Wednesday, October 23, 2019

The Fool's Cap Map of the World

After 14.5 years Maps Mania finally has a logo. The new logo is inspired by The Fool's Cap Map of the World. The Fool's Cap World Map is a Sixteenth Century map in which the world is depicted encompassed by a fool's cap.

The Fool's Cap Map is a bit of mystery. We don't know who it was made by and it can't be precisely dated. However we do know it was made sometime after 1570, as the map in the fool's cap appears to be based on an Abraham Ortelius' atlas of the world, the Theatrum Orbis Terrarum. The map also appears to have been largely inspired by an earlier Fool's Cap Map made by Jean de Gourmont.

Debate about the map's meaning has raged for centuries - probably since the day it was made. There are those who argue that the fool's head mocks cartographers who think that they can accurately represent the whole world in a map. Immediately below the map on the Fool's neck are the Latin words "Stultorum infinitus est et numerus". Translated this reads 'The number of fools is infinite'. These words seem to support a reading of the map which says that placing the world inside a fool's cap suggests that everyone on the planet is a fool.

I like to think however that the Fool's Cap Map of the World was made not to mock cartographers but as a loving representation of all those who are fools for maps - for all of us with an enduring Maps Mania.

1 comment:

Greig Russell said...