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Europa Regina. 16th century maps of Europe in the form of a queen

Europa Regina. Cartes d’Europe du XVIe siècle en forme de reine
Peter Meurer
p. 355-370


L’article apporte un nouvel éclairage et de nouvelles données sur un groupe particulier de cartes anthropomorphiques du XVIe siècle. S’inspirant du mythe antique de la princesse phénicienne Europe, ces cartes montrent l’Europe avec les contours d’une figure féminine. La version archétype (Paris, 1537) fut créée par Johannes Putsch (1516-1542), un poète et courtisan tyrolien. Un poème d’accompagnement illustre les origines de ce symbolisme en politique contemporaine. La carte est une glorification de la Maison de Habsbourg, et exprime un espoir de paix. De nombreux détails singuliers peuvent être expliqués à partir de constellations historiques. Plus tard, des représentations en réduction de la carte dans certaines oeuvres de Heinrich Bünting (1587ff.) et Sebastian Münster (1588ff.) se sont éloignées du contexte politique au profit d’un simple objectif didactique. Une autre copie fut dessinée et gravée en 1587 par Matthias Quad (1557-1613) pour l’éditeur Bussemacher de Cologne. Elle trouvait ses origines dans les guerres contemporaines en Basse Rhénanie.

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1The most common version of the antique myth around the female figure Europa is that which is told in book II of the Metamorphoses (“Transformations”, written around 8 BC) by the Roman poet Ovid : Europa was a Phoenician princess who was abducted by the enamoured Zeus in the form of a white bull and carried away to Crete, where she became the first queen of that island and the mother of the legendary king Minos. The etymology of the name probably goes back to a Semitic word for “dark” and “sunset”. Correspondingly Europa also appeared as a geographical term for mainland Greece already around 500 BC. Just writers of the first century BC used the expression for all the western lands north of the Bosporus. This developed from the 5th century AD to a naming for the remaining western part of the Roman Empire, after the separation of the newly created Byzantine Empire. With the expansion of the Islam in the 8th century, Europa became a synonym for the Christian occident. After the fall of Constantinople in 1453 at the latest, the permanent fight against the Ottoman Empire was – in view of the political dissipation – a central component of the European identity for centuries.

Historical constellations in the early 16th century

2The leading power in this fight in the first decades of the 16th century were the lands under the rule of the House of Habsburg. The political and personal constellations were somewhat complicated. The central figure was Charles of Habsburg (1500–1558), first King of united Spain 1516–1556 (as Carlos I), King of Germany 1519–1556 and Holy Roman Emperor 1530–1556 (as Karl V or Charles V). From his troubled reigns, the following aspects may be pointed out.

3Born and educated in Flandres with French as his native language, Charles was accepted as sovereign of Spain (in the succession of his maternal grandfather Philip the Handsome) only under conditions and after the suppression of some resistance. However, after that Spain became a solid core of the Habsburg Empire.

4Charles’ election to German King (in the succession of his paternal grandfather Maximilian I) in 1519 had been possible only by bribery. His real power remained limited by the imperial estates. He also had to wait until 1530 to be crowned Holy Roman Emperor by the pope.

5Many years of Charles’ reign were taken up by the conflict with his great opponent, King Francis I of France (reigned 1515–1547), on the German, Spanish and French spheres of influence in Italy. A spectacular event was the “Sack of Rome”, the looting of Rome by imperial troops in 1527.

6In the conflict with the Ottoman Empire, Charles personally led a naval campaign in 1535 resulting in the conquest of Tunis, an important base of corsairs under the patronage of the Sultan. But the situation in the Mediterranean area remained unstable, also caused by an alliance between Sultan Suleiman (reigned 1520–1566) and Francis I in 1536.

7An incalculable situation developed in the relation with England from 1531 when King Henry VIII (reigned 1509–1547) declared the dissolution of his marriage with his first wife Catharine of Aragon (1485–1536) – an aunt of Charles – without annulment by the Pope. There resulted the Act of Supremacy of 1534, the introduction of the Reformation in England.

8Complex conflicts occurred in Germany which was politically paralyzed by constitutional and religious turmoil. The new Protestant estates of the Reichstag often voted against money for the Turkish war, seeing the Ottoman Empire as a counterweight to the Catholic majority. The Protestant princes and towns concluded in 1531 the League of Schmalkalden, a defense alliance against Charles V. This league was allied with France from 1532 to 1544.

