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Forme du savoir, forme de pouvoir

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Jean-Marc Besse

Deuxième partie - La forme-atlas dans la construction des savoirs

Atlas or Order

The Origins of the Early Modern Universal Utopia

George Tolias

Résumé

Entre la fin du Moyen Âge et le début de la période moderne, plusieurs couches de sens se superposent dans l’image d’Atlas : il incarnait l’intelligence humaine de la machine universelle, il était associé au Premier moteur ou à l’axe universel, et servait comme métaphore de la connaissance universelle et de l’interprétation astrologique, de l’ordre cosmique et de la Providence divine ou même comme métaphore de la responsabilité morale. Les cosmographes et les astronomes se sont servi son image pour indiquer leur tâche d’explorer la rationalité universelle. Le déclin du géocentrisme et de la cosmologie astrologique au XVIe siècle ont transformé l’Atlas en une figure emblématique du panoptisme géographique. Ainsi, la cartographie commerciale a conservé l’image d’Atlas en tant que porteur de la Terre, qui devint l’enseigne des grandes collections de cartes au XVIIe et XVIIIe siècles.

Texte intégral

Exploring the World Machine

  • 1 Acknowledgements: Warm thanks are due to Jean-Marc Besse for his kind invitation to the thought-pr (...)
  • 2 For Atlas’ iconography in antiquity, see Atlas 1986; for Atlas and late medieval and early modern (...)
  • 3 For the use of Atlas in modern visual encyclopaedism, see Daston and Galison 2007. The Merriam-Web (...)
  • 4 For the broader uses of the term, see Wood 1987; Besse 2003; Didi-Huberman 2011.
  • 5 In the first English edition of the work (Mercator 1636), the title was translated in English as A (...)

1The legend of Atlas has never vanished1. An emblematic figure of effort and fortitude, the bearer of the heavens inspired authors and artists, scholars and scientists in all the ages of the world2. The term « atlas » now denotes a bound collection of maps, but also all sorts of organized visual compendia in a number of disciplines, such as astronomy, history, sociology or life and natural sciences3. Furthermore, it designates several structural elements in a variety of fields, ranging from anatomy to mathematics and computing, and from architecture to psychology4. These implicit comprehensive or structural associations have transformed Atlas to an organising agent, as attested by two major twentieth-century works in literature and the humanities which bear this title – Borges’ Atlas (1984) and Aby Warburg’s Mnemosyne Atlas (1924-29) – works which both express the same desire to restore order to a world of scattered images. A similar aspiration lay behind the work that coined the term in the late sixteenth century – Atlas sive cosmographicae meditationes de fabrica mundi et fabricati figura (Atlas or cosmographic meditations on the creation of the world and on its created image), a large volume containing Gerardus Mercator’s maps of the world’s regions, published in Duisburg in 1595, by his son and heir, Rumuldus, some months after his death5.

2The title was not confined to a collection of geographical maps, but was referring to Mercator’s lifelong ambition to explore the workings of the world machine:

  • 6 Mercator’s address to William of Jülich-Cleves-Berge in Mercator/Ptolemy 1578, f. 1r.

Since my youth geography has been for me the primary object of study. When I was engaged in it, having applied the considerations of the natural and geometric sciences, I liked, little by little, not only the description of the earth, but also the structure of the whole machinery of the world, whose numerous elements are not known by anyone to date6.

3As further explained in the Atlas, his project was an attempt to embrace knowledge in its entirety. It was inspired by a Christian Neoplatonic and Neopythagorean notion that God created the universe according to mathematical principles and it aimed to include essays on cosmology, astronomy and astrology, ancient and modern geography of the earthly kingdoms, and a universal chronology and genealogy.

  • 7 Mercator 1595, f. A.2r° (Intentio totius cosmographiae). Translated by David Sullivan in Mercator (...)

And just as the cosmos contains the number, species, order, harmony, proportion, virtues, and effects of all things, even so, beginning from the creation, I shall enumerate all its parts and contemplate them naturally, as a methodical account demands, according to the order of their creation, so that the causes of things shall be evident. From these comes science, and from science wisdom, which directs all things to good ends. From wisdom comes prudence, which lays down an easy path for those ends. This shall be the aim of all things for me; then, in proper order, I shall treat of celestial bodies, then of astrological matters, which pertain to divination from the stars. Fourthly, I shall treat of the elements and then of geography. Thus I shall lay out the whole world as though in a mirror, so that there shall be certain rudiments for finding the causes of things and attaining wisdom and prudence, sufficient to lead the reader to higher speculations7.

  • 8 Hacket 1997; Woodward 1997; Gautier Dalché, 2015 and 2009, p. 135-142. See also Glacken 1976, I, p (...)

4Mercator’s cosmos containing the « number, species, order, harmony, proportion, virtues and effects of all things » follows the main assumptions of Christian Neoplatonic cosmology, as reaffirmed in the Latin West from the thirteenth century, with the recovery, through its Arabic versions, of Ptolemy’s universal mathematical system. Especially, it echoes Roger Bacon’s conception of cosmography as a complex science in which theology, astronomy and geography are correlated on the basis of a divinely created mathematical and astrological coherence8. For an expert eye, everything in the creation was an element of theophany while its overall representation was a practice of theurgy.

  • 9 Mercator 1569; Mercator 1578.
  • 10 On Mercator’s hexaemeron, see Gautier Dalché 2015.

5Mercator’s project was to remain incomplete. By his death, only the essays on chronology and ancient geography were published9, while the posthumous edition of the Atlas included a Neoplatonic interpretation of the Creation, in the form of an hexaemeron, and a set of some hundred maps, accompanied by their equivalent descriptions of modern geography10. If ever composed, the traces of his treatises on astronomy and astrology are lost.

  • 11 Diodorus 1935, 3.60 : « [Atlas] perfected the science of astrology and was the first to publish to (...)
  • 12 Eusebius’ references to Atlas are extensive in his Praeparatio evangelica, extracted mainly from D (...)
  • 13 Mercator 1595, fol. A.1r° (Praefatio in Atlantem).

6The justification of the choice of the Titan for the title of the book is given in the « Preface to the Atlas », a programmatic text introducing the 1595 edition. Quoting Diodorus Siculus’ euhemerist interpretation of the ancient myths11, and the early Christian syncretic exegetics by Eusebius Pamphili12, Mercator presents Atlas as the ancient king of Mauritania, son of the Titan Atlas, grandson of Sun (Elius) and son of the Sky (Cœlus) and the Earth (Terra), « a most skilled astrologer, and the first among men that disputed of the Sphere »13. He belonged to the royal race of the firstborn Atlantes, « which acquired great prudence as well as compassion and piety, through the contemplation of natural things ». Atlas is described as a wise and prudent philosopher king, an ideal of erudition, humaneness, and wisdom.

  • 14 Idem. Translated by David Sullivan in Mercator 2000.

I have set this man Atlas, so notable for his erudition, humaneness, and wisdom as a model for my imitation, so far as my genius and strength suffice, as I begin to contemplate cosmography as though in the lofty mirror of my mind, if by chance I may be able to uncover some truth in maters hitherto obscure, which you might bring to your studies of wisdom14.

7To follow him meant recovering his universal wisdom and « ascend to the contemplation of the world machine », the definite objective of cosmography:

  • 15 Mercator 1595, fol. A2r (Intentio totius cosmographiae). Translated by David Sullivan in Mercator (...)

For any mind considering the construction of this world machine […] the most praiseworthy, exquisite, and wisest adornment and disposition of its fabric […] For this is our goal while we treat of cosmography: that from the marvellous harmony of all things toward God’s sole end, and the impenetrable providence in their composition […] He founded and ordered this world, which we have undertaken to contemplate, and all its parts necessary for the use of man as he is thus constituted, in the order, nature, and proportion that we shall see, next to it its idea, conceived from eternity, by his omnipotence15

  • 16 Mercator 1595, fol. A1v (Stemma Atlantis). For Hermes Trismegistus in the Renaissance, see Yates 1 (...)
  • 17 Diodorus 1935, III.60.4: « Atlas, the myth goes on to relate, also had seven daughters, who as a g (...)
  • 18 On the relations between early modern regional mapping and the consolidation of political geograph (...)
  • 19 Mercator 1595, f. XXXr: « My spirit, avid to celebrate Roman antiquity, drew me to the seat of tha (...)

8At the end of his Preface, and always quoting Diodorus and Eusebius, Mercator draws the genealogy of Atlas, from his forbearers to his progenies, Hesperus, (the second) Atlas, and his seven daughters, the Hesperides, guardians of the garden of the golden apples. The last of the Hesperides to be mentioned is Maia, together with her son, Mercury/Hermes, often confused with the Hellenistic philosopher and God Hermes Trismegistus, the alleged founder of hermeticism16. According to Diodorus, the Hesperides « laid with the most renowned heroes and gods and thus became the first ancestors of the larger part of the race of human beings »17. By publishing this genealogy, Mercator most probably wished to indicate the bonds of kinship between the inventor of astrology and the founder of the hermetic tradition, and did not go as far as to suggest that Atlas was the forefather of the nations and, thus, an original agent of the political geography that lies behind the regional structure of the maps forming his book18. With one exception. In his dedication to the set of maps of south-eastern Europe to the Grand Duke of Tuscany, Ferdinando II de’ Medici, Mercator referred to Atlas’ progenies and celebrated the prince as a descendant of Idaean Hercules and Janus, King of Etruria, disciple of the Italian Atlas19.

Atlas and Ptolemy

  • 20 See Akerman 1991, 1995b and 2005.
  • 21 The earliest known collections of maps are those compiled by Pietro Vesconte and Paolino Veneto in (...)

