Sebastian Münster (14881552) 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 Ptolemys 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.