Johannes Schöner's Globe of 1520 (reproduction) During Mughal Emperor Ulugh Beg II 1507–1526
Ulugh Beg II 1507–1526
Schöner's Nuremberg Globe.
A mounted wooden globe, made by Johann Schöner at Bemberg in 1520, and which he brought with him, in 1524, to Nuremberg, where it is still preserved, and on exhibition in the Germanisches National Museum. Its total height is 57 cm, the diameter, 35.5 cm.
On the sea which bathes the Antarctic regions of the western hemisphere, we read the following verse:
Hic globus immesum completens partibus orbem
Atque typum teretis sinuoso corpore mundi
Est studio vigili glomeratus certe duorum
Vnitu que impensis: tribuit nam cuncta Ioannes
Seyler ad illius quae, commoda censuit usus
Alter Joannes Schöner multa catus arte
In spiram hanc molem compegerat apte
Est impressis signavit ubique figuris
Quando salutiferi partus numeravimus annos
Mille & quingentos & quatuor addita lustra
Schöner's 1520 Globe.
The globes constructed by the priest, mathematician, astonomer, cartographer and cosmographer Johannes Schöner (1477-1547) are based upon Martin Waldseemüller's view of the world (Slide #312), with modifications based upon existing maps and the eary sixteenth century voyages of discovery. Several prints of the first, small globe were produced using woodcuts in 1515. THe second, which replaced the Behaim Globe of 1492 (Slide #258) in the Nuremberg Town Hall, was a hand-painted unicum made in 1520. This large, superbly preserved globe is, like Behaim's famous Erdapfel [potato], one of the very special cartographical treasures belonging to the Germanisches Nationalmuseum in Nuremberg.
The new World is divided into five parts:
1. Terra Corterealis [Newfoundland]
2. North America, apearing as an island and named Terra de Cuba and Parias
3. the Caribbean islands
4. South America, as a large island south of the Antilles, called America vel Brasilia sive Papagalli Terra
5. separated from South America by narrow straits, an Antarctic landmass called Brasilia inferior
The Pacific Ocean is poorly illustrated, particularly to the north; and the islands called Zipangri [Japan] and the islands in the Far East are shown not very far from the North American "island".
As we have already stated, when describing Schöner's globe of 1515, the configurations and nomenclature proceed from a Portuguese or from a Lusitano-Germanic map of our fourth type, akin to Canerio. A legend on the globe serves to explain the historical data upon which Schöner based his cartographical names and legends:
Haec [regio] per Hispanos et Portugalenses frequentatis navigationibus inventa circa annos Domini 1492. Quorum Capitanei fuere Christophorus Columbus Genuensis primus. Petrus Aliares [Pedralvarez Cabral] secundus Americusque Vesputius tertius.
From this we must infer that Schöner's knowledge of Vespuccius' voyages was chiefly derived from the account of the latter's third expedition, so often printed separately. Otherwise, he would have placed the Florentine navigator before Cabral, who returned only in 1501, although his discovery of Brazil was known in Europe the year previous. On the other hand, we fail to perceive how, with such notions, he could call the south continental regions of the New World, America; and write in 1515, thus supporting an unjust attribution: America siue Amerigen nouus mundus: dicta ab eius inuentore Americo Vesputio, qui eam reperit Anno domini l497.
Dr. Ghillany has given a good but reduced facsimile of that globe, in his work on Behaim. See Harrisse, page 316, for the nomenclature, revised on the original preserved at Nuremberg.
Schöner's Model Globe.
This is the globe which a Spaniard sent to some gentleman (in Nuremberg ?), and which Schöner used for making his own globe of 1523:
Wishing to add something to this marvellous exploration of the earth, so that what seems wonderful when read shall appear more likely when seen with the eyes, I have endeavoured to make this globe in following a perfect model which a Spaniard has obligingly sent to a gentleman . . .
Schöner's Timiripa Globe.
In 1523, Johann Schöner wrote a small tract bearing this title:
An epistle from Johann Schöner, of Carlstadt, concerning the islands and regions recently discovered by command of the Most Serene Kings of Castile and Portugal, and a Geographical Globe to the use of persons wishing to annotate the course of those navigations
That tract is dated from a place which the author calls Timiripa, in the year 1523: Millesimo quingentesimo uigesimotertio. Do we possess, either in the shape of a sphere, or as mere engraved gores, the globe mentioned in the above title ? According to Harrisse, there is not the slightest evidence, or indication of any kind, that we possess that globe, or the gores which served to make it.
Gores of a globe 710 by 310 mm. were published in reduced facsimile, from a printed woodcut, at Munich in 1885. These, on several occasions, have been positively stated to be the identical gores which were used to construct the globe announced by Schöner in 1523, on the title of his Timiripa tract. The statement is absolutely erroneous according to Harrisse; he attemts to prove that those gores are not the work of Schöner, nor derived from any of his globes, maps, or even geographical notions by the following argument.
It must be first stated that the original woodcut, from which the reprint was made recently, does not bear the date of 1523, or the name of Schöner. On the contrary it is entirely anonymous and dateless. On the contrary, there is no special extrinsic sign permitting those gores to be ascribed to the Nuremberg mathematician, or to connect them with the above mentioned Timiripa pamphlet, or any other work written by him in 1523, before or afterwards, on the banks of the Ehrenbach or elsewhere. Nor can anyone justly pretend to recognize, either in the delineations or lettering, the style of Schöner; for nothing can be more different from the globes which that savant has described, depicted, caligraphed, or caused to be engraved and printed at any time.
It follows that the averment can only be a personal inference, or a fancied deduction. In the present instance, the chief argument presented in support of the asseveration is that the above-mentioned pamphlet refers, for details concerning adventures experienced, and extraordinary men and animals seen by Magellan, to the Epistle of Maximilianus Transylvanus, which cites certain geographical names that are also on the Munich gores.
The simple fact that Schöner refers to the Epistle of Maximilianus, and that brief designations mentioned in the latter figure in the gores, is hardly a proof that these gores were made by Schöner. Maximilianus' Epistle was printed at Cologne in January, 1523, and frequently since. As it made known everywhere the great discovery of the Strait, other cosmographers and globe makers than Schöner may have used the same data. In fact, for several years the geographers in Central Europe had no other means of information on the subject; and globes constructed in or after 1523 may well have borrowed their nomenclature for the Moluccas, and for Magellan's voyage, from that Epistle, without our being obliged to limit such a borrowing to the globe made by Schöner in that year.
Let us now examine those gores intrinsically. They are alleged to have been drawn in 1523, and to be based upon a Spanish map sent from Spain to Germany.
In reply, everyone who is conversant with Spanish discoveries and cartographical methods will hesitate to admit that a map made in Spain so early as 1523, could present the northeastern configurations exhibited in those gores. The chief reason is that at Seville, in 1523, they did not yet possess such geographic data, and the Casa de Contratacion was not accustomed to mar its charts with hypothetical notions. The gores set forth a continuous coast line extending from La Florida to the Baccalaos, with that peculiar and excessive trend eastward which is one of the distinctive traits of the Spanish maps constructed after the discoveries of Estevam Gomez (1525); the earliest specimen of which, known at this day, is the Weimar 1527 chart. Now there is only one Spanish expedition sent to our east coast, before 1523, which could have yielded some cartographical information concerning the country north of the Floridian peninsula. It is the slave-hunting raid of Ayllon and Matienzo in 1521; and it was absolutely limited to a single point of the coast, by 33° 30' north latitude. Nor is it likely to have been followed by an invoice to Spain of cartographical documents concerning such an expedition.
In 1527 they certainly possessed in Spain notions about Peru, but as the information, cartographically speaking, was vague, we do not yet see the Peruvian coast depicted in the Weimar map of that date. In 1529, after the expeditions of Pizarro and Almagro, a cosmographer like Ribero (Slide #332) could not but come to the conclusion that the Pacific coast extended northwards from the point where Magellan had left it to sail in search of the Moluccas. Yet, in his map of 1529, the Chilian seaboard is entirely blank. So with the Turin map north of Florida, which had not yet been explored by Gomez, but which was suspected to be connected with the Baccalaos.
True it is that the Spanish Government had been informed and believed, ever since the first expedition of John Cabot, that there was west of Cuba, a continent which stretched from a high point at the north to a very low point at the south. But it laid no claim to that country, which was then considered to be barren, and chiefly within the Portuguese line of demarcation. It is therefore only in Lusitanian charts and their Germanic derivatives, that in the first quarter of the sixteenth century we see the continental coast depicted, excepting always the La Cosa planisphere of 1500 (Slide #308), which does not seem to have found imitators in Spain; and which, besides, depicts the northeast coast in a form entirely different from that of the Munich gores and of the Weimar charts. And if the reader wishes to form an idea of the appearance of Spanish maps made between the voyage of Magellan and the exploration of the north-east coast by Gomez, he has only to examine the elaborate Turin map, which ignores all lands whatever north of Florida.