9Mercator’s invention was not the book of maps, but the label under which the bound collection of maps was to be identified as a book category20. Collections of manuscript maps in a book had been circulating with no title or under a variety of titles since the early fourteenth century21. The following century saw the proliferation of these books, through the production of systematic collections of nautical charts, isolarii and, principally, manuscript and later printed editions of Ptolemy’s Geography, a work which offered a model for this type of book. Ptolemy’s geographical work can be considered as a proto-atlas since it is composed by an introduction on how to draw and project a world map (Book I), an extensive gazetteer of some 8,000 place names with their coordinates (Books II to VII), and a set of 27 maps, a world map and 26 regional maps which cover the entirety of the known inhabited world (Book VIII).

  • 22 Ormeling 2015; Tolias 2014-15.

10The impact of Ptolemy’s Geography on the concept of the atlas was seminal, since the Greek mapmaking manual set the standards of geometrical and graphic unity as well as the structural model for the contents of a geographical atlas22. Gradually, the editions of Ptolemy’s Geography would be supplemented with modern maps and, later on, with ancient and modern geographical descriptions. The demand for an analytical cartographic representation of the world would boost the relevant production. Enriched editions of Ptolemy’s Geography would culminate in northern Italy during the second half of the sixteenth century. Around the same period, collections of printed maps, plans and topographical views also increased. What we call nowadays an « atlas » would be standardized as a book genre between 1570 and 1600, when the Italian compilations of « modern maps of geography according to Ptolemy’s order » (Geografia. Tavole moderne di geografia […] secondo l’ordine di Tolomeo) appeared, published in Rome and Venice, as well as the editions of more or less systematic collections of maps by Abraham Ortelius, Gerard de Jode and Mercator, published in Antwerp and Duisburg, the Theatrum orbis terrarum, the Speculum orbis terrarum and the Atlas, respectively.

  • 23 van der Krogt 2009, p. 480-482. « Atlas » is sometimes combined with Ortelius’ « Theatrum », anoth (...)
  • 24 Akerman 1998.

11What made Mercator’s title into a trademark, rather than its concurrent « theatre », « mirror », or the more pedestrian « geography », was the unity of content, the mathematical and graphic coherence of the maps it contained. They were all designed afresh, based on an integrated projection system and a cohesive computation of longitude and latitude, while their geographic content was the result of a critical confrontation of all the available information, ancient and modern. In contrast, the Italian publishers, as well as Ortelius and de Jode, were not the creators of the maps contained in their books, but rather their editors. Their volumes included carefully selected maps made by various modern authors, edited in a more or less unified format and accompanied by explanatory texts. Thanks to the geometric coherence and the unity of Mercator’s maps, the Atlas rapidly gained authority. The commercial success of the book initiated and sustained an important and lucrative publishing industry in the Low Countries for the next two centuries23. It did not take long for the title to become a trademark, a standard appellation for editions containing systematic collections of geography maps24.

12For the posthumous 1595 edition of Mercator’s Atlas, Rumuldus used two different title pages. The first one was for the overall book. It shows Atlas in a portico as a biblical patriarch holding the Creation in his hands. He is not a powerfully built giant bearing the heavens on his shoulders, but a bearded, broad-shouldered and mature man seated on a mountain peak and holding a celestial globe in his hands. His burden is not physical but intellectual. He is gazing expertly the celestial globe while the terrestrial globe is posed at his feet, an allusion to his meditation on the associations between the two spheres. Atop the portico two putti are depicted, holding an armillary sphere, a device described by Ptolemy in his Almagest showing the geocentric universal system (fig. 1).

Fig. 1 – Title page of the 1595 edition of Mercator’s Atlas sive cosmographicae meditationes de fabrica mundi et fabricati figura, Washington, Library of Congress, G1007.A7, 1595 (© Library of Congress).

Fig. 1 – Title page of the 1595 edition of Mercator’s Atlas sive cosmographicae meditationes de fabrica mundi et fabricati figura, Washington, Library of Congress, G1007.A7, 1595 (© Library of Congress).

13The frontispiece, which introduces the cartographic section, was borrowed from Mercator’s 1579 edition of Ptolemy’s Geographia, with its title changed to « Second part of the Atlas. Modern geography of the entire world » (Atlantis pars altera. Geographia nova totius Mundi, fig. 2). It shows a portico with the celestial and the terrestrial globes posed at its summit and at its base, respectively. Standing at the two side pillars of the portico are Ptolemy and Marinus of Tyre. The former is depicted with the long beard of a northern humanist, holding astronomical and geometrical instruments; the latter is portrayed as a Venetian trader, holding a rolled map. He is the cartographer, the practical man who sets down the empirical knowledge of traders, seafarers and travellers on a map. Ptolemy holds in his raised right hand an armillary sphere and points towards the celestial globe, posited at the summit of the portico, while in his left hand he holds a pair of dividers and points to the terrestrial globe at the base of the portico. He is the cosmographer, the sage who explores the mathematical relations between the spheres. The image refers, therefore, not only to Ptolemy’s cartographical work but to his overall project, which included treaties on mathematical astronomy (the Almagest), astrology (the Tetrabiblos), cartography (Geography) and music (Harmonica). In this sense, Ptolemy, just like Atlas, was another archetype of Mercator’s ideal of cosmographer, the philosopher explorer of the universal machine, the one who deciphers the mathematic coherence of the universe.

Fig. 2 – Frontispiece to the map section of the 1595 edition of Mercator’s Atlas (Atlantis pars altera. Geographia nova totius mundi), Washington, Library of Congress, G1007.A7 1595, (© Library of Congress).

Fig. 2 – Frontispiece to the map section of the 1595 edition of Mercator’s Atlas (Atlantis pars altera. Geographia nova totius mundi), Washington, Library of Congress, G1007.A7 1595, (© Library of Congress).

Magnus astrologus

  • 25 See the website Iconography of Ptolemy’s Portrait, http://rd.uqam.ca/Ptolemy/index.html. Before 14 (...)
  • 26 Saxl 1933, p. 44-53. Panofsky 1939, p. 20-21, added to these the images of Atlas-like religious fi (...)
  • 27 Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, MS Pal. Lat. 1417, fol. 1r (Saxl 1933, p. 46); Biblioteca Nazional (...)

14To my knowledge, no theoretical text existed before Mercator to justify the place of Atlas in early modern cosmological and cosmographical thought, and this may be one reason for the absence of systematic research on this subject. It appears, however, that Ptolemy, rather than Atlas, was first employed as patron and symbol of the art of astronomy. A significant body of evidence survives from the early twelfth century onwards in which Ptolemy embodies astronomy, as on the sculptured decoration of cathedrals, on frescoes and, mostly, on illustrated manuscripts25. In contrast to the astronomical context of Ptolemy’s representations, the early images of Atlas are encountered principally in an astrological cosmological context. Research undertaken by Fritz Saxl and resumed by Kristen Lippincott26 traces Atlas’ iconography back to the late eleventh- or early twelfth-century astrological manuscripts, especially in some early copies of the Dialogus inter Nemroth et Joathon de Astronomia, such as those kept in the Biblioteca apostolica vaticana, the Marciana or the Bibliothèque nationale de France27.

  • 28 Draelants 2018.
  • 29 Atlas magnus astrologus, rex Ispanensium, regens humeris suis celum inclinatum cum stellis.
  • 30 Nemroth inspector celorum ac rex Caldeorum, regens manibus suis celum inclinatum sine stellis. Gui (...)
  • 31 Venice, Biblioteca nazionale Marciana, MS Lat. VIII 22 (2760), fol. 1v. Primo in edificio sic fund (...)

15The book is a short version of an anonymous cosmological treatise of probably Syriac origin, translated into Latin between the sixth and tenth centuries28. Although there is no mention of Atlas in the Dialogus, he is depicted in some manuscripts at the very beginning of the text. The Vatican copy is introduced by an excerpt from Augustine’s De civitate Dei (18.8), where Atlas is mentioned as a great astrologer, one of the Greek wise men of the time of Moses, together with Prometheus, his brother. In the accompanying illustration, Atlas is shown together with Nimrod, the legendary king of the Chaldeans. He is standing on the Pyrenees (« Pireni montes ») and he is bearing the firmament. A legend describes him as « the great astrologer, King of Spain, who carries on his bent shoulders the heavens covered with stars »29. Nimrod is standing on the Mountains of of Judea (« montes Amorreorum ») and is described as « Inspector of the heavens and King of the Chaldeans, who carries on his hands the heavens without stars »30. Although Augustine’s excerpt is not included in the Marciana copy, Atlas is also depicted at the opening of the book, this time alone, carrying the starry sky next to an image of the celestial sphere without stars. A legend explains that the first part of the treatise presents the rudiments of the sky, followed by the stars with their relevant « calculations »31. One can deduct from these representations that the two copies belong to the same manuscript tradition, which originally included Augustine’s testimony on the alleged inventor of astrology. Atlas represented, therefore, the knowledge of the stars and their orbits, in other words, the celestial mechanics, while Nimrod represented the knowledge of the structure of the Heavens, in other words, the properties of the spheres.

  • 32 Pliny 1938, II.6.3 and Pliny 1942, VII.57.12; see also Eusebius 1903, IX.17.

16The perception of Atlas as inventor of astrology was imposed by Pliny’s and Augustine’s accounts. Pliny presented Atlas as the discoverer of the art32, and Augustine placed him in the obscure pantheon of arcane wisdom, describing him as a great astrologer and grandfather of Mercury, grandfather himself of Hermes Trismegistus:

  • 33 Augustine 1965, 18.8 and 18.39.

