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Zwischen religiösem Produkt und Orientierungshilfe – Die Darstellung Afrikas auf Landkarten des 14. bis 16. Jahrhunderts

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Author(s): Patrick Loewert

Journal: Skriptum : Studentische Onlinezeitschrift für Geschichte und Geschichtsdidaktik
ISSN 2192-4457

Volume: 2;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 17;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: Geography | Africa | Map | Religion

ABSTRACT
The importance of historical maps for the study of history will be discussed in the essay „Zwischen religiösem Produkt und Orientierungshilfe – Die Darstellung Afrikas auf Landkarten des 14. bis 16. Jahrhunderts“ (Between a Religious Product and a Orientation Guide – The Representation of Africa on Maps from the 14th to the 16th Century) by Patrick Loewert. The author focuses on the mapping of Africa in the late Middle Ages. The following maps serve as examples: Theatrium Orbis Terrarum (1570), Dulcerts Map (1339) and the famous Ebstorfer world map (from the beginning of the 14th century). The maps show that the early depictions of landscapes did not to any degree offer a realistic image. Thus, these maps were intended for a different purpose. The main intention of the richly illuminated world maps was not the precise depiction of reality according to geographical knowledge, but rather something that goes beyond the scope of this function. The main goal was to show the unknown territory and to describe this area with the help of creatures of myth and legend as well as religious symbols. On the one hand, this is due to the lack of geographical knowledge; on the other, it shows the urge of the medieval people to interpret and link geographical knowledge with religious ideas. The essay shows this amalgamation of mundane and spiritual worlds in medieval times, which is entirely unfamiliar for us today.
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