Verdex
Verdex
9 August 2022, 07:23

Europe as a girl: geographical map of Europa regina

Europe as a girl: geographical map of Europa regina
In the 16th century, a new type of map appeared in cartography, which gained unprecedented popularity - Europa regina, or "Queen of Europe". In the Middle Ages, as a rule, Jerusalem was the center of the world on European maps. The rest of the world was divided into three parts: Europe, Asia and Africa. Over time, the situation changed: they looked at the world differently, and Europe began to be depicted in more detail, making it the main object on the map. In 1537, the Tyrolean poet Johannes Putsch introduced the first Europa regina, a depiction of Europe with its cities, rivers and mountains in the form of a female figure.
A graceful girl is dressed in a long dress. Its head is the Iberian Peninsula, the Pyrenees form an isthmus that separates Spain from France (Gaul), then there is the Holy Roman Empire and Bohemia. The right hand is Italy (holding the orb), the left hand is Denmark (holding the scepter). At the very bottom is the hem of the dress: Hungary, Poland, Bulgaria, Macedonia and other countries. There are different versions of the Europa regina, in which the states are arranged in different ways in relation to the parts of the body. During the time of Johann Putsch, this type of map was called Europa in forma virginis, or "Europe in the form of a girl." In 1587, the German engraver and publisher Johann Bussemacher produced a copper engraving, an adaptation of Putsch's work called Europae descriptio, or Description of Europe.
After 1587, other cartographers actively used the image of Europa regina, based on previous samples. Perhaps the girl symbolizes the wife of Charles V of Habsburg, one of the most important statesmen of the 16th century and the last emperor, who was officially crowned by the pope. In addition, Europa regina acts as a unified Christendom. As for realism, it is inferior to fiction: all locations of geographical points are adjusted to a pre-drawn silhouette.
Ancient geographical maps often became almost works of art, and some copies can be safely considered as such. Rare copies can be purchased on Violity in this subsection.

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