9The solution of many problems in Germany rested for a great deal in the hands of Charles’ younger brother Ferdinand (1503–1564). He was entrusted with the government of the Habsburg hereditary lands in 1521 as Archduke of Austria and Tyrol. In 1531 he became elected German King (as Ferdinand I) and designated successor as Emperor. Just in 1526 he had succeeded his brother-in-law Ludwig II (1506–1526), King of Bohemia and Hungary. Ferdinand was elected King of Bohemia in 1526 without problems. But the throne of Hungary was disputed between him and John Zapolya (1467–1540), the voivode of Transylvania, who was supported by Sultan Suleiman. This resulted in nearly two decades of permanent war in the Hungarian area at the southeastern border of the Empire. The peak was the unsuccessful Ottoman siege of Vienna in 1529. The year 1533 saw a second Ottoman attack on Vienna and a preliminary peace treaty, splitting Hungary into a western Habsburg part and an eastern sector under Zapolya as a vassal state of the Ottoman Empire. But the war in Hungary continued until 1543 when Ferdinand’s daughter Elisabeth was married to Zapolya’s son Sigismund.

The anthropomorphic map

10Here we have the roots for an illustrious group of maps which were published in the 16th century mainly in the German lands. They give a rather rough cartographical image of Europe with the outlines shaped in the form of a crowned female figure.

11The precise term for such maps in the form of human figures is “anthropomorphic map” rather than the more general “emblematic map” or “fantasy map” or “symbolic map”. A related type are maps shaped in the form of animals (“zoomorphic maps”) such as the famous Leo Belgicus (Cologne 1583 and many later editions) by Michael von Eitzing (ca. 1535–1598) and Frans Hogenberg (ca. 1538–1590), showing the Low Countries as a sitting lion. There also exist maps in the shape of plants (“floramorphic maps”). A magnificent specimen is the Bohemiae Rosa, a map of Bohemia underlaid with the flower of a rose. It was drawn by Christoph Vetter (1575–1650), engraved by Wolfgang Kilian (1581–1662) and later used to illustrate the Epitome historica rerum bohemicarum (Prague 1677) by the Czech Jesuite Bohuslav Balbin (1621–1688). The whole group had a renaissance from the later 19th century onwards with many politically initiated modern “satirical maps” and “map cartoons”.

12The earliest known surviving exemples of anthropomorphic maps were made by the clergyman and scribe Opicinus de Canistris (1296 – before 1352) from Pavia (Arendsen 1984, 301–318). Living in exile at the papal court in Avignon, he completed around 1337 a Liber plenus de variis figuris. This mystic and partially obscure work includes 52 cartographical illustrations in combination with human figures. The manuscript was part of the Bibliotheca Palatina in Heidelberg, which was confiscated in 1622 and transferred to the Vatican Library.

13All details on the whereabouts of this Canistris manuscript in the 15th and 16th centuries are unknown. So it is difficult to say if it had any influence on the ideas of the man, who is the author of the first printed anthropomorphic map : the Tyrolean Johannes Putsch.

Johannes Putsch and the archetype version (Paris 1537)

14Most of the biographical data on Johannes Putsch come from the literary estate of his much younger brother Christoph Wilhelm Putsch (1543–1572), a poet and private scholar in Innsbruck. He had collected material for a description of the German lands and a chronicle of Tyrol. Parts of his papers (the manuscripts Collectanea Tyrolensia) and some 50 books from his library are today in the University Library in Innsbruck. This estate was the basis for the fundamental essay by the philologist Karl Jax (1938), which has been overlooked in cartohistorical literature so far. On the other hand, Jax apparently did not know Putsch’s cartographic work.

15Johannes Putsch was born on 28 March 1516 in Innsbruck, the son of the landlord and royal secretary Wilhelm Putsch (ca. 1480–1551) and his wife Dorothea Müller. The name appears in the latinized form as Joannes Bucius with the humanist cognomen Aenicola, designating an inhabitant of the land at the river Inn (in Latin : Aenus or Oenus). Having completed the gymnasium in Innsbruck, he became – at the age of 14 – a member of the entourage of Ferdinand I. This seems to have been only a nominal appointment during the first years. Putsch even travelled to Italy in 1530 ; particular details on this phase of his education are still unknown. He continued his studies in France. On 23 November 1535 Joannes Bucius Aenicola, Brix. dioc. matriculated at the university of Orléans (de Ridder-Symoens 1980, p. 305). After his return to Austria he rejoined the service with Ferdinand I as a “royal councillor and supreme private field secretary” (Regis consiliarius, familiaris ac supremus castrensis in Hungariae secretarius) at the campaign in Hungary. The occasional description as a “German knight” (eques Germanus) suggests that he had been ennobled by his patron. Putsch died young on 19 January 1542 in Esztergom and was buried in the cathedral church there.

