Lesley Cormack: “The whole earth, a present for a Prince”: Molyneux’s Globes and the Creation of a Global Vision in Renaissance England.

In 1592, a pair of globes, one celestial and one terrestrial, was presented to an appreciative English market.  Designed and built by Emery Molyneux, financed by William Sanderson, these instruments were arguably the first globes manufactured in England.  They were also the largest available on the European market – over two feet in diameter – and they charted, for all to see, the extraordinary achievements of English explorers in the last twenty-five years.  These globes represent the English achievements of that last quarter century, but even more importantly, they signaled the direction of England’s ambitions, ambitions that included containing and controlling vast parts of this “terraequeous” world.

In this paper, I described the construction and history of these globes, and argued that three different, interactive publics sprang up around these innovative instruments: a constructing public; a discursive public; and a consuming public. The constructing public of these globes would include engravers, cartographers, explorers, and astronomers, as well as the merchants interested in funding the enterprise.   But given that the use of these globes for their owners and viewers was not self-evident, treatises were written to explain their use – a discursive public. Finally, the public who owned these globes tells us something important about how early modern Europeans used and read globes.

Adrian Christ: Delineating East and West: Dutch Cartographers and Divided Hungary, ca. 1570-1685.

Adrian’s paper subsequently won the ACMLA, Student Paper Award.

My presentation was a summary of the research I completed for my undergraduate honours thesis. This research used a series of seven maps of Hungary made in the Low Countries, the earliest in 1570 and the latest in the early 1680s, to assess European attitudes toward the Muslim-ruled Ottoman empire and their control over the southeastern portion of Hungary. From 1541 to 1699, the traditional region of Hungary was split between the control of the Ottoman and Habsburg dynasties. Often, historians cast this division as a site for clashes between rival civilizations or as an absolute barrier that separated the Western world from the Islamic or Oriental. While evidence from many printed sources suggests the existence of such a general “civilizational” European animosity towards the Ottomans, the evidence of printed maps of Hungary made across the continent in the Low Countries does not until long after that border appeared.

As conflict continually erupted within the shifting Hungarian frontier region, Dutch depictions of the region relied on out-of-date maps as sources for their own newer ones: later maps contained old geographic information accented with new imagery and decoration. These superficial additions reflect Dutch cartographers’ understandings of this turbulent region hundreds of miles away from them, as well as the well-known division within it. Neither the border itself, nor any major identification of the region with the Ottomans, appears until the 1660s, more than a century after the region’s division began. To represent the region in such a fashion suggests that Ottoman military successes did not spark an immediate reconception of Hungary or other traditionally Christian-ruled regions by Dutch cartographers. Furthermore, as Dutch mapmakers sought to make their maps more commercially appealing in the early seventeenth century, they chose to do so with decorations that referred to the region’s ongoing economic importance rather than the imperial conflict occurring there. Only after the treaty of Westphalia in 1648 did Dutch attitudes toward the Habsburg rulers of Hungary start to shift, causing the region’s division to suddenly become a major feature  of cartographic depictions of it. Altogether, the changing representations of Hungary within the maps I analyzed suggests that if a general European preoccupation with the Ottoman conflict in Hungary did exist, it was not automatic, but rather developed slowly when allowed to do so by more immediate concerns.