Published with a 1541 edition of the Geographia, this map from 1522 was not made from any strict adherence to Ptolemaic data or methods. Notably, it doesn’t attempt a geometric projection of Earth’s surface to account for its curvature. Instead, it relies on a straight grid only appropriate to much smaller areas. Evenly spaced degree measures are complemented with radial plumb lines that indicate compass headings. These, too, are functional at smaller scales, or in more sophisticated projections, but here their value is chiefly decorative. In sum, the map shows the idea of the world vastly outstripping all established measures.
Following the Spanish discovery of America, European rulers became increasingly focused on oceanic projections of power. By the early sixteenth century, the Portuguese had established their first trading outposts in China, while in Britain the Royal Navy had started to build double-deck, 70-gun, 1,000-ton ships. With cartography still catching up to these developments, this map’s emphasis on spirit over substance is understandable. The overriding nautical focus of the time finds decorative expression in the ring of knots linking the winds. Also notable: this map is among the first to name the American continent as such.