16Apparently during his sojourn in Italy Johannes Putsch has found his love for science and neo-Latin poetry. Christoph Wilhelm Putsch describes him an “outstanding poet and mathematician” (poeta iuxtaque mathematicus clarissimus). He seems to have prepared an edition of his brother’s collected works which has never appeared. The Collectanea Tyrolensis include a poem by Johannes Putsch on a forest fire in Hötting near Innsbruck 1540 (In ascensos montes Aeniponti). They also report on a large Epos Danubius which is completely lost. Only a few lines have survived from an Hodoeporicon Histria describing a travel from Piran to Innsbruck. Two single geographical pieces of poetry – Europa lamentans and Transylvania – were printed, posthumously two years after Putsch’s death in the anthology Poematia aliquot insignia illustrium poetarum recentiorum (Basle : Robert Winter, 1544).

17The only surviving mathematical work and the only known publication in Johann Putsch’s lifetime is his map of Europe in the form of a queen (figure 1). The cartobibliographical data are :

  • No title. Unframed, at the upper left the dedication : AD INVICTISSIMVM I Ferdinandum Romanorum, Hungariae, et I Bohaemiae Regem, Archiducem Au- I striae, Cum Tyroli Ioannes I Bucius I Aenicola I dedicat. I M. D. XXXVII.

  • Woodcut, with all inscriptions in letterpress.

  • 2 sheets, overall size 63 x 42 cm.

  • Only known copy : Tiroler Landesmuseum Ferdinandeum, Innsbruck (Historische Sammlungen, Inv. Nr. K V/84).

Figure 1. The original 1537 Paris edition by Johannes Putsch (Tiroler Landesmuseum Ferdinandeum, Innsbruck).

Figure 1. The original 1537 Paris edition by Johannes Putsch (Tiroler Landesmuseum Ferdinandeum, Innsbruck).

18Further publishing details can be derived from some notes in the bibliographical works of the Swiss humanist, physician and natural scientist Konrad Gesner (1516–1565). His Bibliotheca universalis of 1545, a bibliography arranged according to the first names of the authors, includes an entry on Putsch as follows : Joannes Bucius Aenicola, Europae totius luculentam descriptionem effinxit ad formam virginis. Vuechelus excudit Parisiis, in tabula duarum chartarum, altera tantum facie impressa, ut liceat affigi ad parietem (Gesner 1545, fol. 395v). Here is said that Johannes Putsch had made an impressive map of the whole of Europe in the form of a maiden, published on two sheets in such a large format that it could be affixed on the wall. The publisher’s name refers to the Basle-born Christian Wechel, who was active from ca. 1518 to ca. 1553 in Paris. This matches Putsch’s sojourn in France in the middle of the 1530s.

19A second and lesser known bibliography by the well-informed Konrad Gesner is arranged according to subjects. The Pandectarum … libri XXI of 1548 have a separate section on maps of Europe (Particulares quaedam tabulae ad Europam) in which is mentioned : Europae descriptio per Cl. Marium Aretium et Io. Bucium Aenicolam (Gesner 1548, fol. 111v). Interestingly here appears the name of a co-author. The name refers to the Sicilian nobleman Claudio Mario Arezzo (ca. 1500 – ca. 1575) from Siracusa. He was historiographer to Emperor Charles V and a poet also with geographical interests. Among his often reprinted works are a description of Sicily (De situ insulae Siciliae, Palermo 1537) and a treatise on the introduction of the Sicilian dialect as the national standard language of Italy (Osservantii dila lingua siciliana, Palermo 1543). Arezzo and Putsch may have met during the latter’s time in Italy, and they may have had the idea of the map commonly.

