Special Collections to host talk on ancient cartography

University Libraries’ Department of Special Collections is hosting a talk titled “The Art & Science of Renaissance Mapping: Abraham Ortelius’s Theatrum Orbis Terrarum.”

Christine R. Johnson, Ph.D., assistant professor of history in Arts & Sciences, will give the talk at 4 p.m. March 23 in the Gingko Reading Room, Olin Library, Level 1.

At the end of the 16th century, Europe was remaking itself and its relationship with the world. In the beautifully illustrated maps included in the first modern atlas — the Theatrum — ancient science is fused with the powerful dynamics of exploration, empire and state-building, reflecting the creative use of knowledge in the Renaissance.

Johnson specializes in Renaissance Germany. Her current research project, “Bringing the World Home: Germany and the Overseas Expansion of Europe,” examines the German responses to the voyages of Columbus, de Gama, Magellan and other explorers and conquerors who extended Europe’s political and economic reach to the East and West Indies.

Her interest in the history of cartography has led to an article titled “Renaissance German Cosmographers and the Naming of America” and a course on “Mapping the Early Modern World.”

The event is free and open to the public and is part of an on-going series of talks called “Our Favorite Books,” which features faculty members or other scholars speaking about important holdings from Special Collections.

A reception will follow the talk. For more information, call 935-5495 or go online to library.wustl.edu/units/spec/rarebooks/bkhist.