Unconcerned with cartography’s leading edge, this allegorical map by the German theologian Heinrich Bünting first appeared in his Itinerarium . . . Sacrae Scripturae, a biblical commentary written as an illustrated travelogue. Echoing the tripartite division of the T-O conception, the cloverleaf design places Jerusalem firmly in the center of the world, with Rome appearing to have the second degree of importance. The rest of Europe enjoys even less significance, while the Middle Eastern cities of biblical antiquity reflect the most detail. In a nod to recent developments, America—Die Neue Welt—has been added to the picture, along with a galleon for decoration.
The cloverleaf pattern used here is shared by the city of Hanover—Bünting’s home—where it appears in the coat of arms. Using this form to illustrate the world would appeal immediately to those who knew the city. To those trained in philosophy, this arrangement also suggests that the Jerusalem is akin to the Platonic ideal of city: an abiding spiritual model that gives form to all others, Hanover included. The map was one of several fanciful renderings published by Bünting. In other popular allegorical maps from the same collection, Asia is portrayed as a winged horse and Europe rendered in the silhouette of a queen.