20This personnel conjunction is underlined by Michael von Eitzing in the foreword of his book De Leone Belgico which accompanies his above-mentioned Leo Belgicus map (Eitzing 1583). Eitzing expresses his hope that this skillful engraving by Frans Hogenberg would reach a similar reputation as the map “of the whole of Europe drawn in the form of a royal maiden crowned by Portugal, and presented to Emperor Charles V in Italy and then communicated to the world” (… totam Europam, in virginis reginae a Lusitania coronata formam aliquando redactam totique Imperatori eidem Carolo in Italia praesentavit totique postea mundo communicavit). This statement gives the following chronology :

21An apparently hand-drawn version of the map had been presented to Charles V in Italy, probably together with the poem Europa lamentans.

22The only relevant date for this handing over is the late summer (22 August – 21 October) of the year 1535, during Charles’ sojourn in Sicily – in the homeland of Mario di Arezzo.
Immediately after that Johannes Putsch left Italy for France, where he arrived in November 1535 in Orléans.

23The map was “communicated to the world” by its publication in 1537 in Paris.

24The origins of Michael von Eitzing’s detailed knowledge are unknown. He had lived many years in the Netherlands, and he may have heard the story in the milieu of the Spanish court in Brussels. However, the manuscript presentation copy of the map has never come to light.

Topographical image and symbolism

25Surely influenced by the classical myth of the Cretian Europa, Putsch’s map image shows the continent in the form of standing queen. The figure is depicted with a crown on her head, holding a sceptre in her left hand and an orb (Sicily) in her right hand. The borders of the landmass follow the contours of the body, surrounded by the seas. Accordingly the map is orientated west, with the Iberian peninsula forming the crowned head at top. Rough outlines at the margins give a suggestion of North Africa, Scandinavia and Asia Minor.

26The woodcutting of the map is rather crude, and the sole surviving exemplar has some defects especially in the inserted types. But all missing parts are easy to reconstruct with the help of the fairly true copy by Quad and Bussemacher mentioned below. The topographical contents can be summarized as follows.

27All major rivers of Central Europe are shown : the Po in Italy, the Rhône and the Seine in France, the rivers Rhine (with Main), Weser, Elbe (with Saale), Viadrus, Vistula, Neman and Daugava to the Northern and Baltic Seas, the river system of the Danube (with Lech, Inn, Sava, Tisza and Morava), the Dniestr and the Dniepr.

28The depiction of mountains is heavily stylized. The map shows the Appenine in Italy, a range from the Mediterranean to the North Sea, another long range from the Alps along the Danube (as Albanus Mons) to the Black Sea, the emphasized mountain bassins of Bohemia and Transyslvania and the Raephaei Montes in White Russia.

29Also the selection of towns is done with great generalisation. There are depicted Rome, Venice and Milan in Italy, Paris in France, Strasbourg, Putsch’s hometown Innsbruck, Vienna, Prague and Cracow in Central Europe and Buda, Belgrad and Constantinopel in the east.

30The political subdivision is indicated by regional names, coats-of-arms and some tribal names.

31The cartographic sources for Putsch’s design are difficult to trace. There was no other contemporary map of Europe which could serve as an immediate model. A hint is given by entries like the non-existing river “Viadrus” in North Germany, the “Riphaei montes” in north-eastern Europe and the names of Germanic tribes. Such details are surely taken from the maps in Ptolemy’s geography.

32The further analysis of the symbolism must connect the map with Putsch’s poem Europa lamentans ; for the full text with translation see the appendix. It consists of a mourning of Europa – speaking as woman – addressed to Charles V and Ferdinand I. She complains about the doubtful future of herself and the entire earth. The cause of her lament are the permanent wars during two millennia, the main sufferer of which was Italy. Her listing begins with the mythical duel between Aeneas and Turnus, as it is described in book XII of Virgil’s Aeneid (ca. 29–19 BC). Then follow Caesar’s campaigns against his own country in the “Civil War” 49– 45 BC, the various campaigns of Germanic tribes, the invasion of the Huns and the expeditions of the German kings under the Ottonian Dynasty (950–1000) and Friedrich I Barbarossa (1155–1190) from the house of Swabia. As a consequence, the formerly strong right arm of Europe – Italy in Roman times – is now described as hanging limply down. In the present, Europa is seeing herself as a faithful but desperate wife offered to Turks and Tartars and with her head plagued by England. Only Germany in the center of her body is well armed against all enemies. Europa’s hope for the future is a victorious but quick end of the conflicts and an enduring period of peace under the reign of the sparkling stars Charles and Ferdinand.

