The World in 1467: The Maps of Nicolaus Germanus

Back in the second century AD, the Roman geographer Claudius Ptolemy¬†created his¬†Cosmographia – the precursor of the modern atlas. His work gave a description of the world, along with maps of various lands. During the Middle Ages, knowledge of Ptolemy’s work survived in the Middle East and Byzantium, and around the beginning of the fifteenth-century it was rediscovered by Western Europe. Medieval mapmakers soon started making use of this work, and created updated versions that incorporated the current geographical knowledge of the period.

One of these mapmakers was Nicolaus Germanus (c.1420-c.1490) a monk living at the Reichenbach Priory in Germany. Around the year 1467, he wrote a version of the Cosmographia that included maps of the known world, going from Greenland to India. Here are some of the images from that book:

World in 1467

The World








Jerusalem and the Holy Land



Greenland and Iceland

You can see the entire text of the 1467 version of the Cosmographia Claudii Ptolomaei Alexandrini from the National Library of Poland

See also Ten Beautiful Medieval Maps

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