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A Curious Map Showing Europe as a Queen

Spain is the head, Lithuania the left knee - you get the idea

A Curious Map Showing Europe as a Queen

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

The map was made in 1570 in Basel (Switzerland) by cartographer Sebastian Munster. During the late 16th century, a few map makers created this type of map, wherein countries and continents were given human or animal forms. Among the earliest examples is this map of Europa by Munster, which appeared in his Cosmography.

It’s unclear whether the correspondence between these nations and body parts is indicative of some kind of hierarchy among European states:

  • 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 worldly 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.
  • Map, and more background here at Wikipedia.

    Strange Maps #141

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