A MAGNIFICENT PAIR OF GILT-METAL GLOBES, TERRESTRIAL AND CELESTIAL, bearing the Tughra and Latin inscription of Sultan Murad III, diameters 29.6cm, overall height 40cm, overall width 38cm, unsigned [attributed to the workshop of Gerard Mercator at Duisburg], dated 1579
THE TERRESTRIAL GLOBE
The globe is made of two gilded copper hemispheres, joined at the equator by brass counter-sunk head screws, elaborately engraved with an image of the world, coastlines shown by single lines with hachure edges, rivers by single or double lines with hachure infill, continents and place names engraved in roman capitals or fine italic script according to importance, towns marked by small circles, 60 towns in Europe marked by numeral codes, with a key set in central Pacific, major mountain chains marked by stylised shaded hill symbols, the continents decorated with 13 animals and beasts: Africa with two elephants,a rhino, lion, giraffe, a dragon, and an image of Prester John sitting on his throne: South America with 2 wolf-like beasts, one suckling its young, and 2 natives, one with a bow: the Antarctic continent decorated with an eagle and a hawk-like bird, the seas and oceans profusely stippled, decorated with a sea monster, Triton riding his sea-horse, a galley in the Indian Ocean and a European ship, major ocean names in large decorated italics, smaller inland seas in roman capitals, the cartouche placed in the lower Indian Ocean reads 'AMVRATHES TERTIVS Magni in coelo Dei soly:manus solus omnium regnum mundi rex imperator sultha:nus Turcarum: 1579'; the globe divided by lines of longitude at 15° intervals, and lines of latitude at 10° intervals, the prime meridian running through the Cape Verde Islands, the prime meridian, equator and ecliptic circle divided into 1° intervals alternately shaded, the prime meridian and ecliptic circle numbered every 10°, the equator every 5° where feasible, the ecliptic divided into the 12 signs of the zodiac and marked with their symbols, the polar circles and tropics of Capricorn and Cancer shown by double-rule lines, the positions of 2 magnetic poles are shown north of the Bering straits, the globe further engraved with the positions of 46 stars each with their latin names, some with their vulgarized arabic names, the majority positioned North of 50°N, the stars ordered on a magnitude scale of 1-4 (scale drawn on the Tropic of Capricorn below New Guinea), the continents and the seas decorated with 15 descriptive legends for areas in the far southern and northern latitudes (see Table 1). One screw is missing at the equator.
THE TERRESTRIAL GLOBE IS MODELLED ON GERARD MERCATOR'S PRINTED GLOBE OF 1541, incorporating directly the depiction of the lupus in South America, starnames, magnetic poles and the use of a numerical index for the European towns (the 1541 globe also has 60 names and the key in the Pacific Ocean). The inclusion of the magnetic poles is particularly Mercatorian and rarely seen on other globes from this period. The form of adding stars to a terrestrial globe is typically Flemish, and was used by Gemma Frisius on his terrestrial globe of 1537, and followed by Mercator on his 1541 globe. Few other makers adopted this feature. Of the 46 stars depicted all but one (Flumen/Angetenar) are shown on the Mercator globe of 1541. the Latin names for these stars derive from Mercator, although 9 stars have additional arabic names.
THE CARTOGRAPHIC IMAGE IS TAKEN DIRECTLY FROM THE 1569 WORLD MAP OF GERARD MERCATOR published on 21 sheets in Duisburg, typical features being the depiction of the North and South Polar regions, the Ganges, the river Amazon, the distortion of the South American continent, the drawing of Triton and Prester John, the form and positioning of most of the place names, while, of the 15 legends on this globe 14 are in almost identical form to the 1569 world map (see Table 1).
THE ONE LEGEND NOT IDENTICAL TO THE 1569 WORLD MAP IS FIRST FOUND ON RUMOLD MERCATOR'S WORLD MAP OF 1587. This legend for the area of 'beach' in Australia reads 'Maletur regnum scatens aromatibus'. Rumold's world map was first published in Isaac Casaubon's edition of Strabo's Geographia printed in Geneva in 1587, and later incorporated into his editions of the Mercator atlas from 1595.
THE CELESTIAL GLOBE
The globe is made of two gilded copper hemispheres, joined at the equator by brass counter-sunk head screws, elaborately engraved with the positions of more than a 1000 stars, in 7 magnitudes (index table of magnitudes engraved in front of Ursa Major), 39 stars named individually in roman and italic script, the stars embellished by the engraving of 50 elaborately detailed constellation figures, many in roman dress, the tughra (arabic cipher) of Murad III engraved near the celestial south pole, the globe divided by meridians and celestial latitudes at 30° intervals (defining tropics of Cancer, Capricorn, arctic and antarctic circles), the celestial equator and plane of the ecliptic divided into 1° intervals, alternate degrees shaded, both numbered where feasible every 10°, the ecliptic divided into the 12 signs of the zodiac and marked by their symbols, northern and southern ecliptic poles indicated by small circles.
THE CELESTIAL GLOBE IS DIRECTLY DERIVED FROM GERARD MERCATOR'S PRINTED CELESTIAL GLOBE OF 1551. The constellation figures are identical and have been carefully reproduced incorporating all of Mercator's novelties in style and the forms of Roman dress, i.e. the dress of Andromeda, Argo and Cetus. This style of constellation figures was introduced by Mercator on his 1551 globe and was followed by many other 16th century globemakers, such as Jost Burgi's celestial globe and Diegel's silver celeatial globe of c.1567, none have reproduced so literally the forms as are engraved on this globe. Some small alterations and additions have been introduced to the names of the constellations (e.g Gallina instead of Avis for the constellation of Cygnus, and Canis syrius added to Canis Maior). Similarly, most star names agree with those on the 1551 globe, although on the latter globe the star names are both more elaborate and extensive, with several names given for some stars and many more stars named.
THE STELLAR POSITIONS ARE TAKEN FROM JOHANNES SCHÖNER'S OPERA MATHEMATICA, which was published posthumusly in 1551 and 1561. Schöner's star catalogue, included in his Globo stelliferi sive sphaerae stellatum fixarum usus, ex explicationes in the section Coelestis globi compositio, is an adaptation of the star list published in 1543 by Nicolaus Copernicus in his De Revolutionibus for the epoch 1551. The adaptation is based on the Copernican trepidation theory for precession, a theory also applied by Mercator on his globe of 1551. The data on this globe shows the same excess in longitude with respect to Ptolemaic longitudes as that depicted on the 1551 globe by Mercator. However as a result of using Schöner's version of Copernicus's star list, a few of the star positions on this globe do not agree with those on Mercator's (such as several stars in Ursa Maioris, Pegasus and Scorpius). The use of Schöner's star catalogue also accounts for various minor changes of spelling between this and Mercator's globe i.e Ascher Aliemani instead of Asceher Alhabor. It is also interesting to note that despite the use of Schöner's catalogue, two notorious erroneous assignments taken from Mercator's globe are reproduced here: Dubhe for & UMa instead of @ UMa and Rasalgeuse for b gem instead of @ Gem. This type of error compounding Copernican errors suggests that for the maker of this globe, like Copernicus and Mercator, thought that the form of the celestial heavens was a matter to be decided by mathematical computation rather than observation.
(A full list of star and constellation names and an analysis of star positions is available on request)
Each globe is set on a central brass axis, with a gilded brass meridian circle pinned at the north and south poles, the outer diameter of the meridian circle 32cm, width 1.3cm, one face engraved at 1° intervals, shaded alternately, numbered every 10°, from North Pole 90-0-90/0-90-0, the verso decorated with guilloche pattern, in each case matching the base, for the terrestrial a guilloche in the Greek style, for the celestial a guilloche with arcading, the meridian circles slot into the stand through cuts in the horizon circle to rest on a central column rising from the base, the slots cut into the horizon circle are between the 9/11 December (on the celestial) and 11/13 December (on the terrestrial): silver inlaid circles (51mm diameter) are fixed onto the meridian circle fitting into small cuts at the North pole of each circle secured by two screws, the silver scale divided into 12 divisions and marked by Roman capitals I-XII, with stars between each. (The division pointers and one screw for the meridian circle are missing.)
The spheres fit into gilded brass stands, each made up of a horizon circle, the engraving of which varies according to its terrestrial or celestial use, the horizon circles supported by four Doric columns resting on a four sided pedestal, each side with a low rectangular pyramid applied over a silver rectangle, echoing the silver inlaid circles, each column 20cm high, descending to a base elaborately engraved with arabesques around the central column and outer edges, the bases secured to the columns by four bulbous feet, each decorated with companion guilloche designs to the meridian circles and bases, with a further undecorated supporting foot screwed into the central column.
The horizon circles are engraved differently for each globe, the diameter of each being 37.4cm, width 3.3cm. For the terrestrial globe the divisions of the horizon circle are laid out as follows:
At the outermost edge, the 32 points of the compass are labelled in Flemish, with the four cardinal points (North,South, East and West) labelled in Latin: The second band is marked out into the days of the months, labelled in Latin, with Saints days indicated: The next band contains the names and signs of the zodiac: and the innermost band is divided into 360 degrees, the alternate degrees shaded, lettered every 10°.
For the Celestial the circle is almost identical except that the outermost ring shows only the cardinal compass points, in Latin, and between these are labelled the attributes associated with the directions, such as between Occidens and Merides "Pars meridiana, feminina, recedens,aestivalis, chloerica, significat mediam etatem".
THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE STANDS IS MODELLED ON THE 'DUTCH STYLE', popular in the low countries from the 16th Century onwards. The patterns for the columns may have been derived from Augsburg pattern books, while the guilloche decoration and arabesque decoration for the base and around the tughra are commonly found on decoration for instruments,maps, bindings and books of the late 16th century.
THE HORIZON CIRCLES ARE COPIED FROM GERARD MERCATOR'S GLOBES OF 1541 AND 1551, although due to lack of space the outer ring has been compressed and the ring with the Latin names for the mariners compass omitted. On the calendar ring of both circles there are 12 additional Saints names (see Table 2). In addition the calender rings of these globes differ from the Mercator 1541 and 1551 forms in that the calends, nones and ides of each month have been replaced by numerals (see illustration).
THE ENGRAVING AND LETTERING
There are several key points in the engraving of these globes which indicate that they were made by a craftsman or craftsmen as a pair of globes over a short time period. The lettering on the terrestrial globe used for the towns and regions strongly resembles that used for the zodiac, calendar scales, and lists of saints days on the horizon circles. The style and engraving of the equators, ecliptic and zodiac signs on both spheres are in companion forms, as is also the case for the two meridian circles. The style and form of engraving and lettering of the two horizon circles are identical and appear to have been carried out by same hand.
The letter forms used on the globes are those established by Mercator. For the numbers, a simple aid has been employed to speed up the task of labelling. On the horizon circles, the numbering of the days of the months employs a small zero punch for the use of 0,6,9, and in double form 8. In the Zodiac band a larger zero punch has been used. These same zero punches have been used for the numbering of the meridian circles and the terrestrial sphere; connecting both horizon circles,meridian circles and terrestrial numbering to the same tools. On the celestial globe the zeros are engraved and the 1 has rotational symmetry. It is clear, however, that on the Mercator gores of 1551 the numbers used to label the degrees on the Equinoctial and Zodiacal circles are not exactly the same as those on Mercator's terrestrial globe of 1541, which are known to be from the hand of Gerard Mercator, nor are these numbers the same as those on the present globes. Differences can be seen in the 1's and 3's, but on both horizon circles of the 1541 and 1551 globes the zeros are punched (see illustrations), the punch closely resembling the punch used on several parts of these globes. It is interesting to note that on the inscription on the terrestrial globe the capital letters in the first two lines are not strictly in line. The date 1579, has a 1 with a top and tail in rotational symmetry, whereas all others have a cross stroke at the tail. Perhaps the wording of the cartouche was not engraved at the same time as the remaineder of the globe. Could this have been the manufacture of a metal globe with a blank cartouche?
GERARD MERCATOR (1512-1594)
GERARD MERCATOR, THE GREATEST CARTOGRAPHER OF THE 16TH CENTURY, WAS BORN ON THE 5TH MARCH 1512 IN RUPELMONDE, NEAR ANTWERP. HIS PARENTS, BOTH FROM JULICH, WERE LIVING IN RUPELMONDE WITH HIS UNCLE GISBERT AT THE TIME. THEY DIED WHEN HE WAS YOUNG AND HIS RICH UNCLE GISBERT TOOK OVER THE TASK OF EDUCATING YOUNG GERARD; FIRST AT 'S HERTOGENBOSCH, WHERE HE STUDIED CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE AND LATIN, AND LATER AT THE UNIVERSITY OF LOUVAIN WHERE HE TOOK THE HUMANITIES AND PHILOSOPHY. HE WENT ON TO STUDY MATHEMATICS AND ASTROLOGY UNDER THE GREAT MATHEMATICIAN GEMMA FRISIUS (1508-55). AFTER OBTAINING A DEGREE IN 1532 HE JOINED GEMMA FRISIUS AT THE WORKSHOP OF VAN DER HEYDEN IN LOUVAIN WHERE A GROUP OF INSTRUMENT MAKERS INCLUDING GASPAR A MIRICA, AND LATER GEMMA'S NEPHEW GUALTERIUS ARSENIUS, HAD GATHERED. HERE HE BECAME ACQUAINTED WITH THE CONSTRUCTION OF SCIENTIFIC INSTRUMENTS AND ENGRAVING, ASSISTING ON GEMMA'S GLOBES OF 1535 AND 1537, AND LATER PRODUCING HIS OWN TERRESTRIAL GLOBE IN 1541 AND CELESTIAL GLOBE IN 1551. DURING THESE FORMATIVE YEARS UNDER GEMMA FRISIUS'S GUIDANCE, HE ASSIMILATED THE SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE THAT WAS TO BE THE BASIS OF HIS NEW IDEAS IN CARTOGRAPHY. HE PIONEERED THE ADOPTION OF ITALIC SCRIPT ON INSTRUMENTS AND MAPS, PUBLISHING HIS TREATISE ON THE SUBJECT IN 1540. IN 1534 HE MARRIED BARBARA SCHELLEKENS AND HIS FIRST SON ARNOLD WAS BORN IN 1537. IN HIS WORK HE RAPIDLY MOVED AWAY FROM THE PURE SCIENTIFIC INSTRUMENT MAKING TO SURVEYING AND MAPMAKING, DRAWING HIS FIRST MAP OF PALESTINE IN 1537,A WORLD MAP 1538 AND A SURVEY OF FLANDERS IN 1540. NEVERTHELESS IN THE EARLY 1540'S HE MADE A SET OF 5 INSTRUMENTS (AN ASTROLABE, ARMILLARY SPHERE, ASTRONOMICAL RING, COMPASS AND QUADRANT) FOR THE HOLY ROMAN EMPEROR CHARLES V, WHICH WERE DESTROYED IN A BARN AT THE BATTLE OF INGOLSTADT IN 1545, BUT SUBSEQUENTLY REPLACED BY MERCATOR.
