History of Cartography (II)

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Cartography in the Middle Ages

The gloomy time of the Middle Ages was lying over Europe. The Arabian heaths, their knowledge and their books were thrown into the fire of the Christian inquisition or fled. Superstition, ignorance and intolerance were also reflecting in the representation of the world.


Though there wasn’t any hint regarding the disk-form in the bible, it was picked up by the catholic church and defended until the late Middle Ages, although it was disproved by the navigators of the Greeks, Phoenicians and the Arabs. Galileo Galilei (2/15/1564 – 1/8/1642) with his heliocentric universe was a famous victim of the inquisition, eventually because of his shout:

“Eppur si muove”
(and yet it moves)

Obwohl es in der Bibel keinen Hinweis auf eine Scheibenform der Erde gibt













The maps in the Middle Ages developed mostly through traveller, businessmen, deputies of the church or the army. Nikolaus Cusanus (1401 – 1464) often travelled through Europe for the Pope, with the Jacobs-bar and torquetum (Tuerkengeraet, predecessor of the theodolit). For the time he was living, he was well educated (theologian, natural and rights scientist, philosopher etc.) and familiar with cartography of Ptolemaist and the Portulan maps. As he knew the different methods of printing he let print a map of Germany in Eichstädt.