Cosmographia

Cosmographia Facsimile Edition

Basel (Switzerland) — 1588

Probably the most widely read book of the 16th century after the Bible: Sebastian Münster’s encyclopedic masterpiece adorned by more than 900 woodcuts including 247 cityscapes and 40 maps

  1. Sebastian Münster (1488-1552) was one of the greatest humanists and polymaths of the German Renaissance

  2. The Cosmographia was his life’s work and nearly 50 editions would eventually be printed

  3. Hans Holbein the Younger, Urs Graf, Hans Rudolph Manuel Deutsch, and David Kandel created woodcuts for the work

Cosmographia

  1. Description
  2. Detail Picture
  3. Single Page
  4. Facsimile Editions (2)
Description
Cosmographia

Sebastian Münster was a polymath and humanist who was far ahead of his time. His life’s work was the Cosmographia, which was written in German and first printed in Basel in 1544 before being revised in 1550. It is the culmination of twenty years of work, during which Münster consulted and collaborated with more than 120 “eminent persons, scholars and artists”. Numerous editions would continue to be made until the early 17th century and the work, which is the earliest description of the world written in German, has been translated into numerous languages. It was probably the most widely read book of the 16th century after the Bible and nearly 50 editions would be published in total, including this German edition printed in Basel in 1588. The encyclopedic work is divided into six books and is illustrated by more than 900 woodcuts including 247 cityscapes and 40 maps. Some of the artists who contributed woodcuts to this project include Hans Holbein the Younger, Urs Graf, Hans Rudolph Manuel Deutsch, and David Kandel. It is truly one of the greatest book projects of the Renaissance, which set new quantitative and qualitative standards for reference books.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Kosmographie oder Beschreibung aller Länder, Herrschaften und vornehmsten Städte des ganzen Erdbodens samt ihren Eigenschaften Gebräuchen und Hantierungen
Cosmographey Oder beschreibung Aller Länder herrschafftenn vnd fürnemesten Stetten des gantzen Erdbodens sampt jhren Gelegenheiten, Eygenschafften, Religion, Gebreuchen, Geschichten vnnd Handthierungen, etc.
Size / Format
1504 pages / 37.0 x 27.0 cm
Date
1588
Language
Illustrations
More than 900 woodcuts including 247 cityscapes, 40 maps, and a portrait of the author
Artist / School
Detail Picture

Cosmographia

Two Doppelsöldner

These men are dressed and armed like Landsknecht mercenaries, specifically Doppelsöldner or "double-pay men". They fought in the front lines with the Zweihänder, a large two-handed sword used to break up formations of pikemen, as well as halberds, crossbows, and arquebusiers. These deadly professional soldiers, often recruited from Southern Germany, were famous for their libertine and brutal lifestyle as well as for dressing extravagantly to boast of how rich they had grown from plying their trade.

Cosmographey oder beschreibung Aller Länder herrschafftenn und fürnemesten Stetten des gantzen Erdbodens
Single Page

Cosmographia

Lindau im Bodensee

The name Lindau was first documented in 882 and refers to an island town located just off the eastern shore of Lake Constance in Bavaria near the meeting point of the German, Austrian, and Swiss borders. It has been inhabited since at least the 1st century, when a Roman settlement was built there, and its beautiful location and medieval town center continues to attract tourists today.

Lindau was historically part of the trade route connecting Nuremberg to Italy, had an important textile industry, and was naturally well positioned as a fishery. The city is depicted surrounded by a wall studded with towers and the bridge connecting it to the land is guarded by two gatehouses and two draw bridges. The town coat of arms, a linden tree, hovers above.

Cosmographey oder beschreibung Aller Länder herrschafftenn und fürnemesten Stetten des gantzen Erdbodens
Facsimile Editions

#1 Cosmographey oder beschreibung Aller Länder herrschafftenn und fürnemesten Stetten des gantzen Erdbodens

Cosmographia – Res/2 Geo.u. 64 t – Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Munich, Germany) Facsimile Edition
Cosmographia – Res/2 Geo.u. 64 t – Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Munich, Germany) Facsimile Edition Copyright Photos: Ziereis Facsimiles


#2 Das Konzil zu Konstanz MCDXIV-MCDXVIII

Binding: Half leather covers in linen slipcase
Commentary: 1 volume with contributions by Karl Fink, Otto Feger and Lilli Fischel
Filter selection
Publisher