33The parallels between the map and the poem are obvious. Four details are interesting to point out :

  • The topography in the western part of the Mediterranean is heavily distorted. The Tyrrhenian and the Ligurian coasts are forming an almost straight line. This cartographic error was necessary to reach an impression of Italy as the queen’s limp right arm.

  • There is a strikingly bad map image of the British Isles. They are depicted as a massive structure, lying on the queen’s shoulder and threatening her head.

  • The dense entries in Germany are really looking like an armour plating on the queen’s chest.

  • The lowering eyes give a conspicuously sorrowful look to the queen’s face.

34The written dedication of the map is addressed to Putsch’s patron, the German king Ferdinand. The queen’s head is formed by the united Spanish kingdoms of Charles, the image of her crown has essential details in common with the royal crown of Spain. The map lacks all allusions to emperorship – to that dignity which was responsible for so many misfortunes of Italy as described in the poem.

35In summary, the map and poem are closely linked together. They represent a unique piece of a liaison between cartography and humanist poetry. Their subject is a personal glorification of the house of Habsburg, but with a magnificently true undertone. Putsch’s pacifism is embedded in a trend in the contemporary learned world, in the footsteps of Erasmus of Rotterdam.

The reduced adoptions in the works of Bünting (1587) and Münster (1588)

36Heinrich Bünting (ca. 1545 – 1606) was a German Protestant priest. Because of diverging theological opinions, he had to spend part of his life as a freelance author. His best known work is the Itinerarium sacrae scripturae. Das ist: Ein Reisebuch über die gantze heilige Schrift (first published Helmstedt ; Jacobus Lucius, 1581), a geographical compendium to accompany the lecture of the Bible. The book had more than 60 editions until the middle of the 18th century. They are illustrated with different sets of maps. An interesting series appeared first in a 1587 Wittenberg edition. It includes – besides some “normal” maps of the world, Africa and the Bible Lands – three unusual items :

  1. a floramorphic world map in the form of a clover leaf (more correct : of a Marienblume, a symbol of Bünting’s home Hannover) ;

  2. a zoomorphic map of Asia in the form of the mythical horse Pegasus ;

  3. an anthropomorphic map of Europe in the form of a queen (figure 2).

Figure 2.The adoption in the editions of Heinrich Bünting’s Itinerarium sacrae scripturae 1587ff. (Private collection in Germany).

Figure 2. The adoption in the editions of Heinrich Bünting’s Itinerarium sacrae scripturae 1587ff. (Private collection in Germany).

37The latter is a reduced and generalized adaptation (woodcut with all inscriptions in letterpress, 23.5 x 35 cm) of the Putsch map of 1537 ; there exist at least versions from five different print media. All tribal names and coats-of-arms are left out, as well as some rivers (e. g. Dniepr, Don, Po, Rhône, Sava and Weser) and mountain ranges (Appenine, Transylvanian basin). But there also are some additions. There is a better image of the British Isles with a separate entry of Ireland. At the Baltic coast are added entries of Kaliningrad (Mons Regius, Königsberg) and Riga, in Central Germany Bünting’s homeland Braunschweig.

38Bünting has written a short text to explain the map. It reveals that all political background had been lost in favour of a simple didactical purpose. The map in form of a queen has become a mnemonic aid to learn and memorize the outlines of the geography of Europe.

  • The crowned head represents Spain with Portugal, the right ear is Aragon and the left ear Navarra.

  • France is the chest.

  • The Alps and the river Rhine are two necklaces. On the Rhine is hanging a chain with a great golden coin or jewel= the mountain ring of Bohemia.

  • Germany is the heart of Europe.

  • Italy forms the right arm, the imperial orb in the right hand is Sicily.

  • The left arm is Denmark.

  • Along the lower border of the queen’s skirt are arranged Greece with the Peloponnesus (on her right) and the Baltic lands up to Muscovy (on her left).

  • Constantinopel and Prussia are said to represent the two feet.

  • The river Danube and the “Albanian mountains” (the Balkans) are two long precious chains hanging from the queen’s belt.

39A somewhat strange feature is that the version in Bünting is – regarding the direction of the lettering – orientated north. In consequence the pictoral effect does not really work.

