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Cordiform Maps since the Sixteenth Century: The Legacy of Nineteenth-Century Classificatory Systems

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The heart-shaped, or cordiform, maps of the sixteenth century, including those by Oronce Fine, Peter Apian and Gerard Mercator, have long intrigued historians. Most writers have considered the heart shape a product only of mathematics, but some have recently offered other interpretations for the use of the heart. A classificatory system devised by d'Avezac in 1863, however, has impeded our understanding of the cordiform map, particularly in the matter of what is considered to be such a map. The nature of his classification and its reception by other writers since the late nineteenth century are examined in order to elucidate new directions for the study of the use of the heart shape in sixteenth-century cartography.

Keywords: Cordiform map; Johannes Stabius; Johannes Werner; Marie Armand Pascal d'Avezac de Castera-Macaya; Oronce Fine; Peter Apian; Rigobert Bonne; Siegmund Gunther; heart-shaped map; history of cartography; map projection classification; nineteenth century; sinusoidal maps; sixteenth century

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: June 1, 2008


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