Cosmographia (Sebastian Münster)

1544 book by Sebastian Münster / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The Cosmographia ("Cosmography") from 1544 by Sebastian Münster (1488–1552) is the earliest German-language description of the world.[1] It also contains the earliest preserved text in the Latvian language.

Title-page of first edition, printed in Basel by Heinrich Petri

It had numerous editions in different languages including Latin, French (translated by François de Belleforest), Italian and Czech. Only extracts have been translated into English. The last German edition was published in 1628, long after Munster's death. The Cosmographia was one of the most successful and popular books of the 16th century. It passed through 24 editions in 100 years. This success was due to the notable woodcuts (some by Hans Holbein the Younger, Urs Graf, Hans Rudolph Manuel Deutsch, and David Kandel). It was most important in reviving geography in 16th-century Europe. Among the notable maps within Cosmographia is the map "Tabula novarum insularum", which is credited as the first map to show the American continents as geographically discrete.[2]

His earlier geographic works were Germania descriptio (1530) and Mappa Europae (1536). In 1540, he published a Latin edition of Ptolemy's Geographia with illustrations.