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Cartographica Helvetica


Armin Wolf:

The Ebstorf mappamundi. Picture of creation and sign of sovereignty

Cartographica Helvetica 3 (1991) 28–32


The mappamundi from the Ebstorf monastery, unfortunately lost during World War II, was produced between around 1235 and 1239 at the monastery itself and was probably a version of a lost draught (dated around 1214). The spiritus rector of the Ebstorf map was the widely travelled and well-educated jurist Provost of Ebstorf, Gervasius of Tilbury.

The Ebstorf map is a spatial and historical portrait of the medieval world. It is not only a geographical map but also a didactic encyclopedia, an iconographic illustration of God's creation, politically a Herrschaftszeichen, and, from the religious point of view, a devotional and meditative depiction.

Bibliographic note

  • Edited version of: Die Ebstorfer Weltkarte. Schöpfungsbild und Herrschaftszeichen. In: Neue Zürcher Zeitung (24 February 1990).
  • Also published as: Ikonologie der Ebstorfer Weltkarte und politische Situation des Jahres 1239. Zum Weltbild des Gervasius von Tilbury am welfischen Hofe. In: Ein Weltbild vor Kolumbus. Die Ebstorfer Weltkarte. Interdisziplinäres Colloquium 1988. ed. Hartmut Kugler. Weinheim, 1991. pp. 54–116.

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