Our bibliography includes reference works on the history of cartography and representations of the world and the heavens, on Gerardus Mercator and his works and on the globes in general, together with a list of the museums where Mercator globes are on display and websites that we find particularly interesting.

Secondary literature - Authors A-M
Aujac, G. (1976) « Le ciel des fixes et ses représentations en Grèce ancienne », Revue d’histoire des sciences, Vol. 29, N° 4, pp. 289-307. [URL]

An article by an eminent expert on classical Antiquity, Greek geography and spherical astronomy.

Aujac, G. (1996) « La sphère grecque », Comité Français de Cartographie, Vol. 148, pp. 7-18. [PDF]

Germaine Aujac retraces the development of the sphere and how the Greeks made scale models.

Aujac, G. (2005) « Les Anciens connaissaient-ils l’Amérique ? Une question controversée au XVIe et XVIIe siècles », Anabases, Vol. 1, pp. 163-191. [URL]

A captivating analysis of this long controversy.

Aujac, G. (2012) Claude Ptolémée. Astronome, astrologue, géographe. Connaissance et représentation du monde habité, Paris : CTHS.

This book acquaints the reader with Ptolemy, his way of thinking, his working methods and his epoch, while referring to ancient texts. Its appendix contains a concordance table covering Ptolemy’s political, literary and scientific lives that a neophyte will find very useful.

Brotton, J. (2015) Cartes d’exception : 3500 ans de représentation du monde, Paris : Les éditions Géo/Prisma Media.

This magnificently illustrated book presents a selection of about 60 great maps that have shaped the history of cartography.

Cherton, A., Watelet, M. (1994) « Chronologie », in : Watelet, M. (1994), pp. 414-418.

This is useful reading to gain an overview of the events in Mercator’s life in relation to economic, political, religious and social developments and to the intellectual and scientific life of his time, from 1497 to 1604.

Cosgrove, D.E. (2003) Apollo’s Eye : A Cartographic Genealogy of the Earth in the Western Imagination, Baltimore : the Johns Hopkins University Press. [URL]

« Ironically, the main discovery of the Apollo missions to the Moon was… the Earth. » The British geographer analyses the links between symbolic images and social perceptions, including the image of our Blue Planet floating in space, fragile and absolutely isolated. Food for thought beyond globes.

Cosgrove, D.E. (2007) « Images of Renaissance Cosmography, 1450-1650 », in Woodward, D. (2007a), pp. 55-98.

Denis Cosgrove discusses the cartography and culture of the Renaissance in terms of its cosmography and celestial cartography.

Crane, N. (2003) Mercator. The man who mapped the planet, London : Phoenix.

In this biography, the geographer and writer Nicholas Crane delves into the complex intellectual atmosphere of the period that gave rise to the genius Mercator.

Croiset van Uchelen, T. (1994) « L’écriture et la calligraphie », in : Watelet, M. (éd.)  Gérard Mercator cosmographe : le temps et l’espace, Bruxelles, Fonds Mercator Paribas, pp. 150-161.

An in-depth article on the scientific world, calligraphy, Mercator’s sources of inspiration and his influence on the evolution of handwriting.

Dahl, E.H., Gauvin, J.-F. (2001) La Découverte du monde : une histoire des globes terrestres et célestes, Toulouse : Privat.

This work assesses globes from different origins and periods which the author has chosen for their scientific importance, aesthetic quality, scarceness and diversity. Besides ancient globes, it deals with a number of related subjects ranging from explorations to cartography, from astronomy to the outlines of the constellations and from ancient artefacts to the decorative arts.

Dekker, E., Krogt, P. van der (1993) Globes from the Western World, London : Sotheby Parke Bernet Publs.

At the time of its publication this book was considered the most comprehensive study on globes since the one by Stevenson in 1921.

Dekker, E., Krogt, P. van der (1994) « Les globes », in : Watelet, M. (1994), pp. 242-267.

Mercator’s globes are superbly analysed as a source of versatility in his mapmaking career. These two specialists also include a translation of Mercator’s letter to Granvelle in 1544 explaining how to use the horizon ring, how the gores for the terrestrial globe were made and how the stars on the celestial globe were named.

Dekker, E. (2007) « Globes in Renaissance Europe », in : Woodward, D. (2007a), pp. 135-173.

