Four hundred thirty years ago, in 1587, cartographer Urbano Monte created a world map depicting the Earth as how people in that time have understood it. It came with 60 individual sheets put together as an atlas of the world. And for the first time, the each of the sheets has been scanned digitally and put together to reveal a large early world map, measuring over nine feet by nine feet.
Not much his known about Monte but his work was fascinatingly done in great detail and experts believe it’s quite an advanced map made during that era. The map was digitally restored by David Rumsey, founder of David Rumsey Map Center at Stanford University, with the help of his nephew.
David Ramsey and nephew Brandon worked on digitally restoring Urbano Monte’s early world map.
Ramsey, a map collector, bought the ancient map and donated it to the map center.
It’s fascinating since the way the map is made is quite advanced for its day.
The Earth is portrayed as if someone was looking down from space.
Cartographers of that time don’t commonly use this perspective until the 20th century.
Historian of cartography Katherine Parker wrote in a recent essay revealing Monte was a member of a wealthy family in Milan. It is apparent that Monte had a penchant for geography that he wanted to understand all about the Earth.
Because Monte created the map with intricate detail, he was able to depict places correctly. For instance, he created Japan revealing more places compared to other maps made by cartographers during his time. This could be likely because he met with Japanese delegates who visited Milan in 1585, according to David Rumsey.
While Monte’s map was advanced, it also showed some of the early world misconceptions.
Monte included a portrait of himself on the map.
Monte’s map had mythical creatures and monsters on it.
There were unicorns, as well as monsters attacking ships.
Rumsey bought the map in September, with Brandon doing most of the scanning work and stitching. All the sheets fit almost perfectly, which Rumsey believes is what Monte had wanted all along.
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