When [...] Moses was born in Egypt [...] some have thought that Prometheus lived [...] His brother Atlas is said to have been a great astrologer; and this gave occasion for the fable that he held up the sky, although the vulgar opinion about his holding up the sky appears rather to have been suggested by a high mountain named after him. Indeed, from those times many other fabulous things began to be invented in Greece; [...] In those times also, Mercury, the grandson of Atlas by his daughter Maia, is said to have lived, according to the common report in books. He was famous for his skill in many arts, and taught them to men, for which they resolved to make him, and even believed that he deserved to be a god after death. [...] during the time when Moses was born, Atlas, the great astrologer and the brother of Prometheus, is found to have lived. Atlas was the maternal grandfather of the elder Mercury. His grandson, in turn, was that Mercury called Thrice Great33.

  • 34 Isidore 2011, 8.17 ; Honorius 1583, p. 27.
  • 35 Bacon 1928, I, p. 55-56.
  • 36 Burnett, 1994 ; Gautier Dalché 2009, p. 122.
  • 37 Munich, Staatsbibliothek, Clm 10268, fol. 19v; Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Bodley 266, fol. 25r. (...)

17Summaries or variations of Pliny’s and Augustine’s description are to be found in Isidore of Seville, Rabanus Maurus and Julius Honorius34. The perception of Atlas as a great astrologer would be reinforced in the thirteenth century by Bacon’s account in his Opus majus. Bacon stresses Atlas’ astrological skills and wisdom, his Egyptian origin and his kinship with Hermes Trismegistus, « a famous philosopher of Egypt and lands to the south, especially in morals and in those things known to pertain to worship and divine matters »35. In a similar context, Atlas (« Athalas ») appears also in Michael Scotus’ Liber introductorius. The court astrologer of Frederick II played a key role in disseminating the Arabic traditions of judicial astrology in the Latin West, and in instilling notions of astrological determinism in geography36. Scotus reshaped Atlas’ legend. Probably inspired by his Arabic readings, he presented Atlas as an Egyptian astrologer and inventor of the astrolabe, who travelled to Europe and sold an astrolabe to two French clerics, whom he encountered in Spain, who, later on, erected an enormous statue of him, in order to honour him for his invention. The variation of the legend echoes the Greek and Roman mythographic traditions, the discovery of the science of stars, the gigantic corpulence of the Titan, the bearing of the sky and the pillars of Hercules. In two early manuscripts of the Liber introductorius, Atlas is shown as a naked leonine giant, holding the heavens in the form of a rota, a circular astrological diagram showing the 12 zodiac signs (fig. 3)37.

Fig. 3 – « Athalas », in Michael Scotus, Liber introductorius, Munich, Staatsbibliothek, Clm 10268, f. 19v°.

Fig. 3 – « Athalas », in Michael Scotus, Liber introductorius, Munich, Staatsbibliothek, Clm 10268, f. 19v°.
  • 38 The relevant literature is profuse. For an overview, see Garin 1983; Grafton and Newman 2001; also (...)
  • 39 For commentators of Sacrobosco’s La sphera, see Thorndike 1949 p. 429; for Giovanni Pontano, see S (...)

18Pliny’s, Augustine’s and Bacon’s highly influential accounts imposed Atlas as the mythical founder of astrology. As the science of stars would evolve into a general frame of reference for understanding the world, Atlas, its patron, would gain in authority38. From the fourteenth to the sixteenth centuries, and from the commentators of Sacrobosco to Giovanni Pontano, and from Regiomontanus to Gerolamo Cardano, astrologers would constantly refer to the legendary pioneer of the astrological interpretation of the universe39. Most of their mentions are merely rhetorical allusions to the noble origins and the high antiquity of the art; nonetheless, they reveal the power of the symbol and its wide recognition.

Atlas moralized

  • 40 The literature on the subject is extensive. For Hercules in antiquity, see Stafford 2012; for the (...)
  • 41 Boethius 2009, p. 73: « The bristling boar of Erymanthus flecked with his own foam the shoulders w (...)

19As the first man to penetrate the secret pattern of the universe, Atlas’ toil also embodied the constant labours of the learned to attain knowledge, and inspired scholars since the very dawn of humanism. And as his legend was connected to the Labours of Hercules and Perseus, he was frequently evoked within the context of the renewed interest on heroic exempla40. According to the legend, Hercules replaced Atlas for a while. In his penultimate labour, and before his descent to the underworld, Hercules bore the firmament in Atlas’ place, in order to obtain the golden apples from the forbidden garden of the Hesperides, Atlas’ seven daughters. The encounter between the hero and the Titan, the exchange for the heavenly burden and the handover of the golden apples, was understood as a metaphor for the acquisition of knowledge, a vision in which echoes a Boethian notion of the ultimate reward of a life dedicated to the pursuit of wisdom41. Petrarch saw in this encounter a mark of the innate sagacity of the hero-philosopher, liable to acquire the ultimate wisdom through the teaching of Atlas, an expert on celestial matters.

  • 42 Petrarch 2009, (De viris illustribus), Hercules, 2.

Hercules, therefore, himself a most renowned philosopher, as some think, and an incomparable warrior, mightier than the rest of the humans, as some others think, combining both in one man, as testified by many instances, joining the brilliance of intellect to the surpassing martial valour. The innate sagacity of this man was so great, that he held the heavens on his shoulders, so that the knowledge of the heavenly things was bestowed upon him by Atlas, a great expert in these matters, as it is said42.

20Following Petrarch, Coluccio Salutati considered too the encounter of the hero and the Titan as an allegory of the transmission of science. In his commentary on the labours of Hercules, composed between 1378 and 1405, the chancellor of Florence interpreted the legend of the acquisition of the golden apples as a complex metaphor for the transmission and dissemination of knowledge, especially the sort related to the computation of time, achieved through the understanding of the motion of the stars:

  • 43 Salutati 1995, III.25.18.

Hercules, however, a man of the most consummate perfection, went over the real walls [of the Garden of the Hesperides], that is, by marking out the situation of the stars, as far as possible; he also defeated the dragon, either by putting it to sleep or killing it, that is, he discovered the guiding principle of time. Thus coming to the model and the knowledge of the stars, he seizes the apples of Juno or of Atlas, since he is believed to have learned astronomy in those parts from Atlas and to have first brought this very science into Greece43.

  • 44 Macrobius 2001-03, II.11.
  • 45 Servius 1946, I.303-304 (quoted and translated by Shapiro 1983, n. 10).
  • 46 Schuler 1999.
  • 47 Vitruvius 1999, VI.7.6.

21Inspired by a strong confidence in the scientific method, Salutati composed a daring praise of natural philosophy and condemned false knowledge and superstition. According to him, Atlas’ knowledge of the stars did not aim to serve astrological speculations but to assist the navigators, the accurate measuring of time and the setting of the calendar. It has been suggested that Salutati’s commentary on the legend of the golden apples was inspired by Macrobius’ commentary on the Dream of Scipio, narrated by Cicero, but also by Servius, who saw in it a reference to the astronomical definition of the year44. According to Servius, Atlas, « divided the year temporally and first described the course of the planets and the circuits of the stars and the nature of their travel, is said to uphold the heavens. He is said to have instructed Mercury and Hercules, wherefore it is told that Hercules assumed the support of the heavens from him – on account of the knowledge of the skies which was conveyed 45». Salutati’s perception of Atlas as the first man that studied scientifically the patterns of the stars, may have been also reinforced by another authority, Vitruvius’ De Architectura, as his library contained one of the few copies of it circulating in the fourteenth century46. Vitruvius describes Atlas as « the first person who explained to mankind the sun’s course, that of the moon, the rising and setting of the stars, and the celestial motions, by the power of his mind and the acuteness of his understanding. Hence it is, that, by painters and sculptors, he is, for his exertions, represented as bearing the world »47.

  • 48 Bertrand Boysset, Traité d’Arpentage, Carpentras, Bibliothèque Inguimbertine, MS 327, f. 161 bis. (...)

22Petrarch’s and Salutati’s readings of the myth presented Hercules as being instructed by Atlas to celestial mechanics, astronomical navigation, and calendar scholarship. On an early fifteenth-century fresco on the south wall of the Sala d’Ercole in the Palazzo Paradiso in Ferrara, a serene young Hercules bears the firmament and holds a sextant in his hand. The legendary instruction of Hercules in astronomical computations permeated the vernacular literature too. It echoes Bertrand Boysset’s illustrated survey treatise, composed in the Provençal dialect in 1406. In this text, Hercules, « a man tall and wise, accepting every challenge, excellent and bold in the handling of weapons, well made of his person and all his members », is presented as the inventor of the measure of the league, an extraordinary achievement that required the combined understanding of mathematics, geometry, astrology and the science of surveying48.

  • 49 Remmert 2007.

23The genealogy of the transmission of celestial knowledge from Atlas to the mortals, through his teaching of Hercules and Mercury/Hermes Trismegistus, was uneven. Atlas’ teaching of Hercules inspired a rich literature and iconography, especially in the field of astronomy, where Hercules finished by becoming its emblematic patron49. In contrast, Atlas’ teaching of Mercury, although alluded by Augustine and defended by Servius, did not left obvious traces in Renaissance culture. At any rate, Atlas’ knowledge of the celestial mechanics and the rationale of time, and his task as keeper of the forbidden garden of the Hesperides’ golden apples, endowed him with a godly feature. This is how he was seen by Petrarch’s intimate friend, Pierre Bersuire. In his Ovidius moralisatus, a Christianized rendering of the Metamorphoses completed by 1340, Atlas (« Athlas ») appears as a divine metaphor.

