Tijdschrift voor de geschiedenis van de kartografie in Nederland
In Cologne there existed in the last thirty years of the
sixteenth century a circle of cartographers, which was formed around one central person, Frans Hogenberg. They were
all refugees, natives from the Low Countries. Gerhard
Stempel was one of them. He studied theology in Cologne
and from 1588 he was a canon in the monastery of St.
George in Cologne. In the field of cartography he was
probably a self-taught man. Stempel's first known cartographical activities were caused by certain hostilities in the
Lower Rhine area. He started in 1585 (conquest of Neuss)
and ended in 1598 (course of the Maas river between Liège
and Maastricht). Some of his maps served as model for
prints in publications by Hogenberg, like Civitates Orbis
Terrarum and Hogenbergs Geschichtsblätter. His cartographical work appears to be of high quality. Stempel's
Kerpen-Lommersum map was included as map No. 3 in the
Itinerarium Belgicum (Cologne 1587), an atlas of contemporary history of the Low Countries. Other maps, like the
ones in the road atlas Itinerarium Orbis Christiani, were
copied from examples in Ortelius and De Jode.
The author of the Itinerarium Belgicum appears to be Georg Braun, not Michael von Eitzing as has been stated frequently. Braun, who probably stimulated Stempel to make the map of Kerpen-Lommersum, was also a clergy man in the monastery of St. George. Before 1577, however, he was employed as a private teacher. Being freed of ecclesiastical duties in this period, he was able to spend much time and effort in completing part I and II of Civitates Orbis Terrarum. Especially the completing of part IV, which was finally published in 1588, caused many problems. From 1577 Braun was kept busy with all kinds of activities for the Church. As Braun promised to dedicate part IV to the King of Denmark, Frederie II, the dedication of the Itinerarium Belgicum to him in 1587 may have been a short-term solution for having waited so long. Only one copy of part IV is known with a dedication to Frederic II, printed shortly before the king's death. (back)
A.H. Huussen jr.
The dating of old maps for the history of architecture
[Caert-Thresoor 3(1984) 1, pp. 10-13]
The author comments on the method of interpretation of
old maps in general. He stresses in particular that Mr. J.J.
Voskuil - in his study (1982) on the development of brick
houses in the country of Holland during the 16th century - has ignored some basic rules of critical historical
method. Historians who use old manuscript maps as a
source for topographical and architectural reconstructions
of past "reality" should consider the following recommendations:
1. an isolated, undated map has to be critically examined for intrinsic characteristies and indications;
2. to be able to judge of date and reliability of the reproduction one has to trace the purpose for which the map was designed;
3. the reliability, or realism, of maps dating from the period before c. 1600 should be handled with scepsis;
4. determiniation of the date of confection of a map on the basis of intrinsic and external characteristics had to be preferred to intuitive argumentations. (back)
Old maps as source for history: A classification based on evidential value
[Caert-Thresoor 3(1984) 2, pp. 18-24]
The original article, of which this contribution is an adaption, was published in Imago Mundi XXII (1968) p. 75-80 entitled: Levels of historical evidence in early maps (with
Summary there: "In the documentation of historical phenomena and facts, maps and charts share their place with written records, objects, pictures, coins and some other material. In this paper, the graphic presentation in map form is compared with the written documentation. As a contribution to the discussion about the rôle of maps and charts in the attribution of historical evidence, their rôle has been graded into six levels. The confusion about and the mistrust in the value of maps and charts as pieces of historical evidence may be remedied by dividing them into six categories of decreasing value." (back)
Three maps of 1448, used in litigation (Geertruidenberg vs. Standhazen)
[Caert-Thresoor 3(1984) 2, pp. 27-33]
In recent times relatively many medieval maps have been
discovered, most of them in archives. For the greater part
these maps were intended for use in litigation; in the Low
Countries especially in lawsuits at the medieval High Courts
in Mechelen en The Hague. The maps were intended to
inform these courts about the geographical situation of the
place the lawsuits were about. For a proper evaluation of
this particular kind of early maps it is important that they
