Mapping Time and Space: How Medieval Mapmakers Viewed Their World

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British Library, 1999 - History - 210 pages
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Medieval world maps are often seen today as quaint and amusing artefacts that are hopelessly wrong. Evelyn Edson demonstrates that the medieval world view, as expressed in maps, was not simply a matter of physical measurements, but of placing the earth in a philosophical and religious context. Hence many medieval maps show the passage of time and a narrative of human spiritual development including creation, the coming of Christ, and the Last Judgement.

Professor Edson makes clear that modern assumptions concerning maps are of little value, and one cannot assume that the maps were used for the same purpose or had the same meaning as they have today. In fact the differences in structure and content can give us an intriguing view of how medieval makers and readers saw their world.

A wide range of manuscripts are surveyed including works of history (both 'universal histories' and more locally-focused chronicles), Easter and calendar manuscripts, individual maps including such famous wall maps as the Ebstorf Map and the Hereford Mappa Mundi, and lastly maps which were designed to illustrate religious visions.

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About the author (1999)

Evelyn Edson is Professor of History at Piedmont Virginia Community College, USA.

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