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Worldly ConsumersThe Demand for Maps in Renaissance Italy$
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Genevieve Carlton

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226255316

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226255453.001.0001

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A World Unknown to the Ancients

A World Unknown to the Ancients

The Demand for Cartographic Novelty

Chapter:
(p.100) Chapter Four A World Unknown to the Ancients
Source:
Worldly Consumers
Author(s):

Genevieve Carlton

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226255453.003.0004

Demand for these increasingly popular maps was driven by several factors. A customer leafing through the maps in a late-sixteenth century Italian print shop could not avoid noticing a word that appeared at the top of nearly every map: “new.” This chapter argues that a fundamental part of the appeal of maps was their modernity. While the Renaissance is often defined by the imitation of the Greeks and Romans, in the realm of geography the classical authorities were being rejected as early as the late fifteenth century. Geographical writers in particular catalogued the limits and errors of ancient authorities like Ptolemy who they claimed had been overshadowed by contemporary geographical discoveries. The vogue for classical authority had been eclipsed by a demand for “the new,” as seen in the titles affixed to maps as well as the display of certain types of maps in Italian homes. It was the novelty and originality of sixteenth-century maps that, in part, made them desirable products.

Keywords:   maps, demand, classical authority, novelty, originality, sixteenth-century

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