Tijdschrift voor de geschiedenis van de kartografie in Nederland
The surveyor-engineer Johan Sems lived from 1572 to 1635. He was born in Franeker and got his education in Leyden amidst a group of engineers around Simon Stevin; these same engineers such as Ludolf van Ceulen and Samuel Marolois also had to do with the foundation of the Leyden school for engineers in 1600. Sems wrote together with his collegue and friend Johan Pieterszoon Dou a handbook called Practijck des Lantmetens, which was published in 1600. In it all extant knowledge about surveying and the art of building fortresses etc. was brought together. After 1600 Johan Sems moved back to Friesland and became a surveyor for the Estates of Friesland. In this period he produced together with the famous sculptor from Antwerp, Pieter Bast, a very precise groundplan of Leeuwarden (1603). After a short period in East-Friesland he moved to Denmark, where he worked for King Christian IV and his "Nordic Renaissance". His major work was the planning and building of Christianshavn, an enlargement of Copenhagen. From 1621 on Sems was back in the province of Groningen in which he worked for many years on maps and fortifications. In 1623 he published another book on arithmetics: De Arithmetische Fundamenten. The article furthermore reflects on the maps by Pieter Bast of Franeker and Leeuwarden, and arguments are given for the fact that Sems didn't cooperate on the Franeker-map. (back)
Medieval world maps II: The map in the early middle ages
[Caert-Thresoor 2(1983) 1, pp. 6-12]
Macrobius (c. 400) described a spherical world with five climatic zones and four habitable continents. His writing became very popular in the middle ages. Over 100 added maps are still known to us, among which some from Leiden. All of these maps belong to the so-called zone-maps. Other categories are the Beatus- and the T-0 maps. The latter group is from a cartographical point of view (still) more primitive than the zone-maps. They show a flat earth. It is striking that simplifications were so often carried to extremes. There is no actual relationship with reality. The ideas reflected by T-0-maps were taught by a.o. Augustinus and Orosius. It is remarkable however, that the work of the latter gives many geographical details, wehereas his book was still illustrated in the middle ages with very simple world maps. Tlie same goes for the work of Kosmas Indikopleustes (c. 550). His image of the world was considered to be primitive, even by medieval man. Nevertheless also his work gives much useful information to the cartographer. Not all information was converted into facts. This is the result of the higher value placed on dream (the account of the after observation returned soul) as a source of geographical knowledge and a certain contempt of sensorial observation. Kosmas sees God as the extreme source of geographical knowledge and considers a model of reality more important than an exact diminution. Using the data of both Orosius and Kosmas it appears that more modern maps can be drawn than the authors themselves did. Why they didn't is discussed in this article. (back)
Marijke Donkersloot-de Vrij
The 19th-century geological relief map by J.P. Amersfoordt in the Museum Schokland
[Caert-Thresoor 2(1983) 2, pp. 18-21]
"Surface Model of Zuiderzee (geologically coloured)". This is the title of a relief map by J.P. Amersfoordt (1817-85) for the international exhibition in Philadelphia (1876). A lawyer by profession, Amersfoordt was also a keen student of the agricultural sciences. W.C.H. Staring, one of his friends, was the author of the first geological map of the Netherlands. The nineteenth century saw a revival of agricultural science in the Netherlands and plans were initiated to increase the area of agricultural land. The map of the Zuiderzee served as a means to promote the idea of its reclamation. The relief map never achieved mucht popularity in the flat country of Holland, and Amersfoordt found examples for his presentation in Germany and Switzerland. (back)
W.A. van Ham
A late outline-map of the marquisate of Bergen op Zoom
[Caert-Thresoor 2(1983) 3, pp. 34-35]
The strange form of the marquisate of Bergen op Zoom (it
was devided in two parts) and the place in the periphery of
the duchy of Brabant are the cause that it never has been
mapped as a whole. There are maps of parts of the marquisate or it appears on the edge of maps of Brabant or
In the 18th century the surveyor family Adan has made a series of detailed maps of the marquisate. From these maps Jan Baptiste Adan derived in 1790 a general map of the marquisate on one sheet (48.5 x 70 cm). The manuscript map is functionally coloured. The map is preserved in the library of the Noord-Brabantse Genootschap at 's-Hertogenbosch. While it is the only complete outline map of this marquisate the author of this article pleas for publication in facsimile. (back)
Peter van der Krogt
The lunar map by Michael Florent van Langren (1645)
[Caert-Thresoor 2(1983) 3, pp. 36-39]
In the first half of the 17th century Michael Florent van Langren, royal astronomer in Brussels, was working on the publication of a method to measure the longitude by observing the moon, including a series of maps of the moon in several phases. Financial problems and political troubles caused the failure of his project. The only results are some pamphlets and two maps of the full moon: one manuscript, which accompanied the apply for a patent and an engraved map (1645), which is published as an advertisement for support. The special feature of these maps are the selenonyms, the names of the different phenomena on the lunar surface. It is the first comprehensive system of selenonyms ever published. (back)
A. de Zeeuw
Maps with decorative borders as precursors of 17th-century atlas maps
[Caert-Thresoor 2(1983) 3, pp. 42-45]
Maps with decorative borders are at present relatively
scarce. One of the reasons that so few of these have been
preserved is the very fact of their having been published as
loose sheets. The vulnerability of such sheets is much higher
than that of maps bound in atlases.
