Projections of the new world


From the 1559 Venetian manuscript portolan atlas of Battista Agnese (c. 1500 – 1564), Genoan cartographer. The atlas also includes a traditional portolan chart of the Mediterranean, along with some twenty other maps and views and two pages of distance computations.


Agnese includes a cartographic projection of the globe in this atlas, indicating his engagement with the early modern discussion on how best to represent the three-dimensional globe on a two-dimensional surface. Beinecke call number: MS 560. For further images from the atlas, see the Beinecke’s Digital Images and Collections. A full description of the manuscript’s contents can be found in the finding aid.



Agnese wrote in 1559, some ten years before the publication of the Flemish geographer Gerard Mercator’s world atlas of 1569. Mercator’s cylindrical projection of the globe remained the standard until the Peters projection of the early 1970s. The Mercator projection can be seen in the late 16th-century silver disk seen below, showing the Francis Drake voyage.


Silver map of the world showing the track of Sir Francis Drake’s circumnavigation engraved or struck on a flat silver disc by Michael Mercator. Beinecke call number: Taylor 15.

1 Response to “Projections of the new world”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: