Sebastian Munster

Sebastian Munster. Cosmographia. Paris, 1575.

Sebastian Munster. Cosmographia. Paris, 1575.

The Cosmographia of Sebastian Munster (1488 - 1552) was one of the most successful and popular books of the sixteenth century, passing through twenty-four editions in the century after its first publication in 1544. Its success was in no small part due to the fascinating woodcut illustrations by, among others, Hans Holbein the Younger, Urs Graf, Hans Rudolph Manuel Deutsch, and David Kandel. Descriptions, maps, and city views representing all areas of the known world at the time are included. The section devoted to the New World includes descriptions of the various voyages of Columbus, Vespucci, and Magellan. This French edition of 1575 was translated by Francois de Belleforest (1530-1583), a prolific author whose translations and modifications of tales by Italian Matteo Bandello were a source for several of Shakespeare’s plays including Hamlet and Romeo and Juliet.