Cartographic Representation of Europe during the Renaissance

Abraham Ortelius, "Map of Europe", Civitates orbis terrarum, 1570.

The rediscovery of Geography by the Greek author Ptolemy, and its translation into Latin in 1409, had a profound influence on the representation of the European continent during the Renaissance. The first map of Europe, published in 1554 by Gerard Mercator, was the origin of a long genealogy of maps using ancient and contemporary sources. Beyond the “progressive” aspects of this new model of measured and projected representation, Europe as an allegorical figure also led to a vast cartographic production reminding that the territories of maps are physical constructions as much as they are intellectual ones.