TITLE: Schöner's Globes
DATE: 1533
AUTHOR: Johann Schöner

Schöner's Weimar Globe.
This globe is apparently made of wood or pasteboard, measuring 261 mm. diameter, depicted by hand, but neither signed nor dated. Harrisse provides a copy of the western hemisphere, to which we beg to refer the reader. There is a tract of Schöner's bearing this title: Geographical tract extracted from diverse books and maps, with great care and diligence, and arranged for the recently elaborated globe of the description of the earth.

It is dated ex urbe Norica Id. Novembris Anno xxxiii., that is, from the city of Nuremberg, November 13, 1533; but we do not know exactly when and where it was printed, as neither the title-page nor the last leaf contain printer's mark, date, or place of printing. It is very probable, however, that the book came out of a Nuremberg press, Frederick Peypus' or Johannes Petrus'. The tract is dedicated to Frederick of Saxony, and was written in elucidation of a terrestrial globe which Schöner had constructed at the same time for that prince. It is very generally believed that one of the globes preserved in the Grand Ducal Library at Weimar (ex-Militar Bibliothek), and which we are at present describing, is a duplicate, if not the globe itself, mentioned in the above-quoted Opusculum. We should state, however, that the Weimar sphere in question bears on its stand the date of "1534." This may arise from the tract and globe having been issued probably in January, 1534, which is only six or seven weeks after the date in the text. And as to Schöner being the maker, we entirely share Dr. Wieser's opinion, justly expressed in the following remarks:

Die Uebereinstimmung zwischen ihm und dem Opusculum , geographicum Schöner's von 1533, welche Schrift sich wiederholt auf einem neuen Globus bezieht ist so gross, dass an dem Datum und der Autorschaft gar nicht gezweifelt werden kann.

We can even go further, and add that the expressions used so far back as Schöner's tract of 1523, which we have quoted and will soon repeat, bespoke the configurations exhibited in this globe. By referring to our observations concerning Schöner's globe of 1523, it will be noticed that, in the Opusculum, he makes this statement:

But very lately, thanks to the recent navigations accomplished in 1519 by Magellan, the commander of the ships of Charles V. sent to the Molucca islands, it has been ascertained that the country [of America] belonged to the continent of Upper India, which is a portion of India.

The most noticeable peculiarity in the globe of 1533 is the blending of the New with the Old Continent; and, as the surprising inference just quoted is thus shown to have been the starting point of a new evolution in the cosmographical ideas of Schöner, which dates, therefore, from the time when he first heard of the discovery of the Magellanic passage, we are constrained to believe that the globe of 1523 already exhibited such geographical configuration. A consequence to be drawn from this fact is, as we have already remarked, that it was not Schöner who copied Finæus, but the reverse. Our theory is that this globe of 1533 is an improved reproduction of the one which the Nuremberg mathematician constructed in 1523, now lost. The later modifications were doubtless introduced in the northeast coast, but several years before 1533, as we find them already in the double cordiform mappamundi published by Finæus in 1531. The nomenclature of the present globe will be found in the comparative tables added to Harrisse's description of the Globe dore, or Gilt Globe (Slide #331.1)

LOCATION: Weimar, Stiftung Weimarer Klassik

SIZE: 28 cm diameter

Brown L.A., The World Encompassed, No. 73
*Dekker, E. & an der Krogt, P., Globes, p. 23.
*Fernandez-Armesto, F., Atlas of World Exploration, p. 49 , Figure G (color)
*Fite F., & Freeman, A., A Book Of Old Maps, p. 33, No. 10
*Harrisse, H., The Discovery of North America, pp. 371-3, 484-8, 490-2, 506-7,519-28, 592-4
Hennig, R. "The Representation on Maps of the Magalhaes Straits before their Discovery",
Imago Mundi V, 1948.
*Nordenskiöld, A.E., Facsimile Atlas, pp. 78-80
Shirley, R.W., The Mapping of the World, p. 45, #41
*Stevens, E.L., Globes, pp. 76, 83,86; Figures 42, 43, 44
*Wolff, H., pp. 30, 48, Fig.5


Index of Renaissance Maps