Historical Atlases: The First Three Hundred Years, 1570-1870
Today we can walk into any well-stocked bookstore or library and find an array of historical atlases. The first thorough review of the source material, Historical Atlases traces how these collections of "maps for history"—maps whose sole purpose was to illustrate some historical moment or scene—came into being.
Beginning in the sixteenth century, and continuing down to the late nineteenth, Walter Goffart discusses milestones in the origins of historical atlases as well as individual maps illustrating historical events in alternating, paired chapters. He focuses on maps of the medieval period because the development of maps for history hinged particularly on portrayals of this segment of the postclassical, "modern" past. Goffart concludes the book with a detailed catalogue of more than 700 historical maps and atlases produced from 1570 to 1870.
Historical Atlases will immediately take its place as the single most important reference on its subject. Historians of cartography, medievalists, and anyone seriously interested in the role of maps in portraying history will find it invaluable.
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