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Star Maps pp 133–149Cite as

Early European star maps

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In previous chapters we discussed the cosmologies and constellation developments of both non-European and European countries. We have considered ancient ways of mapping the heavens using such media as paintings on the walls and ceilings of temples, markings on oracle bones or clay tablets, and representations on unusual flat surfaces, such as papyrus. We now are in a position to begin our journey of describing and illustrating how the heavens were depicted on flat surfaces that we usually associate with such activities in Europe, such as vellum or paper. In fact, it was in Europe that star maps reached their zenith in terms of accuracy and beauty, especially during the Golden Age of celestial cartography in the 17th and 18th Centuries. But prior to this time, especially in the 16th Century, there were a number of ‘‘firsts’’ that set the stage for the Golden Age, and this will form the subject of this chapter.


  • British Library
  • Star Catalog
  • External Orientation
  • Star Pattern
  • Constellation Image

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Kanas, N. (2012). Early European star maps. In: Star Maps. Springer Praxis Books(). Springer, New York, NY.

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