Sebastian Münster; 1489-1552.
A true renaissance man, this german linguist and mathematician
(and franciscan) may not have been as good a cartographer
as Gerard Mercator or Abraham Ortelius. But he is generally
credited for having been the first and foremost influence
in the spreading of geographical interest and knowledge throughout
His major publications must have been the most read books
of their time (beside religious texts).
He expanded on, and corrected, the work of Martin Waldseemüller,
on the basis of his massive correspondence with numerous german
Most of his maps were printed using the woodblock technique
of the day.
- Geographia in 1540-42-45-52, all in latin, with 27 ptolemaic
maps and 13 (growing to 27 in the last issue) modern maps.
- Cosmographia Universalis in 1544. In 6 volumes, it was also
published by his step son; Henrich Petri, who continued the
printing till 1588, well after Münster death of the plague.
Further editions in 9 volumes by Petri's son (Henri Sebastian)
till 1628 were rushed to print to compete against the more
successful Ortelius atlas, with Ortelius maps instead of Munster's!
All in all, 33 editions, 19 in german, 5 in latin, 6 in French,
2 in Italian and 1 in czech.
Lutetia Parisiorum urbs, toto orbe celeberrima notissimaquie,
caput regni Franciae.
This rare bird's eye view (14" X 10") was initially prepared
for the book II of the Cosmographia.
The present item was actually printed for a Latin edition
of this work (Only five latin issues are known to have been
ever published: 1550, 1552, 1554, 1559 & 1572).
This view was later recycled by Braun & Hogenberg for their
It depicts the city of Paris around 1530, with north on the
Notice the fortified walls and the moats, the strange representation
of Notre-Dame, the Arx Regis (Royal Castle) which will evolve
thru the centuries into present days Louvre, the colleges
in the "latin quarter", and the numerous wind mills.
The coat of arms of the French kingdom shows three lily flowers
on a blue field. (it will become white in 1604).
Latin text on verso.