This eminent Dutch physicist, astronomer and expert on the history of globes provides us here with a precious scientific compendium on globes in the Renaissance era.

Dekker, E. (2013) Illustrating the phaenomena : celestial cartography in Antiquity and the Middle Ages, Oxford : Oxford University Press. [URL]

An exploration of the heritage left by globes and celestial maps from Antiquity and the Middle Ages.

Duzer, C. van (2014) Sea Monsters on Medieval and Renaissance Map, London : The British Library.

In this richly illustrated work, Chet van Duzer examines the tradition of engraving sea monsters on maps from the 10th to the 16th century.

Engel, P. (2013) Globe conservation studies : conservation-restoration of historical terrestrial and celestial globes, Horn/Wien : Berger.

A work for restorers and conservators on the materials used to make globes.

Fiorini, M. (1899) Sfere terrestri e celesti di autore italiano, oppure fatte o convervate in Italia, Roma : La Societa geografica italiana.

This article served as a reference for the later enumerations of surviving Mercator globes.

Friedman Herlihy, A. (2007) « Renaissance Star Charts », in : Woodward (2007a), pp. 99-122.

Anna Friedman Herlihy discusses stars through their historiograhy, medieval knowledge and representations and planispheres.

Gautier Dalché, P. (2007) « The Reception of Ptolemy’s Geography (End of the Fourtheenth to Beginning of the Sixteenth Century) », in : Woodward (2007a), pp. 285-364.

The translation and distribution of Ptolemy’s Geography marked a watershed. In this essay Patrick Gautier Dalché analyses the visual, mathematical and textual models underlying Renaissance cartography.

Gautier Dalché, P. (2015) « Avant Behaim : les globes terrestres au XVème siècle », Médiévales [en ligne], 58 | 2010, 43-61. [URL]

This article examines the ancient and medieval backgrounds of the globes documented in the 15th century in north-eastern France (1432), Burgundy (1440-1444) and Germany (1447-1450).

Gent, van R.H., Helden, Van A. (2007) « Lunar, Solar, and Planetary Representations to 1650 », in : Woodward (2007a), pp. 123-133.

A look at pre-telescopic and telescopic representations of the heavens.

Gijsen van, A. (1994) « L’astrologie », in : Watelet, M. (éd.) Gérard Mercator cosmographe : le temps et l’espace, Bruxelles, Fonds Mercator Paribas, pp. 220-233.

On astrology in Mercator’s cosmography: the celestial globe of 1551 was marked by the influence of the fixed stars and the meanings of the so-called celestial houses.

Hall, E.F. (1878) « Mercator : his life and works », Journal of the American Geographical Society of New York, New York, vol. X, N° 4, pp. 163-196. Read before the Society, April 16th, 1878. [PDF]

A historical work written after the one by J. van Raemdonck.

Hallyn, F. (2008) Gemma Frisius, arpenteur de la terre et du ciel, Paris : Honoré Champion Editeur.

Gemma Frisius founded the school of Leuven to which Mercator and Ortelius belonged. He not only left behind a substantial life’s work on scientific subjects but also manufactured globes, invented new methods of topographical triangulation and established geographic longitude. In addition, he wrote the most widely sold arithmetic textbook in the 16th century, was among the first to read Copernicus and was one of the very first to adopt his view of the world. Frisius’ influence on Mercator was tremendous.

Hamelin, L.-E. (2013) L’apparition du Nord : selon Gérard Mercator, Québec : Septentrion.

This expert on the Canadian North scrutinises a bold plate in Mercator’s Atlas: Septentrionalium Terrarum descriptio (1595).

Heinrichs, A. (2007) Gerardus Mercator : Father of Modern Mapmaking, Compass Point Books, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

A small work on Mercator.

Hessler, J.W. (2013) A Renaissance Globemarker’s Toolbox. Johannes Schöner and the Revolution of Modern Science 1475-1550, GILES, Library of Congress, Washington D.C.

A richly illustrated book on the first manufacturer of globes. The mathematician and scientist Johannes Schöner played a large role in the development of cartography during the 16th century.

