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Western Hemisphere by Joannes de Stobnicza, 1512 (woodcut)

Ulugh Beg II 1507–1526
Stacked Wooden Logs


In the rare book Introductio in Ptolemei Cosmographiam . . .Impressum Cracovie per Florianum Ungleriam MDXII (from which the maps are often missing) are two leaves containing the east and west hemispheres taken directly from the two smaller inset maps at the top of Martin Waldseemüller's large world map of 1507 (Slide #312). The Polish savant Johannes de Stobnicza has constructed somewhat of a partial and subspherical projection truncated at the poles; and, according to Harrisse, may be considered imitating or foreboding the invention of Mercator's projection.

The New World exihibits a continuous coastline from 50° north to 40° south latitude. It ascibes a peninsular form to the southern regions and separates the new continent entirely from Asia. This shape, however, must not be interpreted as if it were a geographical expression altogether, but, in some respects, as a technical necessity in the early construction of globes. From the moment that a complete form had to be imparted to the southern continent, it is natural that cosmographers should have adopted the pyramidal one, as, judging from the representations of Africa and India then current, they were convinced that it was the necessary southern end of every continental region. The Asiatic coast is very similar to that found on Martin Behaim's famous globe of 1492 (Slide #258), thus not incorporating the improvements found in Cantino's and Waldseemüller's maps.

The names inscribed on the map appear to have been derived from a map from the Lusitano-Germanic cartography of Waldseemüller, et al. They include, on the north coast: Cabo de bona ventura; and on the southern coast: Arcay [Arcaybacoa], Caput de sado [deseado], Gorffo spemoso [fremoso], Caput S. crucis, Monte fregoso, Abba[tia omnium Sanctorum], and Allapego [Pagus S. pauli]. These place-names are also seen on Cantino, Caveri and Waldseemüller maps (Slide #309, #310, #312). On the western borders Stobnicza uses Terra incognita indicating, according to Harrisse, that he possessed only hypotheical reasons for delineating the Pacific coast. Stobnicza recorded Cuba under its traditional name Isabella as part of the American mainland, but otherwise only a few small details have been added, such as an elephant in South Africa and a bird in Madagascar.

Prior to the discovery of Waldseemüller's original, one can see in earlier literature (Harrisse, Nordenskiöld) that the Stobnicza maps were accorded a significance in cartographical history that they no longer possess.

LOCATION: Bodleian B.1.c.12, Oxford
John Carter Brown Library, Providence, R.I.

Size: 27 X 38 cm

*Harrisse, H., The Discovery of North America, pp. 279, 472-473, #92
*Nordenskiöld, A.E., Facsimile Atlas, Plate XXXIVI
*Shirley, R.W., The Mapping of the World, #33, p.35, Plate 36
*Winsor, J., Narrative and Critical History of America, vol. II, pp. 116-117.

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Very good information.

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Shah Sharaf Barlas


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