  • 50 Ovid 1916-1927, I, p. 225 (IV. 620-662).
  • 51 Shapiro 1983, p. 338. See also Kretschmer 2016.
  • 52 Ovide moralisé, 1919-38, IV, 6403-05 and 6428-29.

24In Ovid’s Metamorphoses, Atlas is associated with the legend of Perseus, and tacitly related to Hercules. After the slaying of the Gorgon Medusa, Perseus sought Atlas’ hospitality, announcing that he was a son of Zeus. Atlas refused, for a prophecy warned that a son of Zeus (Hercules) would steal the golden apples of the Hesperides. Offended, Perseus showed him Medusa’s head and turned him into a mighty mountain that reached the starry sky50. In her skilful analysis, Marianne Shapiro underlines the shared features of kingship, arcane wisdom and forbearance, through which Bersuire paralleled Atlas to the Christian God51. The godly image of Atlas is reiterated and even reinforced in the anonymous French poem Ovide moralisé, composed during the same time. Atlas becomes « God our Father », who holds the firmament and sustains the creation: « Athlas puet noter Dieu le père / C’est li rois ou tous bien habonde / Rois qui regne en la fin du monde / … Cil porte tout le firmament, / Et done a tous soustenement… »52.

  • 53 Gotha, Landesbibliothek, MS membr. I.98, f. 24r and 137r (Saxl 1933, p. 48).
  • 54 Bibliothèque nationale de France, MS lat. 10764, f. 285r.

25The Ovidian legend of Atlas left numerous traces, both literary and iconographic. An illustrated Bolognese copy of Ovidius moralisatus, made towards the end of the fourteenth century, includes two images of Atlas; the first illustrates the scene when Perseus turned him into a mountain that sustained the sky, while the second reveals him as a godly figure supporting the starry sky53. The petrification of Atlas is also the subject of the allegory of Africa, included in a 1490 Neapolitan manuscript copy of Ptolemy’s Geography, now kept in the Bibliothèque nationale de France. Atlas is bearing the universe in the form of an Isidorian diagram of the cosmic spheres, bound by the zodiac54.

  • 55 Boiardo 1989.
  • 56 Ronsard 1555, p. 188-189 (« Hercule chrestien »).

26It has to be noted, however, that in the literary creation, vernacular or learned, Atlas as recipient and keeper of secret knowledge had an ambivalent status. He is the pagan sorcerer Atlante in the twelfth century chansons de geste and was converted to Christianity at the end of the fifteenth century by Boiardo, who made him Charlemagne’s counsellor against the Saracens55. In Ariosto’s Orlando furioso (1516), he is the sophisticated magician who keeps Ruggiero under his spell in his palace of illusions. We have to wait the middle of the sixteenth century, and Ronsard’s Hymns, for Atlas to become again God the Father, and Hercules, his pupil, God the Son: « Qu’est-ce d’Hercule, et du puissant Atlas,/ Qui ce grand ciel soutiennent de leurs bras,/ Sinon le Père, et le Fils qui ressemble/ De force au Père, et soutiennent ensemble / Tout ce grand monde, ouvrage qui seroit/ bien tost tombé si Dieu ne le tenoit ? »56.

A Cosmic Agent

  • 57 On the notion of the world machine, see Galzerano 2018; Popplow 2007; Mittelstrass 1995; Settis 20 (...)

27Atlas grew in significance during the course of the fifteenth century, within the growing confidence in a universal mathematical coherence. The integration of Ptolemy’s universal mathematical system (at the same time astronomical, astrological, geographical, and harmonic) in the established Aristotelean conception of the world reinforced the longlasting idea of a mathematically regulated world machine, open to Christian Neoplatonic, Neopythagorean or Neostoicist speculation57. The astronomical coordinates of the celestial sphere and the geographic coordinates of places were understood as parts of a unique pattern, expressions of an all-embracing astrological rationale which governed spheres, planets, elements, and men. Within this scheme, the mathematical conception of the map reflected the mathematical conception of the universe; the notional, the natural, and the representational space were merged, a fusion which the figure of Atlas, as a mediator between the heavens and the sublunary world, served quite well.

  • 58 Now kept in the Museo de Tapices y textiles de Toledo. Measuring 415 x 800 cm, it has been named i (...)

28The absence of a theoretical text that defends the function of Atlas as a cosmic device contrasts with the multiple iconographic and literary testimonies which survive from the late fifteenth century and onwards, and attest that Atlas was accepted as such. An interesting illustration is provided by an impressive Brussels or Tournai tapestry, dated 1490-1500, which decorated the Toledo cathedral before 1503 (fig. 4)58. It shows in its centre the world machine, in the shape of a celestial sphere with the zodiac signs and their patrons. Atlas (« Athlas ») is turning the universe, assisted by two figures that help him with a crank. The first one is an angelic emanation from a godly figure of the Prime Mover (Potentia primi motoris), and the second a personification of the moving agility (Agilitas mobilis). At the right side of the celestial sphere stands Philosophy enthroned, with Geometry and Mathematics sitting at her feet. On her left stands Astrology and on her right are standing two men, Abrachis and Virgil.

Fig. 4 – Atlas turning the world machine. Brussels or Tournai tapestry, 1490-1500. Museo de Tapices y textiles de Toledo.

Fig. 4 – Atlas turning the world machine. Brussels or Tournai tapestry, 1490-1500. Museo de Tapices y textiles de Toledo.
  • 59 Vandenbroeck 2016, p. 370-373; Massing 1991, p. 214-215.

29Three inscriptions explain the composition59. The first one (top left) reads as follows: « The fixed stars adorn the sky, who revolves under the pole both through the direction of the North Wind and the South Wind; according to their different effects they correspond to different people and the various signs and planets while the belt of the zodiac controls their movement. » The middle inscription states: « The poets say when the angel acts under the power of the prime mover; the world harmonizes to this with its own agility [and] the sky revolves controlling its motion. » The last one (top right) reads: « Abrachis understood through Philosophy and through Science these facts of Astrology, of which the poet Virgil speaks. Others possess this knowledge through geometry and mathematics, and their number is growing ».

  • 60 Reed 2004.
  • 61 Kunitzch 2016, p. 51.
  • 62 Regiomontanus and Peurbach 1496, 7.3. Regiomontanus would return to Hipparchus as the true invento (...)

30Some scholars believe that Abrachis stands for Abraham, the inventor of the science of the stars according to Josephus60. However, Abrachis stands most probably for Hipparchus the astronomer, with his name spelled in its arabicized version. This may come from a reading of Gerard of Cremona’s Latin translation of the Arabic version of Ptolemy’s Almagest, where Hipparchus is spelled « Abrachis »61 or, more probably, from a reading of the Epitome of Ptolemy’s Almagest, prepared by Georg Peurbach and Johannes Regiomontanus towards 1462 and first printed in Venice in 1494. In chapter 7 of the Epitome, Regiomontanus reconstructs the astronomical theory of Hipparchus, based on information gathered from the Almagest, spells his name « Abrachis » and underlines his precedence to Ptolemy62. It is interesting to note that it is Hipparchus/Abrachis, and not Ptolemy, who stands as the patron of astronomy, though the mention of the growing number of those who « possess this knowledge through geometry and mathematics » may be an oblique reference to the overwhelming diffusion of Ptolemy’s mathematical manuals.

  • 63 Virgil 1999, 4.481.
  • 64 Ovid, Met. II 296-97.
  • 65 Quoting Eustathius’ of Thessaloniki twelfth-century commentary on Odyssey, Lefebvre recognizes the (...)

31However, the presence of Virgil is more revealing, given the poets’ intuitive command of the workings of the world machine, specified in both the middle and the right inscriptions. Indeed, Atlas was celebrated as a cosmic agent by the great poets of the Augustan era. In more than one occasion in the Aeneid, Virgil described Atlas as the one who turns the axis of the starry sky: maximus Atlas / axem umero torquet stellis ardentibus aptum63. Ovid too, made use of the same metaphor, presenting Atlas bearing on his shoulders the axis of the world: Atlas en ipse laborat uixque suis umeris candentem sustinet axem64. The association of Atlas with the universal axis stems from a semantic transferal that occurred in Greek Pythagorean, Neoplatonic, and Stoic allegorical interpretations of the myth, reiterated and reinforced during the Augustan era : a transferal through which the bearer of the Heavens was gradually identified with the axis around which the world revolves and, hence, as a regulator of the universal motion and harmony65. Virgil also referred to Atlas’ cosmological teaching. In the Feast of Dido scene in the first book of the Aeneid, he presents Iopas, a bard and Atlas’ pupil, as singing about the movement of the Universe and its influence on the Earth:

  • 66 Aeneid 1.740-746. See Little 1992. Virgil’s reference to Atlas as teacher of astrology or astronom (...)

Long-haired Iopas, whom mighty Atlas once taught, makes the hall ring with his golden lyre. He sings of the wandering moon and the sun’s toils; whence sprang man and beast, whence rain and fire; of Arcturus, the rainy Hyades and the twin Bears; why wintry suns make such haste to dip in Ocean, or what delay stays the slowly passing nights66.

  • 67 Vernet 1975, p. 72.
  • 68 Merlan 1946 and Burtt 1953, p. 19.

32The name of the artist who drew the carton for this tapestry is lost; however, he must have been well versed in humanistic astrological cosmology. He drew his inspiration for the personifications of the zodiac signs from the iconographic tradition transmitted in illustrations in Hyginus’ De Astronomica67, and painted Atlas together with the symbolic figures of universal motion, and the Aristotelean prime mover, the original cause of universal harmony. This was not an unappropriated or exceptional subject for a cathedral decoration. The Aristotelean notion was integrated in Christian cosmology by Thomas Aquinas (as the unmoved mover)68, and about the same time (1508) Raphael would paint the same subject for the Vatican Stanza della Segnatura (fig. 5). Raphael’s fresco had an even more direct astrological meaning, since it showed the stars positioned as on the day of Julius II’s election to the papacy.

