The Eastern Mediterranean
Breydenbach, Bernhard & Reuwich, Erhard
Date of Creation:
The Eastern Mediterranean, Bernhard Breydenbach, 1489
From: Peregrinatio in terram sanctam, Bernhard Breydenbach and Erhard Reuwich, Mainz, 1489.
Bernhard Breydenbach (ca. 1440-1497) was a wealthy canon of Mainz Cathedral. During the period of April 1483 to January 1484, he made a trip to the Holy Land accompanied by the artist Erhard Reuwich, whom Breydenbach cites as the author of this map of the Holy Land and eastern Mediterranean. Also accompanying him on the trip were a cook and a knight.
They went by way of Venice, staying there for three weeks. From Venice they continued to the Venetian possessions of Corfu, Modon (western tip of the Peloponnese peninsula), and Rhodes, and then on to the Holy Land. The galley in which they reached the Holy Land is illustrated on the map at their landfall in Jaffa. Following their visit to such cities as Jerusalem and Bethlehem, they continued to Mount Sinai, Cairo, Alexandria, and they took a boat down the Nile as far as Rosetta (Rashid).
The map covers the region through Sidon (Sayda), Lebanon; Alexandria, Egypt; Mecca, Arabia; and Damascus, Syria. Jerusalem is depicted out of scale, occupying about a third of the entire map, and orientated 180 degrees reversed from the rest of the map, drawn with west at the top, rather than east. It was likely extracted from a separate prototype than the main map.
This is an early attempt to depict empirical geographic data on a printed map. Compare it to the first such work, the map of Palestine from the 1475 Rudimentum Novitiorum, in this Exploration and Discovery exhibit.