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Mercator In The Wilderness

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Chapter Summary

This chapter explores an interesting corner of 16th-century biblical scholarship. The printing of the Ptolemaic maps at Bologna and subsequently at Rome, Florence, Ulm, and again Rome, and a new edition by Martin Waldseemuller in Strassburg, had made scholars more aware of the importance of maps. In 1532, about ten years after Cranach produced his picture map, the scholar Jacob Ziegler published at Strassburg his geographical researches with a set of very different maps in his Quae intus continentur. In 1537, Girardus Mercator, a young man of 25, published at Louvain his first map, 'Amplissima Terrae Sanctae Descriptio ad Utriusque Testamenti Intelligentiam'. Wissenburg's map depends partly on Ziegler for its outline and other features, but in contrast it magnifies enormously the Israelites' route through the wilderness, and it gives a more accurate shape for the Dead Sea.

Keywords: Mercator; Ptolemaic maps; Wolfgang Wissenburg's map; Ziegler's maps



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