Slide #216

TITLE: World Map of Guido
DATE: 1119 A.D.
AUTHOR: Guido of Pisa
DESCRIPTION: In 1119 A.D. a man called Guido of Pisa, of whom nothing more is known, compiled a work of extracts, mainly geographical, in six books. The first of these contained a description of Italy, with extracts chiefly from the 'Anonymous Geographer of Ravenna' (Slide #203), but also from the Antonine Itinerary and the Notitia Urbis. The second book gave only extracts from Isidore of Seville (Slide #205), while the third, dealing with the general geography of the earth, combined Isidorian excerpts with passages from the Ravennese. The last three books gave a chronicle reaching down to 1108 A.D., with lists of the Lombard, Frankish and German kings, and special notices of the deeds of the Pisans and Genoese against the Saracens. Two of the existing manuscripts of this work (those at Brussels and Florence) contain map-pictures, one being a T-O map of Isidorian type, and the other two works of a much higher value. The latter maps are found in the Brussel's manuscript only, and are devoted to Italy and the world.

The highly stylized world map shown here belongs to the passage where Guido roughly defines the boundaries of the three continents; it is colored, and measures 13 cm across. According to Konrad Miller, this mappamundi is perhaps a reduced sketch of a larger work, of which a piece is better represented in the sectional plan of Italy, which occurs in the same manuscript. For the most part the text agrees with familiar sources from the early medieval period - Orosius, the Ravennese Geographer, and Isidore; but the names of Barcelona, Lyons, Samaria, and others (all of which do not appear in Guido's chief sources) show that this is no mere illustration of these authors, but also included contemporary information/modifications. The form of the Mediterranean is very peculiar, and the size of the rivers and inland waters of the continents is exaggerated more than in almost any other medieval map. The strange triangular formation in which the Mediterranean from one side, and the Black Sea and Aegaean from another, run southward almost to the Sea of Ethiopia, naturally affects the shape of Africa, whose northern coast has an unusual inclination to the southeast. The Gulf of Azov, the Palus Maeotis of classical times, becomes the Meotides Paludes (center, left).

The map is colored in the style of other medieval mappaemundi with the seas in blue, except the Red Sea which is in red, the rivers are in green, relief is represented in double leaves (green inside), and the settlements are represented by legends only.

LOCATION: Bibliotheque Royale Albert Ier, MS. 3897-3919, (cat. 3095), fol. 53v.


*Beazley, C.R., The Dawn of Modern Geography, volume III, pp. 632 - 633.
*Destombes, M., Mappemondes, A.D. 1200-1500, #25.2.
*Harley, J.B., The History of Cartography, Volume One, pp. 327-28, 348, 350, Figure 18.62.
*Miller, K., Mappaemundi:Die aeltesten Weltkarten, volume III, pp. 54-57.
Wright, J.K., The Geographical Lore of the Time of the Crusades, pp. 104, 124-125.


Index of Early Medieval Maps