Phantom Atlas: Historische Weltkarten und ihre Fehler


Neues Buch von Ed Brooke-Hitching über historische Karten und speziell die Fehler auf ihnen, die falschen, ideologisch geformten Projektionen der Welt, die Phantom-Länder und natürlich die ganzen Monster: The Phantom Atlas: The Greatest Myths, Lies and Blunders on Maps. There be Dragons! (Bild oben: „a double-hemisphere celestial chart of Giovanni de Rossi, made in Rome in 1687…“)

phantomsIm Historia-Mag schreibt er über sein Projekt: The World As It Never Was.

Historically, cartographic misconceptions have commonly been disregarded. Perhaps this is because, viewed as mere errors, there is a tendency to dismiss them as insubstantial. But one need only glance at, say, the charts confidently proclaiming California to be an island; the mysterious, black magnetic mountain of Rupes Nigra at the North Pole or the depictions of Patagonia as a region of 9ft (2.7m) giants, to realise that these invented lands are crying out for exploration. How did these ideas come about? Why were they believed so widely? And how many other equally strange examples are there to find? I wanted to create an alternative atlas of the world – not as it ever existed, but as it was thought to be. The countries, islands, cities, mountains, rivers, continents and races collected in The Phantom Atlas are all entirely fictitious; and yet each was for a time – sometimes for centuries – real. How? Because they existed on maps.

Und seit Tagen schon haut er Beispiele aus dem Buch auf seinen Tweeties raus, hier ein paar Favs. Wonderful stuff.
(Und jaja, der Typ bei Domian. Verschont mich damit, who cares.)


A beautiful example of the map accompanying the Nuremberg Chronicle (1493) Credit: Altea Map Gallery. Note the creatures in the side panel.


The Hereford Mappa Mundi, the largest Medieval map in existence. C.1300. Jerusalem at centre, the Garden of Eden at the edge of the world


Mercator's 1578 Universalis Tabula..., featuring the mythical Mountains of the Moon on the African continent


Nolin's L’amerique, 1760, includes 'Davis Land', a phantom spotted by buccaneers. The later Dutch search lead to discovery of Easter Island


'The World in a Cloverleaf' map by Heinrich Bünting, 1581. The shape symbolises the Christian Trinity, with Jerusalem in the centre


Magnificent example by Visscher, c.1611, of sitting Leo Belgicus, map of Netherlands, one of rarest and most beautiful maps of the 17th cent


Willem Blaeu's world map of 1643, a supreme example of the mapmaker's art.


A Jain Cosmological map - the universe divided into Upper World of divine creatures, Middle of humans & animals, and Lower World of 7 hells


The gorgeous 3-metre-wide Catalan Atlas, created in 1375. Among all the colour and detail one can find the phantom island Hy Brasil


Sebastian Münster's famous chart of sea monsters, influenced by the 1539 Carta Marina of Olaus Magnus


Professor Orlando Ferguson's wonderfully insistent 'Map of the Square and Stationary Earth' (1893)


the island of Antillia, golden refuge of 7 bishops fleeing the Umayyad conquest of Hispania. Portolan of 1489


The mythical island of Hy Brazil, which periodically rose from the waters every seven years, can be found on Giorgio Callapoda’s map of 1565


Map of city of Tenochtitlan, capital of Aztec Empire, in centre of a lake (the blue border). Drawn in 1542 after its fall to Hernan Cortes


Ortelius' map of the Northern Region (1570), featuring the non-existent Groclant, and a southern Arctic land labelled 'Pygmies live here'


Missionary Map of 1906 - Note the Heathens numbered at 845 million


The first European map of Korea shows it as an island, from Ortelius' atlas of 1595


The elegant Selden Map, showing whole of S.E. Asia. Part of Bodleian’s collections from 1659, it was rediscovered in the basement in 2008.