Von des Meeres Schiffung

  • Translation

Article ID DS0011


Von des Meeres Schiffung


Map shows a sailing boat from Hispania to the Orient, on reverse representaion of latitudes


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

The oldest evidence of the use of ships in Mesopotamia are cuneiform tablets with waybills for transports with rafts (keleks), which were made around 1900 BC. The Euphrates and Tigris drove down. About 200 years later, Mesopotamian city-states had trade links throughout the eastern Mediterranean. The colonization of Sicily by the Greeks around 750 BC BC testifies to Greek seafaring. By winning the sea battle at Salamis in 480 BC Athens rose to sea power. The ships used for this had three rows of oars ("trireme") and formed between the 6th and 3rd centuries BC. The main power of the war fleets. With these ships the Vikings reached Iceland (862), Greenland (901), America (≈1000) and penetrated into the Mediterranean area. Finds from the 7th century already show ships with a mast foot and were therefore both rowing and sailing ships. Until the late Middle Ages, these were single-masted and used a large square sail. They were steered by a rudder. With these ships the Vikings reached Iceland, Greenland, America and penetrated into the Mediterranean area. In the Indian Ocean, around the same time as the Viking ship, a new type of ship emerged, the Arab dhow. In the Far East, the junk developed as the predominant type of construction, the essential characteristics of which remained unchanged over a long period of time, even if there were a number of local variations of the basic design. In Northern Europe there were a number of innovations in shipbuilding in the 13th century. The first use of stern rudders in Northern Europe is known for 1242. Equipped with this innovation, but otherwise based on the Nef, a bulbous merchant ship was created, which was to become the predominant design in the North and Baltic Sea region until around 1400, the cog. n Portugal, which rose to the power of the sea in 1418 with the founding of the nautical school by Heinrich the Seafarer, a new type of ship developed in the 13th and 14th centuries that had the typical characteristics of the Mediterranean shipbuilding of the time, but was still seaworthy, the caravel. The age of discovery began with the caravel, because the Nao, a bulky, bulky ship with a high loading capacity, which was customary for transport on the Mediterranean in the Middle Ages, was too expensive and too slow for expeditions. Portuguese caravels reached Sierra Leone in 1460 and South Africa in 1488. With increasing trade and information exchange, a pan-European type of ship began to develop in the 15th century with the carrack. This was three-masted and had high superstructures that were incorporated into the ship's hull. Initially, this ship was still clinkered in Northern Europe, but Kraweel planking also prevailed in Northern Europe, which made it possible to build larger ships. The carrack was a sturdy and ocean-going ship that was immediately included in the increasing number of overseas expeditions. Columbus's fleet from 1492 still consisted of two caravels and one carrack, while that of Vasco da Gama from 1498 already consisted of five carracks. In southern Europe in particular, the transition from the nao to the carrack was very fluid, and both names were often used for the same type of ship. The 16th century was marked by an extreme increase in overseas traffic. Ships were not only used for exploration and discovery, but also had to transport increasing amounts of troops, goods and settlers. On the one hand, this was achieved by building the carracks even larger at the beginning, but the development of a new type of ship seemed inevitable. This is how the galleon emerged in the first half of the 16th century. Warships and merchant ships differed mainly in their armament, but were very similar in architecture. There were also regional differences. English ships with the same armament were usually smaller and more agile, which was to remain so until the end of the sailing warship era. The spreading influence of the Arabs led to a mixture of elements of the dhow with ancient shipbuilding in the Mediterranean, from which a new type of warship, the galley, developed towards the end of the first millennium.

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


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