„Cosmography“ by Sebastian Münster: between legend and reality
Sebastian Münster (1488-1552) was a German scholar, geographer, mathematician and is considered to be one of the most influential cartographers of the 16th century. In 1544 he published Cosmography – the earliest book on the knowledge of the world written in German language. The importance of it was recognized immediately. As a result, between 1544 and 1628 there were 40 different book editions published in German, Latin, Italian, English, Czech and French languages. All these publications were printed in Basel (Switzerland), in the Officina Henricpetrina publishing house. In Cosmography the author describes all continents, countries, their countryside, cities, monarchs and history that were known at that particular time. The book was illustrated with various country and city maps, portraits of monarchs, images of the people of different origin, occupation, habitat, custom and religion. As well as, with motifs of flora and fauna. S. Münster based his book on assorted sources: historic data, books of other authors, his personal travel experiences. In Cosmography historical facts often blend with legends and myths. Accounts of fantastic fictitious creatures and events are hiding in the pages. They are tremendous help for the contemporary reader to be acquainted with the unique worldview of the 16th century.
Trakai History Museum has a collection of more than 150 pages from different Cosmography editions dating between 1544 and 1628. In this virtual exhibition you are presented with 48 separate book pages that were ripped out during the course of history. And the 16th century’s Grand Duchy of Lithuania, the Kingdom of Poland, neighbor countries and their history are immortalized in them.
Museologist Darius Deinarovičius
Objects of the exhibition
Virtuali paroda „Šventasis Jurgis – (ne)užmirštas Lietuvos globėjas“