Borgia World Map

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Description

While in Portugal in 1774, Cardinal Stefano Borgia chanced upon a map engraved on a metal sheet (now in the Vatican Library) and had prints made of the map’s image.

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While in Portugal in 1774, Cardinal Stefano Borgia chanced upon a map engraved on a metal sheet (now in the Vatican Library) and had prints made of the map’s image. As the original map on metal is a true map, not an engraved plate made for printing (where the map is drawn in reverse), an intermediate cast had to be made, in order to produce the printed copies. This is one of only ten surviving copies.

At first glance, the map (with south at the top) has some characteristics of medieval mappae mundi. Medieval map-makers tended to make their own lands larger in comparison with those of others. Italy, for example, is disproportionately large. The further from Europe, the more bizarre are the subjects depicted. The giants Gog and Magog inhabit the East. The Tartars (under their emperor Canis, possibly Genghis Khan) ‘dwell in towns of many tents of skin’, and their four-wheeled carts are pictured. Siberia is called ‘the land of illustrious women’. Further south, the Scythians ‘through want, sell their children in the market’ and worship a head placed on a pole.

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Object Name

» maps (documents)

Dated

From Array (circa) to Array (Array)

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Materials

» laid paper

Technique

» engraving (printing process)

Production place

» Europe

Collection

» Dallas Pratt Collection of Historical Maps

Dimensions

24.5x33inch

Object number

1988.94

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» Europeana
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