Geography and Maps
Medieval Europeans were fascinated with the exotic, which filled them with a sense of both curiosity and dread. This was compounded by a lack of practical knowledge about the outside world and only a rudimentary knowledge of world geography. Therefore, the so-called Mappa Mundi, such as the famous Hereford Mappa Mundi, was conceptual and presented the worldview of medieval Europeans and their view of themselves within the world.
During the Late Middle Ages, when shipbuilding and seafaring techniques improved, the Age of Exploration began. Europeans came into contact with previously unknown regions of the world and began improving their cartographic techniques in order to create maps that were useful for navigation. Such sea voyages formed the basis for the naval power of the Portuguese, Spaniards, Dutch, and English.
Gorgeous Renaissance atlases based on the recently rediscovered Cosmographia by Claudius Ptolemy and collected volumes of cityscapes like the Civitates Orbis Terrarum became some of the most popular books as educated people wanted to display their sophistication through their knowledge of the world.