Eighteenth-Century Maps of the Middle Ages

in Historical Atlases

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print July 2003 | ISBN: 9780226300719
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226300726 | DOI:
Eighteenth-Century Maps of the Middle Ages

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  • Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)


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From the beginning of the eighteenth century onward, maps of medieval scenes increased markedly in numbers, and so did the variety of ways in which such scenes were depicted. Some mapmakers chose ways to design medieval moments that proved to be blind alleys, while others took directions that were convincingly right. A new direction taken in eighteenth-century maps of the medieval period, and exemplified many times throughout the course of the century, was the reconstruction of limited districts on the basis of available documentation. The first maps of farther Asia with medieval content are associated with a dynasty of Orientalists at the French royal court. An atlas presenting the world as a whole, or almost, creates problems for itself that are avoided in a more fragmented format. A succession of maps such as that of the Paris draft, all reaching from Spain to Korea, implies a synchronic world history, one in which, for example, Scandinavian or Moroccan happenings compete for attention with Chinese or Mongolian ones.

Keywords: middle ages; eighteenth century; Asia; succession; Chinese

Chapter.  51076 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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