Fig. 5 – Raphael Santi, The Prime Mover, Fresco, 1508. Vatican, Palazzi Pontifici, Stanza della Segnatura, ceiling panel.

Fig. 5 – Raphael Santi, The Prime Mover, Fresco, 1508. Vatican, Palazzi Pontifici, Stanza della Segnatura, ceiling panel.
  • 69 Braunschweig, Herzog Anton-Ulrich Museum, Kupferstichkabinett. The drawing, red and brown ink on p (...)
  • 70 Lippincott, 2013, p. 195-196, suggests that the inspiration for the astrological divisions of the (...)
  • 71 McComb 1924, p. 23; Saxl 1933, p. 44-55. See also Lippincott 2013 and Stimilli 2013.
  • 72 Aristotle, Metaphysics XII, 1072a.

33The Virgilian perception of Atlas as a universal axis was also the inspiration for a drawing by Francesco di Giorgio Martini, created between 1472 and 1475 or 1490 and 1500 (fig. 6)69. It shows a colossal young man standing between the Heavens and the Earth, both depicted as geometrically devised discs, with the Heaven divided into the sections of an astrological rota, and the Earth into the sections of astrological geography70. The drawing is untitled and the context within which Francesco’s enigmatic work was made remains obscure. Most probably a command as a personal device for the reverse of a medal or an architectural decoration, it may well have been executed following the instructions of a patron or client, proud of his cosmological insight and astrological competence. Arthur McComb saw in it an « Allegory of Fortune », before Saxl corrected it to « Atlas »71. However, this is not an ordinary Atlas. The posture of the handsome youth suggests that he is turning both the Heavens and the Earth, while his features allude more to the perfectly beautiful and self-contemplating Prime Mover described in Aristotle’s Metaphysics, and less to the powerful Titan king of the legend72.

Fig. 6 – Francesco di Giorgio Martini, [« Atlas »], 1472-1475 or 1490-1500. Braunschweig, Herzog Anton-Ulrich Museum, Kupferstichkabinett, Z 292.

Fig. 6 – Francesco di Giorgio Martini, [« Atlas »], 1472-1475 or 1490-1500. Braunschweig, Herzog Anton-Ulrich Museum, Kupferstichkabinett, Z 292.

34The key image of Atlas as a cosmic agent comes from Germany and the realm of the university instruction. It is the well-known illustration included in Gregor Reisch’s Margarita philosophica, first published by Johannes Schott in Freiburg, in 1503 (fig. 7). Reisch enjoyed himself an overwhelming authority; he was one of the most conspicuous scholars of the age, he maintained a vast network of correspondents, and his pupils included some of the leading sixteenth-century cosmographers and theorists, such as Martin Waldseemüller, Johann Eck and Sebastian Münster. His Margarita philosophica met with considerable success. It was reissued in 1504, 1508 and 1512 in Freiburg and Strasbourg, and then in Basel from 1517 onwards, and became one of the bestselling compendia until the end of the sixteenth century. Reisch’s illustrated encyclopaedia covers all the branches of the liberal arts and had a notable influence in the development of cosmography during the sixteenth century. Its seventh chapter, titled « theorems on the disposition of the overall world machine » (theoremata totius mundialis machinem dispositionem), covers in 46 folios the matters of astronomy and astrology, with geography included in the first and the divinatory arts in the later.

Fig. 7 – Gregor Reisch, Atlas, Margarita Philosophica, Freiburg, 1503, m ii v°, Washington, Library of Congress, AE3.R34 (© Library of Congress).

Fig. 7 – Gregor Reisch, Atlas, Margarita Philosophica, Freiburg, 1503, m ii v°, Washington, Library of Congress, AE3.R34 (© Library of Congress).
  • 73 Although Reisch refers exclusively to Saint Augustine (1965, 18.8), his direct source was Roger Ba (...)
  • 74 Reisch 1503, f. m1r.

35Atlas’ (« Athlas ») is mentioned in the introductory lines of the chapter, as one of the alleged inventors of astronomy73. Reisch adds that, according to « the poet » [Virgil], Atlas is « an enormous giant who sustains the sky, has his head at one pole and his feet at the other, his right hand to the east and the left to the west »74. Reisch accepted literally Virgil’s verse; in the accompanying illustration Atlas is not bearing the universe on his shoulders. His immense figure is posed in front of an Isidorian diagram displaying the spheres of the universe with the Earth (hidden by him) at its centre. His body is positioned on the vertical axis between the poles, considered to be the axis around which the spheres of the geocentric universe evolved, and his arms are opened in the central East–West axis. He represents the basic references of the universal coordinate system, a primary universal longitude and latitude. Atlas becomes the measure of the universe.

  • 75 According to Ludmila Makuchowska (2014, p. 24-25), Reisch’s image of Atlas inspired John Donne’s c (...)
  • 76 Lucca, Bibl. Govern., MS 1492, fol. 9r. The text dates from 1163-1173 and the illustration from ca (...)
  • 77 Martini 1967, f.6v, tav. 8.

36Pictorially, the result alludes to the crucified Christ75, but then again it is reminiscent of some earlier illustrations of the astrological relations between the universe and the human body, such as the one included in the thirteenth-century illustrated copy of the Liber divinorum operum by Hildegard of Bingen76 ; it is also redolent of some early representations of the Vitruvian man, among which a drawing by Francesco di Giorgio Martini, included in his architectural treatise77.

A cultural topos

  • 78 In Phædo, 99c, Plato ironizes the physicists who think they can « discover a stronger and more imm (...)
  • 79 Aristotle 1985, Movement of Animals 3, 699a27-b11.
  • 80 Aristotle 1939, II.1.
  • 81 Vergil 1868, p. 37 (on philosophy) ; p. 39 (on astrology); p. 117 (on sailing); p. 34-35 (on music (...)

37The metaphor of Atlas as an agent or instrument of universal harmony was accepted without question. The ancient myth and its poetic elaborations by Ovid, Virgil and Boethius, or its historical and euhemeristic interpretations by Pliny, Vitruvius and Augustine, were merrily reiterated and quoted, and no one referred to the ancient authorities who criticized the legend and its implications in natural philosophy. Indeed, in all our literature there is no trace of Plato’s ironic stance towards Atlas’ personification of the cohesive force of the universe78, nor of Aristotle, who repeatedly criticized the mythologists’ and the poets’ transformation of Atlas to a « diameter twirling the heavens about the poles »79, and denied the « old tale » that saw in Atlas an « animate necessity », a fabulous force emanating from the Earth, and keeping the universe in motion80. Polydore Vergil’s history of inventions, first published in Venice in 1499, provides a clear illustration of the unchallenged acceptance of the legend in the field of historiography. Atlas is mentioned as one of the first philosophers, one of the alleged inventors of sailing, as well as the inventor of astrology « and therefore the Poets feing that he beareth Heaven on his back ». Likewise, Vergil links (tacitly) the Titan to music and harmony: « It is said that Mercury found the Harp first [… which] had seven strings, to resemble the seven daughters of Atlas, whereof Maia, Mercury his Mother, was one. 81» As we have seen, these attitudes were not confined to historiography. They permeated late medieval and early modern cosmological, astrological, esoteric, and moral discourses as well.

  • 82 Schöner 1533, f. 5r.
  • 83 Cuningham 1559, p. 51.
  • 84 Virgil, Aeneid I.740-746. The line referring to the creation of man, the animals and the elements (...)

38The undisputed permanence of the metaphor reveals that Atlas functioned as an accepted cultural emblem, a commonplace universal device. Under these circumstances, Reisch’s image of Atlas was easily imposed on the cosmographic imagery. Indeed, it was to be used in subsequent cosmography manuals, such as the 1533 edition of Opusculum geographicum, a geography manual by the German mathematician, polymath and astrologer Johannes Schöner (fig. 8)82, and, later on, in The Cosmographical Glasse published by the British astrologer William Cuningham in 1559 (fig. 9)83. In these images Atlas is no longer an organizing device of the universe. He is depicted as a kneeling king bearing the universe in the shape of a Ptolemaic armillary sphere, with the Earthly globe at its centre. Schöner’s illustration bears no caption, and Cuningham’s image is simply labelled « Cœlifer Atlas », and is complemented by a caption with an abbreviated version of Iopas’ cosmographic song, extracted from Virgil: « He sings of the wandering moon and the sun’s toils; of Arcturus, the rainy Hyades and the twin Bears84. »

Fig. 8 – Ioannes Schoner, « Atlas ». Opusculum geographicum, Nuremberg, Johann Peterjus, 1533, f. Br°.

Fig. 8 – Ioannes Schoner, « Atlas ». Opusculum geographicum, Nuremberg, Johann Peterjus, 1533, f. Br°.

Fig. 9 – William Cunningham, « Cælifer Atlas », in The Cosmographical Glasse, London, John Day, 1559, p. 50, Washington, Library of Congress, GA6 .C97 1559 (© Library of Congress).

Fig. 9 – William Cunningham, « Cælifer Atlas », in The Cosmographical Glasse, London, John Day, 1559, p. 50, Washington, Library of Congress, GA6 .C97 1559 (© Library of Congress).

39There is no mention of the Titan in the associated texts in both manuals. Both illustrations have no direct sense but they stand as cosmographic emblems. Cuningham makes use of the illustration in order to advertise the orderly structured image of the universe.

