Slide #220.1

TITLE: Vercelli Mappamundi
ca. 1200
The English geographical culture in the 13th century is revealed in the unusual circumstance that four important 13th century mappaemundi, the Vercelli, Dutchy of Cornwall, Ebstorf and Hereford (see also Slides #224 , #226)- either are English or apear to have stong English connections. The Vercelli map, measuring 84 X 72 cm and obviously missing large portions of the map area, is the smallest of the three. It now resides in the Archivio Capitolare in Vercelli and has been dated by Carlo Capello to between 1191 and 1218. Its inspiration may well have been English. Capello believes that the map was carried to Vercelli by Cardinal Guala-Bicchieri on his return from England about 1218-19 as papal legate to Henry III. He also argues that the figure on the map of a king in Mauretania named "Phillip" is intended to represent Philip II of France (1180-1223) and not Philip III (1270-85). On stylistic grounds, he similarly places the map earlier rather than later in the 13th century and draws particular attention to the fact that, while considered part of the Orosian-Isidorian tradition (Slide #205 ), it is not centered on Jerusalem as were maps later in the century, like the Hereford and Ebstorf mappaemundi.

Archivio Capitolare, Vercelli


*Destombes, M., Mappemones A.D. 1200-1500, Plate XXIII.

*Harley, J.B., The History of Cartography, Volume One, pp. 306-309, 341, 348, Figure 18.17.


Index of Early Medieval Maps