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The World Map, 1300-1492: The Persistence of Tradition and Transformation (Center for American Places) [Hardcover]

Evelyn Edson
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: £34.50 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

30 May 2007 Center for American Places

In the two centuries before Columbus, mapmaking was transformed. The World Map, 1300–1492 investigates this important, transitional period of mapmaking. Beginning with a 1436 atlas of ten maps produced by Venetian Andrea Bianco, Evelyn Edson uses maps of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries to examine how the discoveries of missionaries and merchants affected the content and configuration of world maps.

She finds that both the makers and users of maps struggled with changes brought about by technological innovation—the compass, quadrant, and astrolabe—rediscovery of classical mapmaking approaches, and increased travel. To reconcile the tensions between the conservative and progressive worldviews, mapmakers used a careful blend of the old and the new to depict a world that was changing—and growing—before their eyes.

This engaging and informative study reveals how the ingenuity, creativity, and adaptability of these craftsmen helped pave the way for an age of discovery.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press (30 May 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801885892
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801885891
  • Product Dimensions: 24 x 17 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,489,822 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


A fine, unusual perspective of world history and cartographic influences.

(Midwest Book Review)

Attorneys who study maps either for work or pleasure — and many do — will enjoy Professor Evelyn Edson's The World Map, 1300–1492.

(Henry S. Cohn Federal Lawyer)

A work of thoughtful design and fascinating narrative.


Marvelous book.

(Tom Conley Portolan)

Edson has re-balanced our view of the later medieval period and in doing hs provided us with the latest scholarship in the field... The book is written in an easily accessible style and is very down to earth.

(Sarah Tyacke Journal of Economic and Social History of the Orient)

This study deserves a wide readership... Magisterial survey.

(Daniel Brownstein Renaissance Quarterly)

Throughout the work Evelyn Edson has cast her net widely, bringing under scrutiny many players, significant and lesser, who contributed to the making of maps in the two centures leading up to 1500. Her footnoes are extensive.

(Rodney Shirley Imcos Journal)

The book brings together current scholarship on all of the many maps it features, and the glue that holds it all together is Edson's intellectual breadth and curiosity.

(Naomi Reed Kline Speculum)

A comprehensive and complex picture of the changing face of medieval geography. With the mastery of a formidable palette of historiographic knowledge and well-reasoned discussions of the sources, The World Map, 1300–1492 will certainly remain an important work to consult for both medieval and early modern scholars for many years to come.

(Ian J. Aebel Terrae Incognitae)

About the Author

Evelyn Edson recently retired as professor of history at Piedmont Virginia Community College. She is the author of Mapping Time and Space: How Medieval Mapmakers Viewed Their World.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars The MInd-set of Maps 25 Mar 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a classic. It looks at the changes in the style and ethos of maps in the period leading up to the discovery of the Americas, how they reflect the different purposes for which they were designed, and what effect discoverieshad on them. It also looks at the relationship between maps and geographical and travel literature. As academic reviewers have said, it is only a pity that the quality of the black and white illustrations is not better: with maps, one needs to get right down into the detail. But I imagine the costs would have been prohibitive. If your vision of medieval geography is based on the schematic T&O map, this will blow your mind.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fine, unusual perspective of world history and cartographic influences. 3 Nov 2007
By Midwest Book Review - Published on
THE WORLD MAP 1300-1492: THE PERSISTENCE OF TRADITION AND TRANSFORMATION is an excellent choice for any college-level collection strong in cartographic or world history: it investigates the state of maps before Columbus, beginning with a 1436 atlas of ten maps produced by Bianco and using maps of the 14th and 15th centuries to consider how missionaries and merchants changed the state and presentation of the world. Makers and users of maps struggled with both technological change and changing world views brought on by discover, and mapmakers often blended old and new worlds to reconcile tensions between opposing viewpoints. The result is a fine, unusual perspective of world history and cartographic influences.
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