A Curious Map Showing Europe as a Queen
Spain is the head, Lithuania the left knee - you get the idea
From a young age, Frank was fascinated by maps and atlases, and the stories they contained. Finding his birthplace on the map in the endpapers of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings only increased his interest in the mystery and message of maps.
While pursuing a career in journalism, Frank started a blog called Strange Maps, as a repository for the weird and wonderful cartography he found hidden in books, posing as everyday objects and (of course) floating around the Internet.
"Each map tells a story, but the stories told by your standard atlas for school or reference are limited and literal: they show only the most practical side of the world, its geography and its political divisions. Strange Maps aims to collect and comment on maps that do everything but that - maps that show the world from a different angle".
A remit that wide allows for a steady, varied diet of maps: Frank has been writing about strange maps since 2006, published a book on the subject in 2009 and joined Big Think in 2010. Readers send in new material daily, and he keeps bumping in to cartography that is delightfully obscure, amazingly beautiful, shockingly partisan, and more.
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:
Map, and more background here at Wikipedia.
Strange Maps #141
Got a strange map? Let me know at email@example.com.
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