An Anglo-Saxon World View? The Cotton mappa mundi reassessed
Viator: Medieval and Renaissance studies
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This article examines the sources, content, and function of the eleventh-century Cotton mappa mundi (also known as the “Tiberius” or “Anglo-Saxon” world map). It argues against the notion that the map represents a characteristically Anglo-Saxon view of the world, instead positing an understanding of it as an English adaptation of an image with currency throughout the Latin West, in which the places and peoples represented in the north and northwest of Europe reflect an interest in the spread of Christianity. This argument is developed through an examination of the map’s representation of the Holy Land (which is shown to incorporate an exegetical map of the division of the tribes of Israel as described in the book of Joshua), and by consideration of the map’s representation of northern Europe, which is compared with the eighth-century world map in Vatican City, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Vat.lat.6018. An appendix prints the map’s inscriptions, revising previously published lists, and notes possible and likely sources and analogues.
- Department of English