Map on a clown's face


This startling and disturbing image is one of the enigmas of cartographic history. The artist, date and place of publication are all unknown, and one can only guess at its purpose. etc.


pk said...

Thanks for pointing that out. I think John must have turned comments off while I was there. Oh well. I bet this map was a progenitor for the Madhead map of 1720 I/you posted below.

There's a ref. to this map in Burton's 1621 'The Anatomy of Melancholy' (online everywhere)...

"Of the necessity and generality of this which I have said, if any man doubt, I shall desire him to make a brief survey of the world, as 70Cyprian adviseth Donat, " supposing himself to be transported to the top of some high mountain, and thence to behold the tumults and chances of this wavering world, he cannot chuse but either laugh at, or pity it." S. Hierom out of a strong imagination, being in the wilderness, conceived with himself, that he then saw them dancing in Rome; and if thou shalt either conceive, or climb to see, thou shalt soon perceive that all the world is mad, that it is melancholy, dotes; that it is (which Epichthonius Cosmopolites expressed not many years since in a map) made like a fool's head (with that motto, Caput helleboro dignum) a crazed head, cavea stultorum, a fools paradise, or as Apollonius, a common prison of gulls, cheaters, flatterers, &c. and needs to be reformed. Strabo in the ninth book of his geography, compares Greece to the picture of a man, which comparison of his, Nic. Gerbelius in his exposition of Sophianus' map, approves; the breast lies open from those Acroceraunian hills in Epirus, to the Sunian promontory in Attica; Pagae and Magaera are the two shoulders; that Isthmus of Corinth the neck; and Peloponnesus the head. If this allusion hold,'tis sure a mad head; Morea may be Moria; and to speak what I think, the inhabitants of modern Greece swerve as much from reason and true religion at this day, as that Morea doth from the picture of a man."