Horst, T. (2011) Le monde en cartes : Gérard Mercator (1512-1594) et le premier atlas du monde, Gütersloh/Munich : Faksimile Verlag et Bruxelles : Fonds Mercator.

Here the cartography historian delivers a remarkable work retracing Gerardus Mercator’s life and work with breadth and depth. It was published to celebrate the 500th anniversary of Mercator’s birth and established Horst as a leading authority on the Flemish-German mapmaker.

Kanas, N. (2012) Star Maps : History, Artistry, and Cartography, 2nd ed. Springer Praxis Books.

This book provides a view of the most famous ancient star maps ever drawn, along with a brief account of the history of astronomy from its origins to the 20th century and a discussion of the first tools of the astronomy trade such as the astrolabe and the armillary sphere.

Krogt, P. van der (1993) Globi Neerlandici : the production of globes in the Low Countries, (trad. E. Daverman), Utrecht : HES Publ.

A valuable work on the terrestrial globes produced in the United Provinces during the 16th century. Pages 414-415 contain a rough inventory of the surviving Mercator globes in 1993.

Lanni, D. (2015) Atlas des contrées rêvées, Paris: Flammarion.

A poetic sweep of the imagined territories, wondrous islands, lands of milk and honey, wild kingdoms and dark empires that haunted the accounts of the great explorers.

Lecoq, D., Pelletier, M., Hoffmann, C., Netchine, E. (1995) Le globe et son image, Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris.

Focusing on the themes of power, knowledge, vanity and folly around the world, this book contains a selection of texts and images by cartography historians who have shed light on the symbolic value of globes from Antiquity to the 18th century.

Lestringant, F. (1991) « Le déclin d’un savoir. La crise de la cosmographie à la fin de la Renaissance », in : Annales. Economies, Sociétés, Civilisations, 46e année, N° 2, pp. 239-260. [URL]

Lestringant, an expert on the 16th century, provides an enlightening view of the challenge faced by the new men of the Renaissance, who pitted the experience of mariners against the certainties of the Ancients. Moreover, the knowledge they inherited was split by the opposition between quantitatim (cosmographic quantity or astronomical geography) and qualitatim (chorographic geography or description of the inhabited regions of the Earth).

Le Testu, G., Lestringant, F., (2012) Cosmographie universelle selon les navigateurs tant anciens que modernes, coll. Carnets des tropiques, Paris : Flammarion.

Considered one of the gems of Renaissance cartography, this universal cosmography by Guillaume Le Testu brims with illuminated maps, combining the mathematical cosmography inherited from Ptolemy, the legacy of the Middle Ages and the maritime cartography of the Portuguese. Lestringant, an expert on 16th-century geographic literature, examines the scientific, political and aesthetic issues that pervade these works.

Lindgren, U. (1994) « Mesures de l’espace et du temps », in : Watelet, M. (éd.) Gérard Mercator cosmographe : le temps et l’espace, Bruxelles, Fonds Mercator Paribas, pp. 162-177.

This article deals with the role of geometry in cosmography and the methods used to define geographic longitudes and latitudes in the 16th century, as well as with the history of their calculation and the challenges faced by mariners in the Age of Discovery.

Lister, R. (1970) How to identify old maps and globes : with a list of cartographers, engravers, publishers and printers concerned with printed maps and globes from c. 1500 to c. 1850, London : G. Bell.

The work is mainly designed for collectors and dealers in the field of ancient maps, covering the history of maps and diagrams and the methods used to produce maps, atlases, globes and armillary spheres.

Mercator, G., De Smet, A.E.J., Raemdonck, J. van (1968) Les sphères terrestre & céleste de Gérard Mercator, 1541 et 1551 : reproductions anastatiques des fuseaux originaux gravés par Gérard Mercator et conservés à la Bibliothèque royale à Bruxelles / préface Antoine De Smet ; [introduction] J. van Raemdonck extraite des Annales du Cercle archéologique du Pays de Waas, vol. 5, 1872-1875, Bruxelles : Culture et Civilisation, Adam [Jos].

Reproductions of the original gores engraved by Mercator.

Monmonier, M. (2004) Rhums lines and map wars : a social history of the Mercator projection, Chicago : The University of Chicago Press. [Abstract]

Mark Monmonier discusses the controversy surrounding the greatest legacy of Gerardus Mercator, who in 1569 proposed an innovative method to represent the Earth on a flat surface. This projection bears his name and is still used today.

