Universal Atlas

Universal Atlas Map No. 6. Europe
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Map No. 6. Europe

Size: 424 x 544 mm

Latitude scale: 8 mm = 1º

League scale: 1 mm = 1 league

Five compass roses with 32 radii and a cross to mark the East.

Illustrations: Drawings in perspective of cities and governors.
 
In comparison with Diogo Homem’s 1570 map of Europe and Paolo Forlani’s engraving based on Homem’s map, this map encompasses far more territory towards the north, including the Baltic sea and the gulfs of Bothnia and Finland, the Scandinavia peninsula and the north of the European part of Russia. Less of Africa on the other hand is depicted due to the centre of the map having been shifted towards the north. The islands to the north of Britain appear in detail: the Hebrides and the Orkneys. The Shetland and Faeroe Islands can be seen in the north of the Atlantic Ocean. The outline of Iceland matches the one in Lopo Homem’s 1554 planisphere.
The most remarkable aspect of this map is the precision of the Scandinavian peninsula. Its southern outline matches the one in Lopo Homem’s 1554 planisphere. The details of the entire coastline are particularly noteworthy, such as, for example, the archipelago of the Lofoten and Vesteralen archipelago. The White sea is depicted quite well, as are the Solovetskie islands, and the Russian orthodox monastery of St Nicolas is marked on the coast and Kholmogory, an important centre in Russia at that time. The north of the Russian coastline only appears in the Atlas dated 1568 but the area covered to the east is smaller. In comparison with the other maps mentioned, this map features far more place names on the European continent and the neighbouring area of Asia and Africa, but not, however the names of the islands in the Aegean sea.
 
In addition to these details, the position of the territorial limits in northern Europe is atypical of traditional portolan charts of that period. They reveal the author’s knowledge of contemporary maps of western Europe, such as for example G. Mercator’s 1554 map of Europe, and other Dutch maps focusing particularly on northern Russia.
 
The frame surrounding the map is identical to the one around the 1561 Atlas.

Ludmila Kildushevskaya
Russian National Library
(Fragment of the Universal Atlas of Diogo Homem commentary volume)

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