Life of early settlers and travelers, was quite dangerous and many didn’t reach their final destination. Because of this, people believed and still do, about different types of mythical creatures that possibly once existed. Evidence of these beliefs, is portrayed in an early map depiction, displaying the world first rendered by any artist or series of photographs.
A continued fascination still lasts even after 430 years. One of the oldest maps ever created was done by Urbanto Monte. From what is known, this map was the largest map made during this time period.
Made up of 60 individual sheets composited together, the mapmaker would be delighted to see his work now come to life as once intended. The map itself, was made back in 1587. It is intricately detailed and stretches by more than 9 feet after being assembled. Unfortunately, this incredible map, suffered from many years of wear and tear. It took many hours and much time love and tenderness, to get the map back to what it once was or at least close to it.
A man named David Rumsey and his equally skilled nephew, worked on reconstructing the 60-page atlas into that of a mosaic. After many man hours of labor, the map has been brought to the public and on display. This incredible map, has been digitally rendered and with it some curiosities seen.
It does make one wonder, whether or not at some point in our history, creatures usually learned about from books and campfire stories actually existed. Seen on the map itself, is everything from unicorns to mermen at sea. Other curiosities include, a large bird flying off with an elephant in its grip along with lizard people seen.
Of course in today’s world, GPS devices and satellites, would make this map much more accurate. It is quite amazing, if you think about it. This map took many hours to complete and is quite a marvel to glance upon. The unicorns seen, are spotted in Siberia, mermen appear to be located in the Southern Ocean as well.
This map however, does demonstrate a fair amount of geographical knowledge along with some misconceptions of its time. Some feel, like the map is far advanced especially for its creation era. Quite notably, the map portrays Earth seen looking directly down at the North Pole from an outer space perspective. This also makes this map rather unique, as not until the 20th century did mapmakers begin to do this.
“Monte wanted to show the entire earth as close as possible to a three-dimensional sphere using a two-dimensional surface,” Rumsey explained. “His projection does just that, notwithstanding the distortions around the south pole.”
Although not much is really known about Urbanto Monte the creator of the map, there are restoration clues discovered about just how the 16th century interpreted the world around them.
While Rumsey purchased the Urbanto Monte map back in September, his nephew Brandon did nearly all the work as he scanned each page and then stitched the images together. Each of the sections seemed to fit rather perfectly. This suggests, that Urbanto Monte knew what he was doing all along. Now, the individual sheets and the composites are available online – along with an aligned map which was rendered with the Google Earth program. Now, we can all enjoy this interesting perspective of our world.