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141 - Europe As A Queen

July 6, 2007, 6:38 PM

europeasaqueen.jpg

Europe and Queen were two pretty awful soft metal bands from the Eighties, but fortunately, neither has anything to do with this anthropomorphic map of Europe as a queen.

The map was made in 1570 in Basel (Switzerland) by cartographer Sebastian Munster and is/was to be had for a mere US$ 1.400 right here, one of many rather excellent maps and map-related prints on sale at www.raremaps.com (not affiliated with this humble blog).

In their description of this map, the sellers add: “During the late 16th century, a few map makers created these now highly prized map images, wherein countries and continents were given human or animal forms. Among the earliest examples is this map of Europa by Munster, which appeared in Munster’s Cosmography.”

It’s unclear if the correspondence between these nations and body parts is indicative of some kind of hierarchy among European states. Anyways, here’s an overview:

  • HISPANIA (Spain) constitutes the head of Europe;
  • GALLIA (France) is the upper chest;
  • GERMANIA is the bosom;
  • ITALIA is Europe’s right arm, with SICILIA being the globus cruciger, the cross-bearing orb signifying wordly power throughout the Middle Ages;
  • DANIA (Denmark) is the left arm of Europe, holding what appears to be a ceremonial sword, another classic piece of regalia;
  • BOHEMIA (the Czech lands) is a circular area close to Europe’s stomach;
  • VNGARIA (Hungary) and SCLAVONIA (land of the southern Slavs) are the right thigh and and VANDALIA (probably a reference to the Wends, a collective name for Slavic peoples in present-day eastern Germany) and POLONIA form the left thigh of Europe;
  • LITHVANIA must be about the spot of Europe’s left knee;
  • LIVONIA, MACEDONIA , BVLGARIA, MOSCOVIA, MOREA (the mediaeval name for the Peloponnese peninsula), GRAECIA, SCYTHIA (present-day Bulgaria), TARTARIA (parts of present-day Russia) are folds ever further down Europe’s flowing red dress.
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    141 - Europe As A Queen

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