Medieval & Early Modern Maps on View at Yale

Credit: Rebecca Rego Barry

"Journal of Magellan's Voyage," ca. 1525, on exhibit at Yale's Beinecke Library. 

A research trip to the Beinecke Library at Yale University gave me the opportunity to visit its new exhibition, The World in Maps: 1400-1600, showcasing historically significant manuscript maps and travel documents from the late medieval and early modern period.

The gorgeous book pictured above is a manuscript on vellum made in France ca. 1525 that is the oldest surviving eyewitness account of the voyage around the world begun by Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan. It was written by Antonio Pigafetta, an Italian officer on board. According to the exhibition label, this journal has been nominated for inclusion in UNESCO’s Memory of the World archive.

A grouping of manuscripts on astrology in the medieval world also caught my eye, especially one by Canterbury Tales author Geoffrey Chaucer: "A Treatise on the Astrolabe," manuscript on paper, ca. 1450.

Another highlight is the Vinland Map — that infamous map that the Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage at Yale proved a fake last year. 

The World in Maps runs through January 8, 2023. Check out more exhibition highlights and related upcoming events here