Carta marina

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The Carta Marina

The Carta marina (Latin "map of the sea" or "sea map"),[1] drawn by Olaus Magnus in 1527-39, is the earliest map of the Nordic countries that gives details and place names. Only two earlier maps of the Nordic countries are known, those of Jacob Ziegler (Strasbourg, 1532) and Claudius Clavus (15th century).

The map was created in Rome by the Swedish ecclesiastic Olaus Magnus (1490–1557), who arrived on a diplomatic visit for the Swedish government and stayed on, likely because his brother Johannes Magnus became involved in a religious feud with King Gustav I of Sweden.

It is generally considered that Historia de gentibus septentrionalibus ("A description of the Northern peoples") printed in Rome, 1555, is an extensive commentary based in part on features of the map. The Latin notes were translated by Olaus into Italian (1565) and German (1567).


In production for 12 years, the first copies were printed in 1539 in Venice.

The map was printed from nine 55x40 cm woodcut blocks to produce a document that is 1.70 m wide by 1.25 m tall.

A faithful reproduction of the map was printed in Rome by Antoine Lafréry in 1572.[2]

Disappearance since 1574; reappearances since 1886[edit]

All of the original map's copies passed out of public knowledge after 1574, and the map was largely forgotten – perhaps because few copies were printed and Pope Paul III asserted a 10-year "copyright." It was later widely questioned whether the map had ever existed.[citation needed]

In 1886, Oscar Brenner found a copy at the Hof- und Staatsbibliothek[3] in Munich, where it currently resides. In 1961, another copy was found in Switzerland, brought to Sweden the following year by the Uppsala University Library; as of 2007 it is stored at Carolina Rediviva.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Carta marina on the Wiktionary.
  2. ^ Carta Marina, 1572 edition
  3. ^ Current location.


External links[edit]