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Cartographica Helvetica


Alfred Höhn:

The 1537 map of Hegau and Schwarzwald by Sebastian Münster

Cartographica Helvetica 3 (1991) 15–21


In his 1537 Hegau and Schwarzwald map, Sebastian Münster (1488–1552) mentioned the Karst source near Donaueschingen as the origin of the Donau River. This single map sheet was discovered in 1955 in the Coburg State Library. Peter H. Meurer found a second print in the Herzog August Library in Wolfenbüttel.

This woodcut map is oriented to the south and has no geographical grid net. Its topography appears to be a derivation of the Waldseemüller map but there are many features reflecting Münster's improved knowledge. The map was produced at the beginning of the planning phase when Münster made an appeal in 1528 for nature descriptions, illustrations and maps for a new geographical atlas. Münster finally published about 150 maps of different qualities. The more accurate maps are those of areas which he had inspected himself or where he could refer to existing material from reliable cartographers. The Hegau and Schwarzwald map is considered to be one of the better maps containing Münster's own fieldwork. Compared to a modern map it shows an amazing accuracy.

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