are usuafly found "in situ". This means that the maps are
found between other documents relevant to the case in
question and that these documents can inform us about
both the quality and the purpose of the maps. In the
fifteenth century a case between the city of Geertruidenberg and the manor of Standhazen, both in the south of the
County of Holland near the Brabant border, came up
before the Court of Holland in The Hague. The lawsuit
concerned a conflict about the boundary in the peat-fen
between Geertruidenberg and Standhazen. Geertruidenberg
opposed the validity of the course of the boundary at the
time. Hoping to solve the problem Jan van Nassau, lord of
Standhazen, started a procedure at the High Court. To
elucidate his point of view he had a map of the territory
sent to the Court. Nevertheless he lost the case. The Court
ruled 20 december 1448 that Geertruidenberg's claims were
rightful. We were unable to determine if this was indeed a
Besides the maps that was sent to The Hague, two other similar maps of Jan van Nassau on the territory exist. The three maps are not exact surveys, for the figures on the maps do not correspond with the measures on the modern topographical map. Among the three maps we can distinguish a rough sketch ('kladkaart') with stains and erasures. This is the first map which contains much information. Thereupon a second, fair copy was made ('minuutkaart'), destined for the court - our second map. It is neatly drawn, contains the information essential for the court and, although a sketch, gives a well-proportioned picture of the territory that corresponds rather well with reality. But this 'correct' map was actually less suitable to prove the claims of Jan van Nassau's party in the case rightful. Therefore the clerk drew up a third map, and this time one which was mcorrect on purpose ('netkaart').
These three medieval maps are, as usual, not very exact. However, they still give us important historical information: about the regional topography like the boundaries of manors and perhaps also about the loss of land in this area after the St. Elisabeth Flood of 1421. (back)
The mediaeval world image IV: Travels into Asia
[Caert-Thresoor 3(1984) 3, pp. 38-44]
In the thirteenth century A.D., large parts of Asia, including
China, were conquered by Mongol invaders. In Western Europe, many cherished hopes of obtaining Mongol assistance in
the struggle against the Muslims. These hopes were invigorated
by a belief that Asia would accornmodate many Christians,
foIlowers of the aspostle Thomas, and also by the legend of
priest-king John, a mythical Christian ruler with tremendous
power, who from his residence somewhere in Asia would some
day come to the aid of European Christianity.
A number of priests, among whom Johannes de Plano Carpini and Willem van Ruusbroek, left for Karakorum. They failed to convert the Khan, and were not able to secure his support for the Christian case. They did, however, leave valuable travel reports, as had previously done the merchant Marco Polo after a many years' sojourn in China. To find their way to and through Asia, these travellers all relied upon the method of association. This was made possible by the availability of many local guides at the different stages of their journeys.
As maps were not really needed, no attempts were made to adjust the erroneous image of Asia presented by extisting world maps. Some reconstruction of Marco Polo's mental map image can nevertheless be made by taking the day's journeys mentioned in his reports as a standard distance. The result of this suggests that Marco Polo considered Asia to be much larger than was evident from the maps of this time.
In the fourteenth century a cartographic renaissance took place. When the overland route through Asia was, no longer viable due to political developments, among which the decay of the Mongol Empire, merchants explored the sea route along Africa. Now, for the first time, reliable maps were called for. It would lead to the birth of the so-called portolan charts. In 1375 this genre reached its acme in the "Catalan Atlas", the first cartographic work to take into account the actual dimensions of Asia. In the fifteenth century also the map of Ptolemy came into use again. Around 1490 Henricus Martellus developed a new world map out of this type, that was to raise cartography beyond its level of antiquity. (back)
Making sheet indexes of old aflases
[Caert-Thresoor 3(1984) 3, pp. 45-49]
In this article it is explained what the term sheet index should
be understood to mean. All aspects worthy of consideration
when designing a sheet index of an old atlas are being discussed.