Be that as it may, whether the Spanish model did or did not present an unbroken coast line north of the equator, or any coast at all, we are in a position to demonstrate that such a configuration as is depicted for the northern region in the Munich gores, was not adopted by Schöner, nor inserted in the globe which he constructed in 1523.
This is proved by his own, although very succinct, mention of that globe, as we find it in the tract above described; and where he expressly states that his new globe differed from the preceding one made by him, only as regards the geographical facts recently disclosed by the voyage of Magellan. After describing the discovery accomplished by that great navigator, his untimely death, and the appointment of his successor to command the squadron on the homeward trip, Schöner continues as follows:
After sailing in various directions, so that no portion of the route should remain unexplored, he returned to Spain, arriving December 6th, one thousand five hundred and twenty-two, with [only] one ship and eighteen men, the rest having been swallowed up by the sea. As regards their marvellous adventures, and the wonderful men and animals seen by them, Your Worship will obtain information by reading at length the Epistle concerning the Molucca islands addressed by Maximilian of Transylvania to the Cardinal Archbishop of Salzburg. Wishing to add somewhat to this marvelous exploration of the earth, so that what seems wonderful when read, shall appear more likely when seen with the eyes, I have tried to make this globe an imitation of a perfect model which a Spaniard has sent to a gentleman. Withal, I meant not to set aside my former globe as it exhibited all which men then were permitted to learn regarding hidden portions of the world; it has been faithfully reproduced, so far as concordant, so that things formerly discovered should not be at variance with those which have since been found . . . .
It is impossible to express one's intentions in clearer language. As to the preceding globe to which Schöner alludes, and which, he says, was modified only in so far as was necessary to insert the geographical results of Magellan's voyage, it is the globe constructed and signed by him in 1520, which we still possess. Now, what are the configurations of this globe of 1520 ? Taking certain countries which were beyond the range of Magellan's discovery, and which we must infer from Schöner's own declarations remained untouched, do they exhibit the continuous coast line which in the Munich gores connects North with South America, and sets forth an unbroken seaboard from Labrador to Brazil ?
The globe of 1520 exhibits instead, at the north, the Lusitano-Germanic configuration which Schöner had adopted ever since he commenced constructing spheres. In other words, he separates entirely the northern from the southern continent in the latitude of 10° north; and thus remains faithful to a peculiar delineation which dates from the beginning of, the sixteenth century. The globe of 1523 therefore must have reproduced, north of the equatorial line, the configurations of the globe of 1520; not only for the reasons which we have just derived from Schöner's own expressions, but because his model map could furnish him new data only concerning the southern continent. Magellan first sighted America when off Cape St. Augustine, by about 8° south latitude; whence he navigated southwards until he reached the Strait. And as to the Strait, it is not likely to have been placed in the Bay of St. Julia (Sinus Juliana), as in the Munich gores, but seven degrees further south; with some legend recalling the discovery accomplished by Magellan, and which prompted Schöner to construct his globe of 1523, and to write his Timiripa tract. Still less would Schöner have included Cuba among the northernmost Lucayas, and left anonymous the true delineation of that island. Senotormus for Temistitan, Mederaor Madera, Espaliola for Española and Brisiliri for Brasilieri, will doubtless also appear to be strange spelling on the part of such a learned geographer as Schöner was. We are inclined to see in those gores a late derivative of the map consulted by Gemma Phrysius for constructing the mappamundi which he has added to his numerous editions of the Cosmographia of Apianus, and so often copied. After crossing the newly discovered passage, none of his ships ranged the Pacific coast higher than the 40th south parallel. It follows that a Spanish map of 1522-1523, constructed to illustrate the voyage of Magellan, limited its cartographical innovations to the apex of the continent. of South America. And we should not forget that it was the discovery of the Strait alone which prompted Johann Schöner to modify his globe of 1520. This close chain of facts and deductions lacks, nevertheless, one more link to amount to an absolute proof, owing to a very peculiar and unexpected abe
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