the most elaborate and most refined in the world since the XVIth Century. A magnificent example of this cartography is the Leo Hollandicus map (1648) by Claes Janzsoon Visscher of Amsterdam, a striking representation of the Province of Holland embedded with political/ideological meaning (Figure 1). We analyse centrality as it is represented in this map and then we draw some results and horizons for further reasearch .