An other major reason for the scarceness of maps with decorative borders is their size. They are larger than the usual maps in atlases. Many publishers made their old maps with decorative borders suitable for the production of atlases. To this end three possible methods were available:
(1) The borders were cut from the copperplate. Blaeu used this method to make his map 'tGraefschap Hollandt (1608) suitable for the Appendix of 1631.
(2) The borders were erased from the copperplate and a partially new engraving was made. The map of Friesland and Groningen by Claes Jansz Visscher was changed in this way by his son for the Atlas Contractus (e. 1656).
(3) The borders on the copperplate were covered with strips of paper. The remaining part of the plate was inked and printed. The use of this method can sometimes be noticed when fragments of the original borders are still visible, due to the fact that the paper did not accurately cover them before inking and printing.
This last method was used by Henricus Hondius for the map of the Netherlands of 1631. From the original map with the borders only three copies remain. As a rule his atlases contain the map without the borders.
A second map discussed here, which has lost its borders, is the map of the 17 United Netherlands (1608) by Willem Jansz Blaeu. This map, without upper, left and right bor- ders is used in the Appendix of 1630. (back)
J.H. Knoop, an enlightened encyclopedist, made a fine town-plan of Leeuwarden
[Caert-Thresoor 2(1983) 4, pp. 50-53]
Johann Hermann Knoop, (ca. 1700-1778) a native from Hessen, came to be employed as a gardener of the stadtholder's court in Leeuwarden. Of his activities rather much is known as he published a number of text-books and illustrated books on the art of gardening, in particular about growing fruits and other crops. Knoop didn't start writing until he was discharged. Before that time he remarkably extended the mathematical text-book 'Werkdadige meetkonst' by Johannes Morgenster. The book contains important chapters on surveying that are illustrated with diagrams. In the middle of the eighteenth century Knoop made a special town-plan of Leeuwarden. By using a.o. geographical and historical works the gardener developed himself into an enlightened encylopedist who, by making use of didactic works, tried to explain science also for the young people. (back)
Medieval world maps III: Travel and travel-maps in the Middle Ages before 1300
[Caert-Thresoor 2(1983) 4, pp. 50-53]
In late Antiquity and the early Middle Ages thousands of pfigrims left for Palestine. To accompany their journey an efficient organisation was created. It is, however, remarkable that the pilgrims didn't have small-scale maps showing the territories they crossed at their disposal. Neither did pilgrim-journeys nor the later crusades lead to making this kind of maps. However, there are indications that much of the cartographical knowledge of Antiquity was preserved in the early Middle Ages. In particular the technique of a mapping to scale was still used. Via the Arabs in the high Middle Ages also surprisingly accurate lists of towns with their positions were known. In short: cartographical knowledge was present, but it wasn't used for travelling. Travellers in Antiquity and in the Middle Ages until c. 1300 took their bearings using the 'itinerarium', a list of places with useful information on distances, inns, etc. The 'Tabula Peutingeriana' is an example of an itinerary like this, but in the form of a map. The method of orientation used is the associative one. No knowledge of the whole territory is necessary, just the way to the next balting place is of importance. Thus reliable world maps are not necessary. In this way travellers succeeded in reaching Chma by land in the 13th century. (back)