40The total renunciation of the political contents is easy to explain. The strict Protestant Heinrich Bünting had no interests in any glorification of the house of Habsburg. However, he was not the inventor of that new kind of interpretation. The origins have been traced back to the Cosmographiae … compendium (Basel 1561), a textbook by the French humanist Guillaume Postel (1510–1581). But the idea is illustrated here only with a small (2,5 x 2 cm) map icon without topographical detail (van der Heijden 1992, 119).

41The first edition of the epoch-making Cosmography of Sebastian Münster (1498–1552) was published 1545 in Basel. Later editors tried to update the work with new and partially more modern maps. Among them is – besides other normal maps of Europe – a map in the form of a queen (woodcut with parts of the inscriptions in letterpress, 26 x 16.5 cm) (figure 3). It appeared first in 1588 and is included in all subsequent editions up to 1628. This version by Münster is another reduced and strongly generalized copy after the original Putsch edition. Some characteristics to note :

  • Again all coats-of-arms and most of the regional names are left out.

  • The generalisation of the river system has been done better than in the Bünting version. Po and Weser are missing again, but Dnieper, Don, Rhône and Sava are present. –

  • Also the Appenine mountains appear, while the Transylvanian mountain basin is missing again.

  • The selection of town entries was very rigid. Important towns like Frankfurt, Rome and Vienna are missing.

42As the original orientation towards west is taken over, the pictorial effect of this Münster version is much clearer than in Bünting’s. But the reader is left alone with the unusual map image. All explantory texts are missing.

Figure 3.The adoption in the editions of Sebastian Münster’s Cosmography 1588ff. (Private collection in Germany).

Figure 3. The adoption in the editions of Sebastian Münster’s Cosmography 1588ff. (Private collection in Germany).

The Cologne edition by Quad and Bussemacher (Cologne 1587)

43Matthias Quad (1557–1613), a scion of a sideline (Quad von Kinckelbach) of the Rhenish Barons of Quadt-Wykrath, was born and trained as an engraver in the Netherlands. Between 1587 and 1604 he lived as an engraver, mapmaker and author of geographical books in Cologne. Among Quad’s main partner there was the publisher Johann Bussemacher (active 1577-1616). Their first joined project was the publication of single sheet map of Europe in the form of a queen (figure 4).

Figure 4. The 1587 Cologne edition by Matthias Quad and Johann Bussemacher (Private collection in France).

Figure 4. The 1587 Cologne edition by Matthias Quad and Johann Bussemacher (Private collection in France).

44Upper left corner in a richly decorated cartouche : EVROPAE I DESCRIPTIO.
The text in the title cartouche continues : I
I Virginis en caput est Hispania, Gallia pectus I Italia fines dextera constituit. I R I Anglos atque Scotos et Hybernos Orcadas atque I Limitibus claudit palma sinistra suis. I N I In medio residet fertis Germania ventre, I Occupat umbilici terra Bohemia locum. I I I Ungarus ad dextrum femur, è regione Polonus I GRaecia pes prior est, Moschia posterior. I M D LXXXVII Hen. Hem Essenii.
In a scrollwork frame at the lower left : Puella haec speziosor illustrior- I que reddita per Mathiam I Quadum Colon.e Aggribi pro- I dit ex officina Jani Bussema- I cher.

45Some copies have a type-printed text mounted on both sides, starting Zu dem günstigen Leser I unnd beschawer at the upper left and ending with the imprint at the lower right : Gedruckt in der Keyserlichen Freyen Reichstatt Cölln I am Rhein, durch Jan Buchssenmacher auff I S. Maximinen Strassen.
Engraving, printed from 2 plates, engraved surface 63.5 x 47 cm ; overall size with texts ca. 70 x 79 cm.

46Copies : Staatliche Bibliothek, Regens­burg (no signature), the map only ; two copies with the marginal text are in private collections in France (ex Collection Schäfer, Schweinfurt) and USA.

47Quad’s engraving is a rather close copy of the 1537 Putsch map ; this helps to reconstruct some physical defects of the sole surviving copy of the original edition in Innsbruck. Among some minor alterations are :

  • additional entries of towns such as Cologne, Quad’s birthplace Deventer in the Netherlands, Lyon, Narbonne and Rouen in France, Grodno in Lithuania, Athens, Corinth and Patras in Greece and a rich topography along the coast of North Africa ;

  • a more detailed but rather crude map image of the British Isles, with Ireland marked only by a coat-of-arms and Wallia placed east of London ;

  • the addition of a series of letters in the upper arch of the queen’s crown, which have not yet been explained.

