Sebastian Münster (1489 - 1552)


Münster's Cosmographia Universalis, published first in Basel in 1544 and re-issued many times in various languages thereafter, was a masterpiece woodcut lesson in Geography, educating the curious about the looks of the world. Münster was (together with Ortelius and Mercator) the leading cartographer of his time. While other mapmakers limited themselves to showing the world in maps, Münster's Cosmographia was also showing views of cities and places and offered an encyclopaedia of knowledge about the world as it was or as it was expected to be. Münster was a universely educated person, a historian, mathematician, geographer, linguist, he first taught Hebrew at the University of Heidelberg before he settled in Basel, Switzerland in 1529. Unable to travel everywhere he invited scholars all over to send him pictures and descriptions of their localities which he used to edit and publish his important works.

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