Maps of Medieval Thought

Maps of Medieval Thought

The Hereford Paradigm

Naomi Reed Kline


Boydell Press



Mappa mundi texts and images present a panorama of the medieval world-view, c.1300; the Hereford map studied in close detail.
Filled with information and lore, mappae mundi present an encyclopaedic panorama of the conceptual "landscape" of the middle ages. Previously objects of study for cartographers and geographers, the value of medieval maps to scholars in other fields is now recognised and this book, written from an art historical perspective, illuminates the medieval view of the world represented in a group of maps of c.1300. Naomi Kline's detailed examination of the literary, visual, oral and textual evidence of the Hereford mappa mundi and others like it, such as the Psalter Maps, the '"Sawley Map", and the Ebstorf Map, places them within the larger context of medieval art and intellectual history.
The mappa mundi in Hereford cathedral is at the heart of this study: it has more than one thousand texts and images of geographical subjects, monuments, animals, plants, peoples, biblical sites and incidents, legendary material, historical information and much more; distinctions between "real" and "fantastic" are fluid; time and space are telescoped, presenting past, present, and future. Naomi Kline provides, for the first time, a full and detailed analysis of the images and texts of the Hereford map which, thus deciphered, allow comparison with related mappae mundi as well as with other texts and images.

NAOMI REED KLINE is Professor of Art History at Plymouth State College.


August 2005
1 colour, 80 black and white, 3 line illustrations
282 pages
24.4x17.2 cm
ISBN: 9780851159379
Format: Paperback
Boydell Press
BISAC HIS037010, ART015070, HIS015000
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Fascinating for anyone interested in mediæval thought and a must for those with an interest in the fabulous lands and creatures of the Middle Ages. FORTEAN TIMES
An ambitious and generally highly satisfactory attempt to "look" at the map from every angle. CHURCH TIMES
Enjoyable and readable... As well as historians of cartography, the work is intended for medievalists and art historians, who should find much to stimulate and interest them. LIBRARY
Sets out to determine how the great map was perceived by contemporaries.. This required a very wide range of scholarly knowledge in related fields, and Kline's erudition in that respect is impressive. This book portrays that [medieval] mindset, like a rich tapestry, with depth and colour. HISTORY