Portulan C.G.A.5.b

Portulan C.G.A.5.b Facsimile Edition

Mallorca (Spain) — 1450–1460

Precise coastlines and important landmarks for practical use at sea: an impressive medieval map by the famous Mallorcan cartographic school from the mid-15th century

  1. This map originated between 1450 and 1460 in the Majorcan school of cartography for practical use at sea

  2. The most renowned school of geography and cartography took shape in Spain to record new discoveries

  3. These cartographers were able to create some incredibly detailed maps without modern technical aids

Portulan C.G.A.5.b

  1. Description
  2. Detail Picture
  3. Single Page
  4. Facsimile Editions (3)
Description
Portulan C.G.A.5.b

The Portulan C.G.A.5.b was created between 1450 and 1460 in the famous and important Majorcan school of cartography. The map is a fascinating testimony to the awakening Renaissance and is among the most important geographical material of the Middle Ages still preserved today. Its greatest special feature is indeed its pragmatic design and very restrained decoration: according to this, it is not a representative object, but a map that was actually used as a practical navigational aid on the high seas. Thus, it shows coastlines, but also important trading cities such as Barcelona and Genoa, as well as defining landmarks such as castles and palaces. A fascinating testimony to the Majorcan school of cartography at the height of its production, today kept in the Biblioteca Estense in Modena.

Portulan C.G.A.5.b

In the 15th century, Spain and Portugal were the lands under whose flags the most expeditions into largely unexplored regions of the world were made. In the course of many expeditions and discoveries, the most renowned school of geography and cartography in Europe took shape in Spain. The maps, which originated during the time of the awakening Renaissance, belong among the most important geographical material of the entire Middle Ages. It is truly astounding, how true to detail and correct the Spanish and Portuguese cartographers could represent the regions of the world they studied, and completely without the modern technical aids of our time. The Portulan C.G.A.5.b is an outstanding example of the excellent work of medieval scholars.

What is a Portulan?

The term portulan or portolan originally indicated a book with nautical information such as landmarks, lighthouses, currents, and harbor conditions. According to historical sources, such sea-books already existed in the 13th century. Beginning in the 16th century, the term broadened and from then on comprised not only the written descriptions, but also the accompanying nautical maps, which were contained in books. Today, the term “portulan chart” indicate a very precise type of map. The map Portulan C.G.A.5.b is one of these special maps.

A Characteristic Map

Portulan C.G.A.5.b is a map that has distinguished itself from all the other cartographic material of its time. It has hardly any pictorial decoration, because it was not intended as decoration, but rather as an effective navigational aid. The most important trade cities of Barcelona, Valencia, Santiago de Compostela, Granada, Venice, and Genoa were emphasized in particular. The regions depicted are also recognizable by the depiction of their various flags. Similarly, fortresses, palaces, and other particularities that characterized the geographic regions and for which they were known are pictured.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Portolano CGA5b
Portolan map C.G.A.5.b
Portolan-Karte C.G.A.5.b
Size / Format
1 map / 90.0 × 61.0 cm
Origin
Spain
Date
1450–1460
Language
Script
Humanistic
Illustrations
The map is decorated with various colored flags and coats of arms, landmarks, and pictograms of cities as well as a portrait medallion

Available facsimile editions:
Portulan C.G.A.5.b – Il Bulino, edizioni d'arte – C.G.A.5.b – Biblioteca Estense Universitaria (Modena, Italy) Facsimile Edition
Il Bulino, edizioni d'arte – Modena, 2002
Limited Edition: A total of 499 copies

Portulan C.G.A.5.b – C.G.A.5.b – Biblioteca Estense Universitaria (Modena, Italy) Facsimile Edition
Il Bulino, edizioni d'arte – Modena, 2002
Limited Edition: A total of 499 copies

Portulan C.G.A.5.b – C.G.A.5.b – Biblioteca Estense Universitaria (Modena, Italy) Facsimile Edition
Il Bulino, edizioni d'arte – Modena, 2002
Limited Edition: A total of 499 copies
Detail Picture

Portulan C.G.A.5.b

Genoa

Chinese silk, slaves and grain - These are just three of the "trade goods" with which the Republic of Genoa rose to become one of the leading trading and colonial powers of the Mediterranean between the 11th and 15th centuries. The depiction of its powerful capital Genoa, in Ligurian Zena, more than does justice to this status. Clearly larger than Venice to the right, the important trading centre was even depicted with its old harbour basin, still recognisable today, with the large lighthouse on the western headland. The Ligurian Sea stretches out below, while the city is shielded by the green mountain range of the Alps to the west and north on the map.

Portolano C.G.A.5.b (map in tube)
Single Page

Portulan C.G.A.5.b

Nautical Chart of the Mediterranean and Northwest Europe

Measuring 61 x 90 cm, this map depicts the Mediterranean basin in its entirety, most of the Black Sea, as well as the Atlantic Ocean from the fjords of Norway to the British Isles to the sandy shores of Morocco. It is less decorated than Portulan C.G.A.5.d but also appears to have been designed for practical use as a navigational tool. The place names are drawn so they can always be read from the edge of the map, thus northern cities, coats of arms, and their labels are drawn/written upside down.

Nonetheless, important cities such as Barcelona, Valencia, Santiago de Compostela, Granada, Venice, and Genoa are drawn and labelled as are numerous smaller cities along the important rivers of Europe or on the Baltic Sea in the north, which is very crudely drawn and represents the limits of the geographic knowledge of the otherwise masterful cartographers of Mallorca, who would have created the map ca. 1450–60

Portolano C.G.A.5.b (map in tube)
Facsimile Editions

#1 Portolano C.G.A.5.b (map in tube)

Il Bulino, edizioni d'arte – Modena, 2002

Publisher: Il Bulino, edizioni d'arte – Modena, 2002
Limited Edition: A total of 499 copies
Binding: Protected by a tube
Commentary: 1 volume by Roberto Bini, Annalisa Battini, and Laura Federzoni
Language: Italian
1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size) Reproduction of the entire original document as detailed as possible (scope, format, colors). The binding may not correspond to the original or current document binding.

#2 Portolani (set of 3 maps in tube, includes C.G.A.5.b)

Il Bulino, edizioni d'arte – Modena, 2002

Publisher: Il Bulino, edizioni d'arte – Modena, 2002
Limited Edition: A total of 499 copies
Binding: Three maps stored in a case with the commentary volume
Commentary: 1 volume by Roberto Bini, Annalisa Battini, and Laura Federzoni
Language: Italian
1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size) Reproduction of the entire original document as detailed as possible (scope, format, colors). The binding may not correspond to the original or current document binding.
Price Category: €€ (1,000€ - 3,000€)
Edition available
Price: Login here!

#3 Portolani (set of 3 maps in deluxe wooden case, includes C.G.A.5.b)

Il Bulino, edizioni d'arte – Modena, 2002

Publisher: Il Bulino, edizioni d'arte – Modena, 2002
Limited Edition: A total of 499 copies
Binding: Walnut showcase houses the three maps, commentary volume, a wooden-bronze paperweight, and a magnifier.
Commentary: 1 volume by Roberto Bini, Annalisa Battini, and Laura Federzoni
Language: Italian
1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size) Reproduction of the entire original document as detailed as possible (scope, format, colors). The binding may not correspond to the original or current document binding.
Price Category: €€ (1,000€ - 3,000€)
Edition available
Price: Login here!
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