Tagged: Cartography

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.

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” 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 .

Hereford Map, Jerusalem again as centre and the Translatio Imperii

We said that the “centre of the world” is a notion which always stems from social construction, from human perception and not from a physical reality. In this regard we do know, today, that Jerusalem is not a physical centre of our Planet; unless we followed the idea that all points of the Planet are its centre: so Jerusalem would be one out of an infinity.

Mapping Roman legions: how “limits” tell about the centre

Centrality can tell about itself right from the centre ‘where power dwells,’ even if its narrative is usually charged with ideology: discourse analysis of the centre can be useful when done in critical préjugés-free ways.

But how periphery, borders, frontiers, “outsiders”, “outskirts”, limits, limitates can tell about the centre and about power dwelling in this centre? How can they tell its development, apogee, decadence, decline and even collapse? We can see the example of the Roman Empire.