Sebastian Münster
Das Heilig Jüdisch Landt
(The Holy Jewish Land)
from Ptolemy’s Cosmographia
Printed by Heinrich Petri
Basel, 1545

Sebastian Münster (1488–1552) was not only a mathematician and cartographer but also one of a group of sixteenth-century Christian Hebraists whose love of Hebrew was matched only by their disdain for Jews. Münster served as a professor of Hebrew in Basel and produced important works in the field of Hebrew philology. At the same time, he published an edition of Ptolemy’s Geographia. His most important work, the Cosmographia, was issued in German, Latin, and French. Petri, the publisher and printer of this map, was his stepson.

The unusual orientation of this map places west at the top. Subsequently, the coastline would seem to run southwest to northeast when its correct bearing is almost precisely north-south. Despite this deficiency, the shoreline is remarkably accurate for the period. The last nine encampments of the wandering Israelites during the Exodus are shown along with the tribal divisions. The cartouche contains an index of place-names that appear on the map. Each boldfaced entry is followed in italics by the alternative names by which the site may be known.
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