Secondary literature - Authors N-Z
Radelet-de-Grave, P. (1994) « Le magnétisme et la localisation en mer », in : Watelet, M. (éd.) Gérard Mercator cosmographe : le temps et l’espace, Bruxelles, Fonds Mercator Paribas, pp. 209-219.

This article provides a remarkable account not only of Mercator’s contribution on the problem of magnetism but also on the overall scientific and historical global context of magnetic declination.

Raemdonck, J. van (1869) Gérard Mercator, sa vie et ses oeuvres, St Nicolas : E. Dalschaert-Praet. [URL]

Before Jan van Raemdonck, Mercator was somewhat overlooked in the history of science. This erudite, who set out to study “Mercator in Mercator himself”, seeks to raise the cartographer’s stature and nearly turns him into a saint. Published in 1869, this biography marks the rediscovery and reassessment of Mercator’s works that marked that period.

Raemdonck, J. van (1875) « Les sphères terrestre et céleste de Gérard Mercator », Annales du Cercle archéologique du Pays de Waes, vol. 5, pp. 259-317. [URL]

This article was published to mark the reproduction of Mercator’s globes for the Paris Geographic Exhibition of 1875 using facsimiles of the original gores, engraved by the Flemish-German cartographer and conserved at the Royal Library of Belgium.

Ramoni, M. (2005) « Des globes anciens découverts à l’UNIL », in: Uniscope N° 506, 15.11.2004-15.01.2005, p. 6. [PDF]

This was the very first notice on the discovery of the Mercator globes in Lausanne. It was written by Jean-François Loude, Honorary Professor of Physics at UNIL.

Riffenburgh, B. (2015) Mapping the World : The Story of Cartography, André Deutsch.

In this richly illustrated book, the historian and author Beau Riffenburgh tells of the philosophers, explorers, artists and scientists who marshalled their skills to produce most of the cartographic artefacts known to have existed.

Schüler, C. (2012) La mer et les étoiles : la cartographie maritime et céleste de l’Antiquité à nos jours, Paris : Place des Victoires.

The ideal book to get an overview of the progress made over time in astronomy, navigation and cartography. Based on 260 significant documents taken from the collection of the Royal Geographical Society, it shows how people gradually imagined the geography of the seas, oceans, coastlines and islands and then put it down on paper.

Sillig, L. (2005) « Deux globes inestimables oubliés entre deux plantes vertes… », in: 24 Heures, mardi 18 janvier 2005, p. 23. [PDF]

The globes’ discovery was presented to the French Swiss public by Georges Meylan, Honorary Professor at EPFL.

Sloterdijk, P. (2010) Globes : macrosphérologie (trad. de l’all. O. Mannoni), Sphères tome II, Paris : Libella-Maren Sell.

The philosopher Peter Sloterdijk ponders the bases of mankind’s political history by analysing the radical change in the morphological image of the world. Geometry led the Greeks to study the terrestrial globe, the heavens and their multiple layers (philosophy made it possible for them to consider the world of ideas as real). From this emerged not only the thinking of the Middle Ages but also the Copernican revolution: the leap from a closed to an infinite universe.

Stevenson, E. L. (1921) Terrestrial and celestial globes. Their history and construction including a consideration of their values as aids in the study of geography and astronomy, New Haven : Published for the Hispanic Soc. of America by the Yale Univ. London-Humphrey Milford-Oxford University Press.
The Project Gutenberg eBook #39866 & #39867 (2012) [Vol. 1] [Vol. 2]

This book by the American cartographer Edward Luther Stevenson (1858-1944) is regarded as a major historical and cultural reference work.

Sumira, S. (2014a) The art and history of globes, London : The British Library.

Sylvia Sumira’s richly detailed and remarkably illustrated book celebrates the art and history of globes from the 16th to the late 19th century.

Sumira, S. (2014b) Globes : 400 Years of exploration, navigation, and power, Chicago : University of Chicago Press.

This expert on the conservation of printed globes tells novices, amateurs and other specialists about key moments in the history of globes.

Taylor, A. (2004) The World of Gerard Mercator. The Mapmaker Who Revolutionized Geography, New York : Walker & Company.