  • 85 Cuningham 1559, p. 51.

And nowe behold the Type of the world, conteinyng in it, as well the heauenly Region, with suche Spheres, and Circles, as have bene in sundry partes before set forth in this treatise: as also the Elementarie region, comprehendyng the Fier, Aëre, Water, & Earth: in suche order and forme, as is consonant and agreyng both with Reason, Practise, and Authoritie of most approved authors85.

40Atlas is the cosmographer, the one who displays the rational organization of the universe. His effigy replaces thus those of Ptolemy, Sacrobosco, or Regiomontanus as the one who upholds and presents to the reader the armillary sphere, the Ptolemaic representation of the world machine.

  • 86 See herein, note 79.
  • 87 Album amicorum Abrahami Ortelii, December 10, 1584. Oxford, Pembroke College, MS LC.2.113, f. 54r. (...)
  • 88 Such as Geographia. Tavole moderne di geografia de la maggior parte del mondo di diverse autori ra (...)

41Cœlifer Atlas bore the universe with the Earth at its centre and, at the same time, he was standing on the Earth, a disturbing incongruity due to the combination of the legendary bearer of the universe and the prevailing notions of geocentricism. Aristotle had already expressed his discomfort towards the tale that wanted Atlas « having his feet planted upon the earth » and moving the cosmos as if « the earth was no part of the universe »86. During the course of the sixteenth century, and within the slow process of the separation of astronomy and geography that followed the crisis of the geocentric theory, Atlas’ image would be gradually simplified by the omission of the spheres surrounding the Earth. Images of Atlas as the bearer just of the earthly globe would appear in the late sixteenth century. In 1584, Daniel Engelhard drew a Terraefer Atlas for Ortelius’ Album amicorum87, and another one appeared on some engraved title pages of undated editions of the Italian composite collections of maps (fig. 10)88. This alteration led to a deterioration, not to say the complete loss, of its prime sense. Atlas was turned to a meaningless decorative theme. Nonetheless, even this last transfiguration too relied on the symbolic material offered by the ancient legend and Augustan poetry: Atlas’ metamorphosis to an elevated mountain that reached the stars, chanted by Ovid, and the perceptive panoptic vision of the earthly things offered from the heights of his shoulders:

  • 89 Ovid 1916-1927, XV. 147-52 (Pythagoras’ Teachings: Metempsychosis).

It is a delight to take one’s way along the starry firmament and, leaving the earth and its dull regions behind, to ride on the clouds, to take stand on stout Atlas’ shoulders and see far below men wandering aimlessly, devoid of reason, anxious and in fear of the hereafter, thus to exhort them and unroll the book of fate89.

Fig. 10 – Terræfer Atlas, At the top of the title page of Geographia. Tavole moderne di geografia…, Rome, Pietro de Nobili [1592]. Washington, Library of Congress, G1015.L25, 1575 (© Library of Congress).

Fig. 10 – Terræfer Atlas, At the top of the title page of Geographia. Tavole moderne di geografia…, Rome, Pietro de Nobili [1592]. Washington, Library of Congress, G1015.L25, 1575 (© Library of Congress).

Conclusion

  • 90 Blair and Grafton 1992.
  • 91 Tycho Brahe compared Copernicus to Atlas. Mosley 2007, p. 6-7.

42By using the name of the mythical Titan as the title of his book, Mercator coined a term that was meant to endure. Yet, what looks as a beginning was rather an end ; by the late sixteenth century the cosmic metaphor of Atlas was already fading. Within the slow decline of classical cosmology, geocentricism and astrology were challenged, and Atlas lost the emblematic status of an explorer, a cause or an instrument of universal order90. However, the resilience of the symbol was strong, and it was used even by those who advocated a new cosmology91. Indeed, the legend of Atlas was deeply rooted in late Renaissance culture. The sophisticated public knew it through the readings of Virgil, Ovid, Boethius, Ariosto and Ronsard, while the specialized community of scholars, through the texts of Pliny, Vitruvius, Augustine, Servius, Petrarch, Bersuire and Salutati, not to mention humanism’s Greek heritage, Eusebius and Diodorus, the latter quite in vogue among the learned.

  • 92 For Atlas as symbol of clairvoyance, see his effigy illustrating the title page of Nostradamus’ pr (...)
  • 93 For the Atlas’ theme in the decorative arts, see the inkpot produced by the workshop of Severo da (...)
  • 94 For Atlas as symbol of imperial power, see the medal commemorating Philip’s II accession to the th (...)
  • 95 For Atlas in Astronomy, see Mosley 2007, p. 4-19 and Remmert 2007. To the rich material assembled (...)
  • 96 Shirley 2009.
  • 97 In his retrospective analysis, Akerman concludes that the choice of the name of the Titan as the t (...)

43Between the early twelfth to the late sixteenth centuries and beyond, several layers of meaning overlapped in Atlas’ image, as he embodied the human intelligence of the pattern of the universe. He was associated with the astrological insight of the world machine, the prime mover and the universal axis, and therefore he acted as metaphor for universal knowledge, cosmic order, and Divine Providence. As such, he was present in works on astrology, religion and the occult arts as well as in emblem books and their allied insignia92. He decorated facades and porticos, works of art and even objects of everyday use, such as inkpots or paperweights93. Spiritual and secular rulers used his effigy as a metaphor for the worldly responsibility of sovereigns94; cosmographers used his image to indicate their task to explore the cosmic rationality, and astronomers turned to the legend of his teaching to Hercules the science of the sphere, an image which adorned the frontispieces and the title pages of many astronomical publications down to the seventeenth century95. Commercial cartography would retain Atlas’ depraved image as the Earth bearer, which would become the trademark for the seventeenth- and eighteenth-century multivolume editions of maps96. Atlas no longer alludes to the mathematical order of the universal machine. James Akerman recognizes in him an allegory of the order itself, since atlases contain a methodical and analytical image of the world and its regions. He also sees a hint to the large format of the relevant volumes, but mainly an allusion to the titanic effort of organizing the vast and heterogeneous mass of information on the inhabited world in a systematic and orderly series of maps97.

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Notes

1 Acknowledgements: Warm thanks are due to Jean-Marc Besse for his kind invitation to the thought-provoking Rome conferences on the history of Atlas; to Patrick Gautier Dalché for his corrections on an early draft; to Chet van Duzer for kindly sharing information; to the participants of the 2017-18 seminar at the EPHE, for the stimulating conversations; and to Damian Mac Con Uladh for his assistance in revising my text.

2 For Atlas’ iconography in antiquity, see Atlas 1986; for Atlas and late medieval and early modern astrological imagery, see Saxl 1933 and Lippincott 2013 and 2017; for the image of Atlas in the figurative arts, see Snoep 1967; for Atlas in early modern literature, see Shapiro 1983 ; for the place of Atlas in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century astronomy, see Mosley 2007, p. 4-19 and Remmert 2007. For an outline of Atlas’ early modern reception, see Grafton, Most and Settis 2010, p. 102-103. See also the Warburg’s Institute’s iconographic database, https://iconographic.warburg.sas.ac.uk.

3 For the use of Atlas in modern visual encyclopaedism, see Daston and Galison 2007. The Merriam-Webster dictionary gives the following definitions: 1. Capitalized: a Titan who for his part in the Titans’ revolt against the gods is forced by Zeus to support the heavens on his shoulders; 2. capitalized: one who bears a heavy burden; 3a. a bound collection of maps often including illustrations, informative tables, or textual matter, 3b. a bound collection of tables, charts, or plates; 4: the first vertebra of the neck; 5. plural usually atlantes: a male figure used like a caryatid as a supporting column or pilaster.

4 For the broader uses of the term, see Wood 1987; Besse 2003; Didi-Huberman 2011.

5 In the first English edition of the work (Mercator 1636), the title was translated in English as Atlas or Cosmographic Meditations on the Fabric of the World and the Figure of the Fabrick’d. On atlas as a comprehensive collection of geography maps, see van der Krogt 2009 and Akerman 1991; on the notion of « cosmographic meditations », see Lestringant and Besse 2009, p. 197-204; on Mercator’s perception of cosmography, see Milanesi 2015; on the notion of « fabrica mundi », see Ramachandran, 2015, p. 28-33.

6 Mercator’s address to William of Jülich-Cleves-Berge in Mercator/Ptolemy 1578, f. 1r.

7 Mercator 1595, f. A.2r° (Intentio totius cosmographiae). Translated by David Sullivan in Mercator 2000. Also quoted by van der Krogt 2009, p. 465, n. 1.

8 Hacket 1997; Woodward 1997; Gautier Dalché, 2015 and 2009, p. 135-142. See also Glacken 1976, I, p. 282.

9 Mercator 1569; Mercator 1578.

10 On Mercator’s hexaemeron, see Gautier Dalché 2015.

11 Diodorus 1935, 3.60 : « [Atlas] perfected the science of astrology and was the first to publish to mankind the doctrine of the sphere. »

12 Eusebius’ references to Atlas are extensive in his Praeparatio evangelica, extracted mainly from Diodorus. In particular Praeparatio II.44, IX.17 and X.6. In his genealogy of Atlas, Mercator also refers to the Phoenician historian Sanchuniathon, and his supposed translator, Philo of Byblos, both mentioned by Eusebius.

