JF Ptak Science Books Quick Post
This woodcut cosmological illustration from a 1526 Bible is a subtle and very late printed rendition of a great and classic Medieval idea. At the center(or thereabouts) of the globe of the Earth there is a seeming confluence of two great rivers, but what it reminds me more of is the T-O map, the orbis terrarum, the direct descendant of the
Greco-Roman map making. The T-O map makes distant and deep calls into the past, finding a home in Macrobius (around 400 CE) and Orosius (5th century )and more famously with Isidore of Seville (ca. 600), a work known to most folks today because of its appearance in Seville's Etymologarum of 1472, which is also the first map printed in Europe (pictured below). (Why is took almost 20 years after Gutenberg to print a map is mysterious to me.)
Generally Jerusalem would appear at the center of this sort of map, which would have appealed to the necessary people that the publication needed to have the appeal of. The Mediterranean would separate Europe and Africa from Asia, while all of the land masses (the stuff outside of the "T" structure" were surrounded by the great "O", the ocean(s).
Sixteen years later a remarkable map of the world would appear in Ptolemy's Geographia, an Ulm-printed masterpiece that appeared in 1486.
- But I think that the crossed lines from the Luther Bible of 1526 was really just a suggestion of the past, not meaning to lean on the Medieval world at all. Still, though there they are.