February 17, 2005

Historical Artifact: The Mappa Mundi

Today, for history, we venture off to England to learn about the Mappa Mundi. The what, you ask? Well, it was news to me, too. The Mappa Mundi is a map, drawn in England in about 1290 a.d. It is a history of the world, writ as a map, and showing all of the world's wonders, including some fanciful creations and races that, I assume, never existed at all except in legend. It is a national treasure and if you wish to visit it and see it in person, it is at the Heresford Cathedral.

Superimposed on to the continents are drawings of the history of humankind and the marvels of the natural world. These 500 or so drawings include of around 420 cities and towns, 15 Biblical events, 33 plants, animals, birds and strange creatures, 32 images of the peoples of the world and 8 pictures from classical mythology.

Christopher de Hamel, a leading authority on medieval manuscripts, has said of the Mappa Mundi, '... it is without parallel the most important and most celebrated medieval map in any form, the most remarkable illustrated English manuscript of any kind, and certainly the greatest extant thirteenth-century pictorial manuscript.'

Sounds very cool to me.

By the way, while you're visiting, it sounds as if the Chained Library might also be worth a look. It dates from the 1600's.

Posted by Random Penseur at February 17, 2005 04:45 PM

Wow, some pretty neat stuff!

Posted by: Hannah at February 24, 2005 01:15 PM
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