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Cartographic HumanismThe Making of Early Modern Europe$
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Katharina N. Piechocki

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780226641188

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226641218.001.0001

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The Alpha and the Alif: Continental Ambivalence in Geoffroy Tory’s Champ fleury (1529)

The Alpha and the Alif: Continental Ambivalence in Geoffroy Tory’s Champ fleury (1529)

(p.107) Chapter Three The Alpha and the Alif: Continental Ambivalence in Geoffroy Tory’s Champ fleury (1529)
Cartographic Humanism

Katharina N. Piechocki

University of Chicago Press

The rise of print culture in tandem with a resurgent interest in Ptolemy’s Geography prompted a radical transformation of the imagining of Europe’s continental boundaries. Geoffroy Tory, France’s first royal printer and typographer and the first editor of Enea Silvio Piccolomini’s De Europa, powerfully seized these new tools to conceptualize Europe’s borders with Asia. His groundbreaking Champ fleury (1529) links diverse spatial imageries to the question of the origin and transformation of European and non-European languages. It investigates Europe’s shifting image from a landmass intimately connected with the oikoumene to an isolated entity detached from its shared heritage with Asia in the context of the formation and circulation of alphabets. The Champ fleury constitutes an astounding cartographic surface, a vibrant map upon which letters, as graphic, somatic, and numeric signs, form a new cartographic language in constant transformation and translation. In Tory’s hand, the “flowery field” of its title becomes a platform for the generation of complex cartographic signs that this chapter, following Ján Pravda, calls “cartographemes.”

Keywords:   Geoffroy Tory, Champ fleury, alphabet, cartographemes, Pomponius Mela, Marsilio Ficino, Hercules, Io, Charles de Bovelles, chora

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