48The cartouche at the upper left includes a rather superficial version of a mnemonic explanation of the map image similar to Bünting, in Latin verses and signed by the otherwise unknown Henricus Hem from Essen. The additional type-printed text is written by Matthias Quad himself. It starts with a geographical description of Europe. There follows the German quotation of Ovid’s verses on Europa with a fairly amusing disputation : Had Zeus the form of a white bull or a white cow when he abducted Europa to Crete? Also Quad’s text ends with a lament of Europa on permanent violence, from her abduction by Zeus until the present threat by Turcs, Tartars and Moscovites. Final verses in German express again the desire for peace :

49Ach der erleben mocht die zeit I daß in der gantzen Christenheit I (Welchs allermeisten uns gebricht) I Ein gmeyner Fried würd auffgericht I Wiederumb gebawet wurd das Landt I Frey Künsten nehmen uberhand I Und Christo warem Gott die ehr I Gegeben wurd, sonst keinem mehr I alsolchs, der diesen Platen stach, I Wünscht Matthiß Quad von Kinckelbach.

50A free English translation :

51Oh that we would live to see the time I that in the entire Christendom I a common peace would be erected I (that what is lacking most). I That the land would be farmed again I and liberal arts would flourish I and honor would be given to Christ the true God I and to no-one other more. I That wishes the one who engraved this plate, I Matthias Quad of Kinckelbach.

52The background of this lament and the absence of any allusions to the Habsburgs can be explained from contemporary history of the Lower Rhinelands. The region was gravely affected by the uprising of the Low Countries against the Spanish Crown from 1578. Further devastations by Spanish and imperial troups occurred in the “Cologne War” (1583–1588). The conversion of the Cologne Archbishop Gebhard Truchsess von Waldburg (1547–1601) to the reformed faith in 1582 had personal reasons, his love to the protestant canoness Agnes of Mansfeld (1551–1637). But it meant a protestant majority in the collegium of the seven Imperial Electors of the Holy Roman Empire. In consequence Gebhard was deposed and driven by troops of the catholic party supporting his newly elected successor Ernest of Bavaria (1554–1612).

The map in the Eitzing atlas (Cologne 1588)

53The above mentioned Michael von Eitzing also authored the excessively rare pocket atlas De Europae virginis, tauro insidentis, topographica atque historica descriptione liber (Cologne : Gottfried van Kempen, 1588) with 88 maps. It is an emended re-edition of the Cologne road atlas Itinerarium Orbis Christiani, first published in 1579/90 by Frans Hogenberg.

54The engraved frontispice of this Eitzing edition (16 x 12.5 cm) includes a circular map of Europe (diam. 12.5 cm) which is a unique combination of anthropomorphic and zoomorphic elements in the present context. It shows the topographical image of Europe underlaid by the depiction of the queen Europa riding on the bull. Some details follow the 1587 Cologne version by Quad and Bussemacher : the queen’s head is formed by Spain and her right arm with the sceptre by Italy. Other features demanded new solutions. The gathered left leg of the riding queen forms the Baltic Sea. The bull’s left croup corresponds to Scandinavia ; his tail is positioned to touch the Faroe Islands and the Shetland Islands. However, a congruence of the topography in the Mediterranean with the bull’s head and legs was impossible to reach.

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Johann Putsch’s poem Europa lamentans

Original Latin text with an English translation by Wulf Bodenstein, assisted by J-L Vellut

Europa lamentans

Lamentatio Europae ad Carolum V. Caesarem et Ferdinandum Romanorum regem fratres.

Quis tandem mihi finis erit, quae fata labores
Ingentes casusque feros fortesque nefandas
Attollent ? Quae me tandem fortuna iacentem
Restituet primae disiecti sideris aurae ?
Tot sedes, tot bella tuli, tot proelia vidi
Sanguinea Aeneaeque acies, certamina Turni,
Gottorum strages infestantesque catervas
Gallorum Dacosque truces et Marte feroces
Marcomanos, diramque cruenti Caesaris iram
In patriam obstupui saevamque immitis Athilae
Infelix timui rabiem, qui quae arma Suevi
Induperatoris, triplicata vulnera Othonum
Exhausi. Quot sola dedit mihi Roma tumultus,
Nequitiam perpessa suam ? Nec talia metam
Attingunt, nunc multa acie, nunc ense corusco.
Inceptant alia insani certamina Reges