1. Should one use an old map or a modern one for an outline (base map)? In answer to this question a number of advantages and disadvantages are given.
2. If we choose an old map for a base map, how old should it be? A plea is made for taking a base map preferably of the same year as the old atlas which is going to be plotted.
3. In the third paragraph arguments are offered as to what criteria the plotting of large-scale maps as rectangles should be founded on. In this connection are mentioned i.a. the recognizability of forms, orientation on the basis of place names or the symbols used for them, and the use of known proportions on both outline map and large-scale map.
4. Finally the numbering of the plotted rectangles is discussed. The underlying idea is here that a uniform notation should be persued for all future sheet indexes of old atlases.
Some drawings serve to illustrate the ideas argued in the text. Among other things it is shown to what different results the use of a historical or a modern outline map may lead. Also an example isgiven of a map that shows all the numberings of large scale maps which have been discussed in the text. (back)
The Light of Navigation: The symbolical meaning of light in three 17th-century books on the art of navigation
[Caert-Thresoor 3(1984) 4, pp. 58-62]
In this article attention is focused on the symbolic meaning of
"Light" in the frontispieces of three seventeenth eentury books
on the art of navigation: Het Licht der Zeevaart by Willem
Jansz. Blacu (Amsterdam 1608), De Groote Lichtende ofte
vyerighe Colom by Jacob Aertsz. Colorn (Amsterdam 1651)
and De Lichtende Colomne ofte Zeespiegel by Pieter Goos
On the title page of each book a venerable old sailor is depicted teaching a number of students the art of navigation. These lesson-scenes illustrate well the general seventeenth century view of education: achieving a skill in an "art" - in this case the "art of navigation" - is possible only by means of intensive exercise ("oefeninghe") and under the direction of experienced masters.
A recurrent feature on every title page is the representation of "light" above the lesson-scenes, in the form of a ships-lantern or (twisted) column radiating light, or a combination of both motifs.
The radiating column is a symbol directly derived from the Bible: "And all the time the Lord went before thern, by day a pillar of cloud to guide thern on their j ourney, by night a pillar of fire to give them light. . ." (Exodus 13:21). "Light" as such was commonly taken to be symbol of God. Cesare Ripa, for instance, refers in his Iconologia to their close connection, asseting that both denote the beginning of all "being". Ripa furthermore generally associates the burning lamp, lantern or candle with dedication, diligence and education. In the title-pages of the publications of Blaeu, Colom and Goos, "light" can indeed be interpreted as a symbol of "study and exercise" ("Studio en oefeninghe"). It represents all the characteristics which a student must have in order to reach his ul- timate goal, that of achieving ability in a chose profession. In this context "light" also gives expression to the underlying view that nothing is possible but for the guidance of God, the divine master. (back)
An unknown map of the siege of Groningen (1594)
[Caert-Thresoor 3(1984) 4, pp. 66-71]
The article was written as a result of a coincidental discovery
in the Manuscript Departmen of the British Library of an unknown map of the siege of Groningen in 1594. This siege is
considered to be a major break-through in the battle of the
United Provinces against Spain.
The great British statesman William Cecil, Lord Burghley, a famous colector of maps, has been the thriving force behind the drawing up of this particular map as well. Nevertheless only the study for this map has remained; the official sketch cannot be found back in the existing archives of Burghley's map-collection in Hatfield House.
After surveying strategical and tactical aspects of the siege, a comparison is made between the journals of the siege and the messages sent to Britain with respect to the siege, which were found annex to the map. Apart from that a start has been made with the comparison of several maps of the siege of Groningen, which can be divided roughly in three categories. The first category contains the maps which aimed at giving merely an impression of the siege. The second category contains maps which give an accurate impression and the third ca- tegory is the one in which the recently discovered map can be placed: th one which contains accurate drawn maps, which have served as a source for the maps in the two first categories. In the concluding part of the article more specific information is given about te map, discovered in the British Library. (back)