In this biography the English writer Andrew Taylor discusses the nature, achievements and dissentions of the turbulent times which gave rise to Mercator’s, visionary projection in 1569 and the influence he has had to this day.

Turner, G. L’E. (2005) « Gerard Mercator’s three astrolabes », Oxford : Museum of the History of Science, Madrid : ENDOXA Series Filosoficas, N° 19, pp. 21-39. [PDF]

None of the scientific instruments made by Mercator was known until the discovery of the three astrolabes described in this book.

Watelet, M. (éd.) (1994) Gérard Mercator cosmographe : le temps et l’espace, Bruxelles, Fonds Mercator Paribas.

To mark the 400th anniversary of Mercator’s death, Marcel Watelet compiled this remarkable compendium of documents by experts on the Flemish-German cartographer, providing a fresh view on their work. While preserving the contribution of earlier research, this richly illustrated collection explains and reconstructs the context of Mercator’s output of scientific instruments, the materials he used, their extension and the innovations they embodied. If factual concerns sometimes take a rear seat, the aim is to create more free space in which to explore Mercator’s personality, times and attachments and the restrictions imposed by his milieu. These documents are like a journey into the heart of the scientific universe in the 16th century. The collection is a must for anyone interested in Mercator.

Whitfield, P. (1994) The Image of the World. 20 Centuries of World Maps, San Francisco : Pomegranate Artbooks.

Peter Whitfield investigates the cultural meanings of a selection of maps from different historical periods.

Whitfield, P. (1995) The Mapping of the Heavens, London : The British Library.

An illustrated history of astronomy and celestial maps, in particular, where science and art tend to present a rational image of the heavens but with on-going tension between scientific discipline and the search for the causes, certainties and harmony of the universe.

Woodward, D. (2007a) Cartography in the European Renaissance, « The history of cartography » (J.B. Harley & D. Woodward, eds.), Vol. 3, Chicago : The University of Chicago Press.

This third exciting volume of the celebrated university collection on the history of cartography paints a magnificent portrait of the 1450-1650 period, long considered the most important in the history of European mapmaking. The collection was written by the best specialists in each segment.

Woodward, D. (2007b) « 1. Cartography and the Renaissance : Continuity and Change », in : Woodward, D. (2007a), pp. 3-24.

This article highlights the transition from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance and furthers our understanding of it.

Woodward, D. (2007c) « Techniques of Map Engraving, Printing, and Coloring in the Europe Renaissance », in : Woodward (2007a), pp. 591-610.

Here we are given insights into the technical aspects of the engraving, printing and colouring methods used to make the printing plates for maps. We also see the passage from wood engravings to copper plates, as well as its effect on lettering and colours.

Globenmuseum in Vienna Austria [URL]

This museum dedicated to globes, housed in Vienna’s Mollard-Clary Palace, forms part of the National Library of Austria. It is the only museum open to the public that is given over entirely to globes, with a collection of roughly 600 terrestrial and celestial spheres including over 200 on display. Most of the globes date from before 1850, including a pair of Mercator globes.

Mercatormuseum in Sint Niklaas, Belgium [URL]

This museum is dedicated to Mercator and his work. It was renovated in 2012 to mark the 500th anniversary of the famed cartographer’s birth.

Hall des Globes at the François Mitterand Library of the National Library of France, Paris [URL]

The permanent exhibition of the impressive Coronelli globes (1683), presented as a gift to Louis XIV, plunges visitors into the historical context of cartographic science and representations of the world.

The Mercator Globes of the University of Harvard [URL]

This site presents the Mercator globes conserved at the University of Harvard.

Virtual Globe Gallery [URL]

3D virtual exploration site created in 2011 by Georg Zotti. Here we can find a celestial globe from 1279, another from 1507 by Waldseemüller and another from 1518 by Apian. There are also globes by Schöner (1523), Floriano (1555), Oterschaden (1603) and Hondius (1615). And, of course, there is a pair of Mercator globes from 1541 and 1551.

National Library of France

The National Library of France website contains several extraordinary sections dealing with cartography, listed above.

Bellerby Globemakers [URL]

This is a modern globe manufacturing workshop. With few advances, the techniques developed by Mercator live on.

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