13 Mercator 1595, fol. A.1r° (Praefatio in Atlantem).

14 Idem. Translated by David Sullivan in Mercator 2000.

15 Mercator 1595, fol. A2r (Intentio totius cosmographiae). Translated by David Sullivan in Mercator 2000.

16 Mercator 1595, fol. A1v (Stemma Atlantis). For Hermes Trismegistus in the Renaissance, see Yates 1964.

17 Diodorus 1935, III.60.4: « Atlas, the myth goes on to relate, also had seven daughters, who as a group were called Atlantides after their father, but their individual names were Maea, Electra, Taÿgetê, Steropê, Meropê, Halcyonê, and the last Celaeno. These daughters lay with the most renowned heroes and gods and thus became the first ancestors of the larger part of the race of human beings, giving birth to those who, because of their high achievements, came to be called gods and heroes. » See also Eusebius 1903, II.44: « After the death of Hyperion the sons of Uranus divided the kingdom among themselves, the most illustrious of them being Atlas and Kronos. And of these Atlas took the regions along the coasts of the ocean, and became an excellent astronomer: and he had seven daughters who were called the Atlantides, and these, by union with the comeliest gods, became the founders of the most numerous race, and gave birth to such as for their worth became gods and heroes; thus the eldest of them, Maia, by union with Zeus became mother of Hermes. »

18 On the relations between early modern regional mapping and the consolidation of political geography, see Akerman 1995a, Branch 2011 and 2014.

19 Mercator 1595, f. XXXr: « My spirit, avid to celebrate Roman antiquity, drew me to the seat of that most ancient and wise king Janus of Etruria. For just as there, under the aegis of Idaean Hercules and of his son Tuscus and his grandson Janus, and Janus’ tutor Italian Atlas, the whole glory of Italy arose as though from its earliest cradle. » The set of maps of Italy and south-eastern Europe was first published in 1589, with the same address to Ferdinando II.

20 See Akerman 1991, 1995b and 2005.

21 The earliest known collections of maps are those compiled by Pietro Vesconte and Paolino Veneto in Venice, towards 1311-13; Bouloux 2003, p. 55-63.

22 Ormeling 2015; Tolias 2014-15.

23 van der Krogt 2009, p. 480-482. « Atlas » is sometimes combined with Ortelius’ « Theatrum », another big commercial success, especially in the seventeenth-century Blaeu editions.

24 Akerman 1998.

25 See the website Iconography of Ptolemy’s Portrait, http://rd.uqam.ca/Ptolemy/index.html. Before 1400, Ptolemy is depicted as the patron of astronomy in the cathedrals of Chartres (1145-1155), Clermont-Ferrand (1276-1325) or Florence (Campanile di Giotto, ca. 1334-1343), in the fresco showing the liberal arts, in Firenze, S. Maria Novella, Cappellone degli Spagnoli (Glorification de saint Thomas d’Aquin, ca. 1330). As in manuscript copies of Thomasin von Zerklaere, Der Welsche Gast (Universitätsbibliothek Heidelberg, Cod. Pal. Germ. 389 (ca 1256) and Universitätsbibliothek Salzburg, M III 36, f. 242v°), in the Bible historiale by Guiart des Moulins, Paris, 1403-1404 (British Library, MS Harl.4381, f.3r).

26 Saxl 1933, p. 44-53. Panofsky 1939, p. 20-21, added to these the images of Atlas-like religious figures or caryatides, who may well have Atlas as model, but do not concern us here, since they do not represent the Titan bearer of the heaven. Saxl’s work on mythological and astrological medieval and early modern iconography was continued in the Warburg Institute, and the relevant database enriches considerably his original recession and reflexion. See https://iconographic.warburg.sas.ac.uk; also Lippincott 2013.

27 Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, MS Pal. Lat. 1417, fol. 1r (Saxl 1933, p. 46); Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana, MS Lat. VIII 22 (2760), p. 6 (Blume et al. 2016, p. 530-535); Bibliothèque nationale de France, ms lat. 14754 (Blume et al. 2016, p. 449-453).

28 Draelants 2018.

29 Atlas magnus astrologus, rex Ispanensium, regens humeris suis celum inclinatum cum stellis.

30 Nemroth inspector celorum ac rex Caldeorum, regens manibus suis celum inclinatum sine stellis. Guidetti 2017, p. 101-102, has suggested that the mention of Atlas bearing the sky cum stellis next to Nemroth, bearing the sky sine stellis may refer to the star catalogue, not included in Nemroth’s book, and completed in the codex by the addition of pseudo-Bede’s De signis caeli (f. 31v-36r), a practice also observed in other twelfth-century copies of Ps-Nemrod, Liber de Astronomia, such as the Paris or the Venice codices.

31 Venice, Biblioteca nazionale Marciana, MS Lat. VIII 22 (2760), fol. 1v. Primo in edificio sic fundammentum metra et primo capitulo est posicio minima celo verso sine stellis et post [cum stellis] apparebit numerous. The image is retrieved from the Warburg Institute’s iconographic database.

32 Pliny 1938, II.6.3 and Pliny 1942, VII.57.12; see also Eusebius 1903, IX.17.

33 Augustine 1965, 18.8 and 18.39.

34 Isidore 2011, 8.17 ; Honorius 1583, p. 27.

35 Bacon 1928, I, p. 55-56.

36 Burnett, 1994 ; Gautier Dalché 2009, p. 122.

37 Munich, Staatsbibliothek, Clm 10268, fol. 19v; Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Bodley 266, fol. 25r. Saxl 1933, p. 47.

38 The relevant literature is profuse. For an overview, see Garin 1983; Grafton and Newman 2001; also Dooley 2014.

39 For commentators of Sacrobosco’s La sphera, see Thorndike 1949 p. 429; for Giovanni Pontano, see Soranzo 2011, p. 29; for Regiomontanus, see Byrne 2006, p. 50-51; for Gerolamo Cardano, see Grafton 1999, p. 130.

40 The literature on the subject is extensive. For Hercules in antiquity, see Stafford 2012; for the early modern reception of the hero, see Galinsky 1972, chap. 9, and Ettlinger 1972. See also Starn 1986. For Perseus’ legend, see Ogden 2008. Hercules, in particular, was celebrated by leading theorists and poets, such as Erasmus, Ariosto or Ronsard, as an epitome of heroic virtue, « able to moderate anger, temper avarice and subordinate pleasure under the rule of reason » (Simons 2008, p. 632). He was raised once more as a political symbol of sovereign responsibility and of the fight against tyranny or rebellion; furthermore, he was the legendary founder of many cities in Italy or Spain, and therefore associated with important ruling houses of the age, such as the Este, Medici and Habsburg.

41 Boethius 2009, p. 73: « The bristling boar of Erymanthus flecked with his own foam the shoulders which were to bear the height of heaven; for in his last labour he bore with unbending neck the heavens, and so won again his place in heaven, the reward of his last work. ‘Go forth then bravely whither leads the lofty path of high example. Why do ye sluggards turn your backs? When the earth is overcome, the stars are yours.’ »

42 Petrarch 2009, (De viris illustribus), Hercules, 2.

43 Salutati 1995, III.25.18.

44 Macrobius 2001-03, II.11.

45 Servius 1946, I.303-304 (quoted and translated by Shapiro 1983, n. 10).

46 Schuler 1999.

47 Vitruvius 1999, VI.7.6.

48 Bertrand Boysset, Traité d’Arpentage, Carpentras, Bibliothèque Inguimbertine, MS 327, f. 161 bis. Warm thanks are due to Armelle Querrien and Patrick Gautier Dalché for introducing me to Bertrand Boysset and his work.

49 Remmert 2007.

50 Ovid 1916-1927, I, p. 225 (IV. 620-662).

51 Shapiro 1983, p. 338. See also Kretschmer 2016.

52 Ovide moralisé, 1919-38, IV, 6403-05 and 6428-29.

53 Gotha, Landesbibliothek, MS membr. I.98, f. 24r and 137r (Saxl 1933, p. 48).

54 Bibliothèque nationale de France, MS lat. 10764, f. 285r.

55 Boiardo 1989.

56 Ronsard 1555, p. 188-189 (« Hercule chrestien »).

57 On the notion of the world machine, see Galzerano 2018; Popplow 2007; Mittelstrass 1995; Settis 2005, p. 1-18. On the Ptolemaic worldview, see Cosgrove 2001, p. 102-138 and Gautier Dalché 2009.

58 Now kept in the Museo de Tapices y textiles de Toledo. Measuring 415 x 800 cm, it has been named in turn « Astrology », « Celestial Sphere », « The World Machine » or « The Zodiac ». See Cortez Hernández 1992, p. 81-107 and Hernández Pérez 2017.

59 Vandenbroeck 2016, p. 370-373; Massing 1991, p. 214-215.

60 Reed 2004.

61 Kunitzch 2016, p. 51.

62 Regiomontanus and Peurbach 1496, 7.3. Regiomontanus would return to Hipparchus as the true inventor of the science of astronomy in his inaugural lecture at the University of Padua, in 1464, dedicated to the history of mathematical sciences. He would mention the common belief among the Greeks that Atlas was the inventor of astronomy and assert that « It can be said without injustice that Hipparchus of Rhodes was the first parent of this discipline. » See Byrne 2006, p. 50-51.

