The Hereford World Map: Medieval World Maps and Their Context

Front Cover
P. D. A. Harvey
British Library, 2006 - History - 434 pages

The famous Hereford world map, the "Mappa Mundi," dates from around 1300, and was painted on one skin of calf-parchment, less than 1 mm thick and measuring about 130 cm square. When we read of its frequent ordeals we may marvel that it is still in good condition and can be examined. Yet it is by no means the oldest surviving mappamundi, nor was it the largest: the Ebstorf map (destroyed by bombing in 1943) was of similar age and almost three times bigger.

Mappaemundi may be square or round, large or small, extremely simple or amazingly complex. Their geography is unfamiliar and many of their fauna are grotesque. Their importance is enormous: for their encyclopaedic ambition, for their place in devotional and romanesque iconography and for their attempts to document contemporary world views.

In setting the Hereford world map in context, P.D.A. Harvey and his twenty-four collaborators introduce us to medieval ideas of the world and man's place in it, in ways that will excite historians, geographers, students of art history, theologians, and anyone interested in the medieval world view.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.


context and history
early references 16841873
Herefords map in a medieval

16 other sections not shown

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2006)

P.D.A. Harvey is Professor Emeritus of Medieval History at Durham University.

Bibliographic information