Evulsis inferre comis et rumpere pacem.
Heu mihi, quot tantis nondum saturata periclis,
In nova bella ruam ? mea mi telluris opimae
Fertilitas nocet atque externos allicit hostes.
En caput oppressum trucibus relabascat ut Anglis,
Dextera Romanos nimiumque experta tyrannos
Respicit in terram fugiuntque e sanguine vires.
Sola potens armis, medio Germania constans
Corpore, firmatas posuit sibi fortius arces.
Sum fidi custos thalami, sum maxima summae
Servatrixque pudicitiae, sed semper iniquis

Poscor venundorque procis, modo Turca scelestus,
Nunc Arabes, iam Tartar emit. Quid plurima dicam
in steriles ventos ?
Vos, o clarissima mundi
Sydera, vos gemini fratres, quibus aurea gaudent
Saecula, tam diros belli compescite amores
Armorumque minas. In vobis tota recumbit
Spes, virtus et grata quies omnisque potestas
Contra hostes. Agite aethereos sub Marte triumphos
Accipite, ita sacri cecinerunt omnia vates
Promisitque Deus patribus. Vos ocyus ergo
Semidei, vos Palladios decerpite ramos
Arbore et aeternam sancito foedere pacem
Reddite percussis populis requiemque colonis
Donate et meriti vobis solvantur honores.

Europe lamenting

Europe’s complaint to Emperor Charles V and his brother Ferdinand, King of the Romans

What is going to be my destiny, which fate will put an end to the immense distress, the cruel vicissitudes and forces of providence? Which divine ordinance will finally restore a first glimmer of hope for our fallen planet ? So many attacks and wars have I suffered, so many bloody fights did I see, the battles of Aeneas, the combats of Turnus, the massacres of the Goths, the hordes of the devastating Gauls, the murderous Daci, and the ferocious Marcomans. I was shocked by Caesar’s wrath against his own native country. In my misfortune I dreaded the violent rages of furious Attila, having endured the armed engagements of the Swabians and the wounds inflicted thrice by the Ottonians. How much trouble did Rome not cause me, having to suffer her debauchery ? But these matters have not come to an end yet, as now we are threatened by more actions on the battlefield, to be fought with the sword. Some senseless kings in their madness launch new wars and break the peace. Alas, have I not run enough risks to rush headlong into a new war ? The fertility of my rich soil is a handicap as it attracts enemies from abroad. Thus my head sways, oppressed by the cruel English, and the right arm which has suffered exceedingly under the Roman tyrants drops down towards earth, while the veins lose their vigour. Faithful and mighty Germany alone, in the centre of my body, has energetically armed herself. I am the guardian of the nuptial chambers, the strongest protector of absolute chastity, but always am I being proposed to and even offered to be bought, be it by the treacherous Turk, the Arab or even the Tatar. What more shall I speak vainly into the wind ? Oh you most brilliant stars of the world, the two brothers who are the joy of the golden age, do curb the infatuation with war and the threat of the arms. On you reposes all hope, valour, gracious tranquillity and all force against the enemy. Receive the divine triumph obtained in the sign of Mars as foretold by the holy prophets and promised our fathers by God himself. So therefore go and pick olive branches from the tree, ye half gods, and give frightened humanity a lasting peace, and quietude to the inhabitants, so that the well-deserved honours may be bestowed upon you.

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Table des illustrations

Titre Figure 1. The original 1537 Paris edition by Johannes Putsch (Tiroler Landesmuseum Ferdinandeum, Innsbruck).
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Titre Figure 2. The adoption in the editions of Heinrich Bünting’s Itinerarium sacrae scripturae 1587ff. (Private collection in Germany).
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Titre Figure 3. The adoption in the editions of Sebastian Münster’s Cosmography 1588ff. (Private collection in Germany).
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Titre Figure 4. The 1587 Cologne edition by Matthias Quad and Johann Bussemacher (Private collection in France).
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Pour citer cet article

Référence papier

Peter Meurer, « Europa Regina. 16th century maps of Europe in the form of a queen »Belgeo, 3-4 | 2008, 355-370.

Référence électronique

Peter Meurer, « Europa Regina. 16th century maps of Europe in the form of a queen »Belgeo [En ligne], 3-4 | 2008, mis en ligne le 22 mai 2013, consulté le 26 février 2024. URL : ; DOI :

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Peter Meurer

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