Von der Littaw. / Von etlichen Stetten der Littaw.

  • Translation

Article ID EUL4184


Von der Littaw. / Von etlichen Stetten der Littaw.


Map shows a ritual of superstition of the Samogetiens in Lithuania. On reverse representations of wolfes, deers and natives of Lithunia.


ca. 1550


Münster (1489-1552)

Sebastian Münsters (1489-1552) is one of the famous cosmographers of the Renaissance. Its real importance in the field of cartography is based on its famous cosmography, which he published in 1544 with 24 double-sided maps (including Moscow and Transylvania). The material for this came largely from research and the collection of information from around 1528, which he initially only wanted to use for a description of Germany, but was now sufficient for a map of the entire world and ultimately led to a cosmography. He constantly tried to improve this work, i.e. to replace or add to maps. In the edition of 1550, only 14 maps were taken over from the earlier editions. The 52 maps printed in the text were also only partially based on the old maps. The great success of this cosmography was also based on the precise work of the woodcuts mostly by Hans Holbein the Younger, Urs Graf, Hans Rudolph Deutsch and David Kandel. It was the first scientific and at the same time generally understandable description of the knowledge of the world in German, in which the basics of history and geography, astronomy and natural sciences, regional and folklore were summarized according to the state of knowledge at that time. Cosmography is the science of describing the earth and the universe. Until the late Middle Ages, geography, geology and astronomy were also part of it. The first edition of the Cosmographia took place in 1544 in German, printed in Heinrich Petri's office in Basel. Heinrich Petri was a son from the first marriage of Münster's wife to the Basel printer Adam Petri. Over half of all editions up to 1628 were also published in German. However, the work has also been published in Latin, French, Czech and Italian. The English editions all comprised only a part of the complete work. Viktor Hantzsch identified a total of 46 editions in 1898 (German 27; Latin 8; French 3; Italian 3; Czech 1) that appeared from 1544 to 1650, while Karl Heinz Burmeister only had 36 (German 21; Latin 5; French 6; Italian 3; Czech 1) that appeared between 1544 and 1628. The first edition from 1544 was followed by the second edition in 1545, the third in 1546, the fourth edition in 1548 and the fifth edition in 1550, each supplemented by new reports and details, text images, city views and maps and revised altogether. Little has been known about who - apart from the book printers Heinrich Petri and Sebastian Henricpetri - were responsible for the new editions after Münster's death. The 1628 edition was edited and expanded by the Basel theologian Wolfgang Meyer. With Cosmographia, Sebastian Münster has published for the first time a joint work by learned historians and artists, by publishers, wood cutters and engravers. The numerous vedute are usually made as woodcuts. Sebastian Münster obtained his knowledge from the travel reports and stories of various scholars, geographers, cartographers and sea travelers. Long after his death, "Kosmographie" was still a popular work with large editions: 27 German, 8 Latin, 3 French, 4 English and even 1 Czech editions appeared. The last edition appeared in Basel in 1650.

Historical Description

he beginning of Lithuania as a state lies in the 13th century. Prince Mindaugas, who even had himself crowned king in 1253 with the Pope's approval, brought the neighboring tribes under his sovereignty by military force. At his death in 1263, his principality/kingdom encompassed approximately the area of present-day Lithuania. Parallel to this, the expansion to the east already took place in the 14th century. From the disintegration of the old Kievan Rus after the Mongol storm until 1240 several successor principalities had developed. Lithuania was prevented from pursuing an expansive western policy by the Teutonic Order, while the eastern flank lay open due to the Tatar invasion. The Grand Duchy of Lithuania advanced into this power vacuum and, with the conquest of Kiev (after 1362), came into competition with the Grand Duchy of Moscow for supremacy among the constituent principalities of Rus. Lithuanian eastward expansion reached its peak in the first half of the 15th century. The close political union of Poland and Lithuania resulted in the Real Union of Lublin in 1569, which meant the end of independent Lithuania, after the Lithuanian nobility had already increasingly come under the influence of Polish culture and language in the preceding decades. Thus, during the Reformation, Lithuania went the Polish way and remained Catholic, while the northern, German-influenced Baltic became Protestant. Lithuania remained with the Polish state until the partitions of Poland and then came under Russian rule in 1795. In the wake of perestroika, which triggered the Singing Revolution in the Baltics, Lithuania became the first union republic of the Soviet Union to declare itself a sovereign state in 1990 and renamed the Supreme Soviet the Constituent Assembly.

Place of Publication Basle
Dimensions (cm)27,5 x 16,5 cm
ConditionVery good


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