What is Big Think?  

We are Big Idea Hunters…

We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

Big Think Features:

12,000+ Expert Videos

1

Browse videos featuring experts across a wide range of disciplines, from personal health to business leadership to neuroscience.

Watch videos

World Renowned Bloggers

2

Big Think’s contributors offer expert analysis of the big ideas behind the news.

Go to blogs

Big Think Edge

3

Big Think’s Edge learning platform for career mentorship and professional development provides engaging and actionable courses delivered by the people who are shaping our future.

Find out more
Close

87 - The Whole World In A Cloverleaf

March 8, 2007, 2:01 AM

bunting-clover-1.jpg

Heinrich Bunting (1545-1606) knew the world didn’t really look like this. There are enough maps in his works (such as Itinerarium Sacrae Scripturae) to indicate he knew the continents had an irregular, and not a symbolic shape.

Yet he delighted in drawing other symbolic maps, examples of which can be anthropomorphic (Europe as a virgin) or hippomorphic (Asia as a winged horse). This particular map is a tribute to Buntings hometown Hanover, as the text above the map indicates: Die ganze Welt in einem Kleberblatt welches ist der Stadt Hannover meines lieben Vaterlandes Wapen (‘The Whole World in a Cloverleaf, Which Is The Coat of Arms of Hannover, My Dear Fatherland’).

The map shows a world divided into three parts (Europe, Asia and Africa), connected at a single central point: Jerusalem. This is essentially still the same symbolic map of the world as the one first devised by Saint Isidore in the seventh century. Isidore’s ’T and O’-shaped map, itself inspired by Scripture, influenced Christian European mapmaking up until the age of discovery.

That age would be the one Bunting grew up in. He and his contemporaries were among the first generations of Europeans to know Isidore was wrong – but it’s almost impossible to resist imagining how this centuries-old archetype of a map took a while to be erased out of the common memory of cartographers.

Bunting’s map is nice in that it combine symbolism with realism: in the bottom left corner a piece of land is named America. Strange is that a similar detached piece of territory at the top of the map is labelled Denmark and Sweden. Bunting must have known that Denmark was contiguous with the European Continent…

Some named countries and places (not all are easily readable) on the three continents are, left to right:

Europe: Hispanien (Spain), Mailand (Milan), Welschland (Welsh? Walloon? Country), Frankreich (France), Lothringen (Lorraine), Roma (Rome), Deutschland (Germany), Ungarn (Hungary), Polen (Poland), Preussen (Prussia), Griechenland (Greece), Türken (Turks)

Africa: Lybia, Egypten, Morenland (Land of the Moors), Königreich Melinde (Kingdom of Melinde) , Caput Bonae Spes (Cape of Good Hope)

Asia: Siria, Arabia, Mesopotamia, Armenia, Chaldea, Persia, India

 

87 - The Whole World In A C...

Newsletter: Share: