Harmonia Macrocosmica (feat. Tycho Brahe)

December 2, 2010 Comments Off on Harmonia Macrocosmica (feat. Tycho Brahe)

Care to see Tycho Brahe’s skull, currently being exhumed to learn more about his life and finally solve the mystery of his death – kidney stones? Mercury poisoning? Murder by Kepler?… More pictures on the official site.

Brahe was a pretty eccentric astronomer/alchemist. He kept a dwarf called Jepp as a court jester, had him sit under the dinner table, and thought he was able to tell the future. Brahe famously lost his nose in a duel with a Danish nobleman and had a piece of metal attached in its place. He also had a pet elk, which supposedly was given too much beer (!) at one of the many social gatherings at Brahe’s, and fell down the stairs to its tragic death… Biopic, anyone?

Here are Scans from the Harmonia Macrocosmica by Andreas Cellarius (1660/1). The first one shows Brahe’s system of planetary orbits, and in the bottom right corner, Brahe himself –  nose still intact.


Mappemonde Cordiforme… and other unusual maps

November 21, 2010 Comments Off on Mappemonde Cordiforme… and other unusual maps

Mappemonde Cordiforme d’Oronce Fine ca. 1534, via BibliOdyssey

Dubbed “Fool’s cap Map of the World”, it remains unknown when, why and by whom it was created. Ca. 1580-1590, via Big Think | Strange Maps

Jerusalem as the center of the world, Itinerarium Sacrae Scripturae, Heinrich Bunting, 1545-1606, via Dark Roasted Blend

Historical Map/chart of Italy by Girolamo Andrea Martignoni, 1721, via BibliOdyssey

Spanish illustrator Fernando Sanchez’ version of an Atlas, via Big Think | Strange Maps

Queens & Brooklyn are NYC’s balls in this Subway Map, via

If you’re interested in what cartography and literature might have in common, this book by Peter Turchi is a pretty entertaining read (with beautiful illustrations). Got me thinking about:blank…

Tristan da Cunha

October 22, 2010 Comments Off on Tristan da Cunha

I have been obsessed with this island, dubbed the geographically remotest place on earth, for a long time. Its inhabitants established a form of modern communism, its symmetrical map with the volcanic peak in the exact middle is a visual gem, and has provided hours of Google Earth exploration. Tristan has a heart-shaped crater lake, a beach called Runaway Beach, is only accessible by boat, and used to be called “Islands of Refreshment”. Currently, 275 people live there. (Sources: 1 2 3 4)

In related news, Judith Schalansky’s Atlas of Remote Islands is now available in English, and highly recommended.

Where Am I?

You are currently browsing entries tagged with cartography at ~ Voyages Extraordinaires.