Publication locations:
Publication year:
25×34,5 cm
View: Picture 1
  1. Download PDF file: Picture 1
    PDF file (586.3 KB)
  2. Download PDF file: Picture 1
    High quality PDF (2.2 MB)
  3. Download PDF file: Picture 1
    JPG file (2.2 MB)
View: Picture 2
  1. Download PDF file: Picture 2
    PDF file (394.0 KB)
  2. Download PDF file: Picture 2
    High quality PDF (1.6 MB)
  3. Download PDF file: Picture 2
    JPG file (1.6 MB)

Gemeine beschreibung aller Mittnächtigen Länder/Schweden/Gothen/Nordwegien/Deñmarck/rc

Sebastian Münster
Publication period:
1544 - 1578

The year 1539 is an important one in the cartographic history of the North. In this year Olaus Magnus, a Swedish ecclesiastic, published his map of the Northern Countries, Carta Marina, which was printed on nine sheets and ranked among the largest maps yet made. When we start looking around for likely sources or models for Olaus' map, we run into a number of problems. He had travelled widely in Sweden and visited Norway and thus was far better informed about this region than his predecessors, as is amply proved by the superiority of his map to all previous maps of Scandinavia. When we come to the shape of Iceland it has been suggested that Olaus might have spoken to Iceland voyagers in the seaports of Northern Germany and the Netherlands, from them he could have picked up knowledge of many sorts. The ocean in Carta Marina is provided with number of whales, monsters and ships but inland we see pictures from national life and nature. Olaus' version of Iceland was quick to become the dominant one and was closely followed by many cartographers throughout the 16th century and into the 17th. The German scholar Sebastian Münster was one of the first to follow Olaus' example. In his most famous book, Cosmographia. Beschreibung aller Lender, we find a map of the Northern countries loosely based on Carta Marina. It is rather unsightly done and the only place-name is Heckl'berg (Hekla). The map was printed without change in German reprints of the book and in Latin editions with a title in that language, Septentrionales regiones.

The National and University Library of Iceland
Arngrimsgata 3 - 107 Reykjavik
Tel: 525 5600
Fax: 525 5615
Email: landsbokasafn (hjá) landsbokasafn.is