Medieval world maps frequently contain legends written in Latin and a range of European vernaculars. Maps frequently thematise language choice, using different languages to represent different geographical regions, or to distinguish between cartographic spaces. The Anglo-Saxon Cotton map (c. 1050), the maps of Matthew Paris (1250s), the Ebstorf map (13th century), and the Hereford map (c. 1300) all include legends written in Latin and at least one vernacular language. This paper focuses its examination on an exceptionally detailed Icelandic world map (c. 1250) which contains inscriptions written in Latin, Old Norse, and a combination of the two. This paper compares the distribution of languages across a range of medieval world maps in order to contextualise their vernacular contributions, and define new interpretative terrain for the study of medieval multilingualism.
The manuscript book, M I 155, in the Olomouc Research Library, contains various preaching and theological texts. It also hides on its backend sheet an almost unknown world map from the second half of the 15th century. It is worth seeing not only for its detailed processing of Central Europe, which enables us to think about its place of origin, but also because of its special depiction of climatic zones. These were added to the map by the rubricator, who not only chose the unusual division of nine climatic zones, but apparently took special care about delimiting concrete zones, curved their border lines and even corrected positions of several place names. Analyses of these climatic zones is the topic of this paper.
When looking at medieval Mappae Mundi, historians of geography have very often tended to make the difference between ‘realistic’, measured representations (which were already pointing into the future of cartography) and more ‘symbolic’, and (implicitly) non-realistic, fantastic etc. ways of showing the space humans lived in. The paper will show some examples that are blurring the borders between these ideas and will try to show how realistic Geography of Salvation actually was.