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Cartographic Curiosities

Specialty Maps

?1535, Daniel's Dream, Germany, maker unknown.
Also known as the "Wittenberg World Map," this map was based on the prophecy from Chapter 7 of the book of Daniel, which speaks of "the four winds of the heaven...and four great beasts [which] came up from the sea." Certain theologians at Wittenberg inte rpreted this dream as a foretelling of the victory of the Turks at Mohacs in 1526, and the image remained popular for several decades after. This particular version of the map was taken from a German Bible printed in 1535, where it was used as an illustr ation for the Book of Daniel. The first impression of the map was made around 1530, by the printer Hans Lufft.

1777, Das Reich der Liebe, Leipzig, Johann Gottleib Immanuel Breitkopf.
Allegorical "Maps of Love," such as this one, first appeared in the late eighteenth century and, while rare, were produced from time to time over the course of the next hundred years. Sometimes they outlined a progression through love and marriage, with such locations as Baby Land and Squabble Marsh. Others, like the one seen here, are divided according to the various aspects of love.

1790, England, London, Gillray (?)
Near the end of the eighteenth century, there appeared a number of humorous and satirical maps depicting caricatured people in the forms of various nations. This is one of the earliest known examples of this kind of map, and it appears to be a forerunner of the Geography Bewitched series.

1794, Geography Bewitched! London, Bowles and Carver.
These satirical maps depict England and Scotland as caricatured people in the shape of each country.

1868, Geographical Fun, London, William Harvey.
Upon their first publication, the artist described these maps as "humorous outlines of various countries, with an introduction and descriptive lines," intended to make geography enjoyable and accessible to children. By today's standards, some of these pi ctures might appear stereotypical, and even slightly offensive. However, at the time, they were quite popular, and they reflect the contemporary conceptions (or misconceptions) of these countries. The countries represented are: Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Prussia, Spain/Portugal, Scotland, and Wales.

1805, The Paths of Life, Philadelphia, B. Johnson.
This allegorical map clearly (if not subtly) outlines the different potential courses that a person's life can take. From "Parental Care Hall," a person can either pass through "Discreet County" and "Humble District" towards "Happy Old Age Hall" and "Pea ceful Ocean," or get caught in "Gaming Quicksands," "Poverty Maze," and "Misery Square" on the way to "Despair Gulph" and the "Bottomless Pit."



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Last updated August 10, 2000.