63 Virgil 1999, 4.481.

64 Ovid, Met. II 296-97.

65 Quoting Eustathius’ of Thessaloniki twelfth-century commentary on Odyssey, Lefebvre recognizes the origins of this semantic transferal in the verses I, 53-54 of Homer’s Odyssey (Lefebre 2004, p. 127, n. 29). In his extensive commentary on Odyssey’s first rhapsody, Eustathius summarizes earlier Greek and Alexandrian commentators on the allegorical interpretations of Atlas: « As for Atlas, […] who ‘knows the depths of the sea’ and holds the pillars that keep earth in the middle and support heaven, some allegorize him as untiring and unwearied providence, which is the cause of all things. And they consider this Atlas to be crafty as far as he thinks about things concerning the totality, meaning that he is thoughtful of the universe […] Others hold Atlas to be the imagined axis running through the middle of earth, reaching from the north pole to the south, around which heaven revolves, as Aratus believes, a sort of immaterial straight line that is invisible and keeps the universe together […] It is likewise evident that the passage that begins ‘who knew the depths of the sea’ end ends ‘keeps them apart’ is not far from a divine thought » (Eustathius of Thessalonike 2016, p. 79-83). Martha Nussbaum (Aristotle 1985, p. 300-303) recognizes Atlas’ allegorical perception as the axis of the universe in passages of Aeschylus, Pindar, Plato, Aristophanes and of Pirithous attributed to Euripides. For Atlas as axis in the Augustan era, see Hardie 1983 and 1986, p. 278.

66 Aeneid 1.740-746. See Little 1992. Virgil’s reference to Atlas as teacher of astrology or astronomy endorses Diodorus Siculus interpretation of the penultimate labour of Hercules.

67 Vernet 1975, p. 72.

68 Merlan 1946 and Burtt 1953, p. 19.

69 Braunschweig, Herzog Anton-Ulrich Museum, Kupferstichkabinett. The drawing, red and brown ink on parchment, measures 330 x 235 mm, and is untitled. The drawing is usually dated between 1490 and 1500; Luckhardt and Drouet date it to 1472-1475 (2017, p. 47).

70 Lippincott, 2013, p. 195-196, suggests that the inspiration for the astrological divisions of the earthly disc comes rather from the Summa astrologiae iudicalis by John of Eschenden, than from Ptolemy’s Tetrabiblos, and the inscribed place names bear similarities with the astrological geographic tables computed by Pietrobono Avogaro, the Ferrarese court astrologer and one of the editors of the « astrological » edition of Ptolemy’s Geography (Bologna, de Lapis, 1477; see Tolias 2019).

71 McComb 1924, p. 23; Saxl 1933, p. 44-55. See also Lippincott 2013 and Stimilli 2013.

72 Aristotle, Metaphysics XII, 1072a.

73 Although Reisch refers exclusively to Saint Augustine (1965, 18.8), his direct source was Roger Bacon’s Opus majus or a derivative text from which he also retains Flavius Josephus’ mention of Abraham as the inventor of astronomy. For Bacon’s mention of Atlas as inventor of astrology, see herein n. 35.

74 Reisch 1503, f. m1r.

75 According to Ludmila Makuchowska (2014, p. 24-25), Reisch’s image of Atlas inspired John Donne’s crucified Christ in « Good-Friday » (1613): Could I behold those hands which span the Poles / And turne all spheares at once, pierced with those holes?/ Could I behold that endless height which is / Zenith to us and our Antipodes?

76 Lucca, Bibl. Govern., MS 1492, fol. 9r. The text dates from 1163-1173 and the illustration from ca 1230. See Lecoq 1989, p. 26. On the human body as cosmic axis, see Eliade 1991, p. 54.

77 Martini 1967, f.6v, tav. 8.

78 In Phædo, 99c, Plato ironizes the physicists who think they can « discover a stronger and more immortal Atlas, more capable of holding all things together ». Plato’s critic was repeated in Eusebius, XIV.15.

79 Aristotle 1985, Movement of Animals 3, 699a27-b11.

80 Aristotle 1939, II.1.

81 Vergil 1868, p. 37 (on philosophy) ; p. 39 (on astrology); p. 117 (on sailing); p. 34-35 (on music).

82 Schöner 1533, f. 5r.

83 Cuningham 1559, p. 51.

84 Virgil, Aeneid I.740-746. The line referring to the creation of man, the animals and the elements is omitted (« whence sprang man and beast, whence rain and fire »), in an obvious attempt to rationalize Virgil by expurgating his cosmogonical allusions.

85 Cuningham 1559, p. 51.

86 See herein, note 79.

87 Album amicorum Abrahami Ortelii, December 10, 1584. Oxford, Pembroke College, MS LC.2.113, f. 54r. In the accompanying moto, Engelhard urges Ortelius to be patient in order to raise the world. See Mangani 1998, p. 96.

88 Such as Geographia. Tavole moderne di geografia de la maggior parte del mondo di diverse autori raccolte et messe secondo l’ordine di Tolomeo con i disegni di molte citta et fortesse di diverse provintie stampate in rame con studio et diligenza in Roma (Pietro de Nobili, [1592]).

89 Ovid 1916-1927, XV. 147-52 (Pythagoras’ Teachings: Metempsychosis).

90 Blair and Grafton 1992.

91 Tycho Brahe compared Copernicus to Atlas. Mosley 2007, p. 6-7.

92 For Atlas as symbol of clairvoyance, see his effigy illustrating the title page of Nostradamus’ prophecies (Lyons, 1589-90); Atlas as cosmic agent also appeared in the early sixteenth-century astrological imagery. The frontispiece to Sigismondo Fanti’s Triompho di Fortuna, published by Agostino da Portese for Giacomo Giunta in Venice, in 1526-27, shows Atlas holding the universe by the axis that passes through the celestial poles, and turned by Good Fortune and the Malevolent Spirit with the help of two cranks adjusted at the ends of the axis. See Eisler 1947 and Lippincott 2017, p. 233-34.

93 For the Atlas’ theme in the decorative arts, see the inkpot produced by the workshop of Severo da Ravenna (Italian, ca. 1496-1543), now in The Frick Collection, 1915.2.24). We also encounter Atlas-like images in religious art, as, for instance, « Saint Christopher » by the Master of Meßkirch, executed towards 1562, and now kept in Kunstmuseum, Basel. In it, Saint Christopher bears on his shoulders the child Jesus together with a cross and the universal globe.

94 For Atlas as symbol of imperial power, see the medal commemorating Philip’s II accession to the throne (by Gianpaolo Poggini, struck in 1555 and 1557); Hercules, holding the firmament appears together with Atlas on the boarder of one of the tapestries commissioned by Leo X to Raphael for the Sistine Chapel. See Raphael 2010.

95 For Atlas in Astronomy, see Mosley 2007, p. 4-19 and Remmert 2007. To the rich material assembled by both scholars, should be added the 1550 Heinrich Aldegrever engraving showing Atlas teaching Hercules, MET prints 1986.1180.5. See also Elmqvist Söderlund 2010.

96 Shirley 2009.

97 In his retrospective analysis, Akerman concludes that the choice of the name of the Titan as the title for the seventeenth-century atlases is « a high suitable personification of a kind of book that represents the world simultaneously as a series of measured and minutely detailed images and as a structured whole » (1998, p. 15).

Table des illustrations

Titre Fig. 1 – Title page of the 1595 edition of Mercator’s Atlas sive cosmographicae meditationes de fabrica mundi et fabricati figura, Washington, Library of Congress, G1007.A7, 1595 (© Library of Congress).
URL http://books.openedition.org/efr/docannexe/image/26609/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 549k
Titre Fig. 2 – Frontispiece to the map section of the 1595 edition of Mercator’s Atlas (Atlantis pars altera. Geographia nova totius mundi), Washington, Library of Congress, G1007.A7 1595, (© Library of Congress).
URL http://books.openedition.org/efr/docannexe/image/26609/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 761k
Titre Fig. 3 – « Athalas », in Michael Scotus, Liber introductorius, Munich, Staatsbibliothek, Clm 10268, f. 19v°.
URL http://books.openedition.org/efr/docannexe/image/26609/img-3.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 481k
Titre Fig. 4 – Atlas turning the world machine. Brussels or Tournai tapestry, 1490-1500. Museo de Tapices y textiles de Toledo.
URL http://books.openedition.org/efr/docannexe/image/26609/img-4.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 871k
Titre Fig. 5 – Raphael Santi, The Prime Mover, Fresco, 1508. Vatican, Palazzi Pontifici, Stanza della Segnatura, ceiling panel.
URL http://books.openedition.org/efr/docannexe/image/26609/img-5.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 618k
Titre Fig. 6 – Francesco di Giorgio Martini, [« Atlas »], 1472-1475 or 1490-1500. Braunschweig, Herzog Anton-Ulrich Museum, Kupferstichkabinett, Z 292.
URL http://books.openedition.org/efr/docannexe/image/26609/img-6.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 404k
Titre Fig. 7 – Gregor Reisch, Atlas, Margarita Philosophica, Freiburg, 1503, m ii v°, Washington, Library of Congress, AE3.R34 (© Library of Congress).
URL http://books.openedition.org/efr/docannexe/image/26609/img-7.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 703k
Titre Fig. 8 – Ioannes Schoner, « Atlas ». Opusculum geographicum, Nuremberg, Johann Peterjus, 1533, f. Br°.
URL http://books.openedition.org/efr/docannexe/image/26609/img-8.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 426k
Titre Fig. 9 – William Cunningham, « Cælifer Atlas », in The Cosmographical Glasse, London, John Day, 1559, p. 50, Washington, Library of Congress, GA6 .C97 1559 (© Library of Congress).
URL http://books.openedition.org/efr/docannexe/image/26609/img-9.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 685k
Titre Fig. 10 – Terræfer Atlas, At the top of the title page of Geographia. Tavole moderne di geografia…, Rome, Pietro de Nobili [1592]. Washington, Library of Congress, G1015.L25, 1575 (© Library of Congress).
URL http://books.openedition.org/efr/docannexe/image/26609/img-10.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 582k

Auteur

Institute of Historical Research, National Hellenic Research Foundation, EHESS, Paris Sciences et Lettres

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