IN 1544 HE WAS ARRESTED IN THE PROVINCE OF WAAS, TAKEN TO RUPELMONDE AND CHARGED WITH HERESY, ALONG WITH 43 OTHERS FROM LOUVAIN. THE AUTHORITIES OF LOUVAIN SUPPORTED HIM FULLY AND HE WAS RELEASED. HOWEVER IN 1552 HE DECIDED TO MOVE TO DUISBURG IN THE DUCHY OF CLEVES, A MORE TOLERANT CITY, ALSO ENTICED BY AN OFFER OF AN APPOINTMENT AS COURT COSMOGRAPHER TO THE DUCHY OF CLEVES. HIS REPUTATION AS A CARTOGRAPHER HAD SPREAD THROUGHOUT EUROPE, AND HE CORRESPONDED WITH MANY KINGS, STATESMAN AND SCHOLARS OF HIS DAY. IN 1552 HE CONSTRUCTED FOR CHARLES V A GLASS CELESTIAL GLOBE, THE CONSTELLATION FIGURES ENGRAVED ON THE GLASS AND THE LINES FILLED IN GOLD, AS WELL AS A MINIATURE TERRESTRIAL GLOBE IN WOOD, WHICH WERE PRESENTED TO THE EMPEROR AT BRUSSELS. HIS WORK ON MAPS CONTINUED APACE, A MAP OF EUROPE 1554, LOUVAIN AND THE BRITISH ISLES IN 1564, DEVISING HIS FAMOUS CYLINDRICAL PROJECTION WHICH CULMINATED IN HIS MAGNIFICENT 21-SHEET MAP OF THE WORLD PUBLISHED IN 1569. IT IS ARGUED BY A.S.OSLEY AND OTHERS THAT MUCH OF THE ENGRAVING ON HIS MAPS UP TO 1570 WAS CARRIED OUT BY MERCATOR HIMSELF. HOWEVER FOLLOWING THIS DATE, AS A RESULT OF HIS FAILING EYESIGHT, THE MAJORITY OF THIS CLOSE WORK WAS CARRIED OUT BY HIS SONS ARNOLD AND RUMOLD, AND BY OUTSIDE CRAFTSMEN. IT IS IN THIS PERIOD, POSSIBLY THROUGH THE INFLUENCE OF ARNOLD, THAT MERCATOR SEEMS TO HAVE INCREASED THE PRODUCTION OF HIS 1541 AND 1551 GLOBES. RECORDS FOR PLANTIN'S SHOP IN ANTWERP SHOW THAT HE BOUGHT 18 PAIRS OF GLOBES FROM MERCATOR FROM 1566-76 (AND SOLD 16, 10 TO THE LOW COUNTRIES, 1 TO ENGLAND, 3 TO SPAIN AND 2 TO FRANCE). SIMILARLY MERCATOR'S CORRESPONDENCE WITH DR JOACHIM CAMERARIUS OF NUREMBERG SHOWS ORDERS FOR 6 PAIRS OF GLOBES BETWEEN 1574-8, WHICH WERE DELIVERED FOR SALE AT THE FRANKFURT BOOKFAIR. IN A LETTER OF JANUARY 1584 MERCATOR WRITES THAT HE HAS STARTED MAKING SEVERAL NEW GLOBES AS ALL THOSE MADE THE PREVIOUS YEAR HAD BEEN SOLD. IN FACT MERCATOR'S PRODUCTION'S MAY BE CLASSIFIED AS THE FIRST MASS PRODUCES GLOBES IN EUROPE, AND BECAME THE STANDARD FOR THE 16TH CENTURY. (2)