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The 'Christian Knight' world map

c.1596

The 'Christian Knight' world map

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  • Intro

    The title of this map suggests it is an allegory (or symbolic tale) of a real battle: ‘map...in which the struggle of the Christian Knight on Earth...is graphically depicted.’ So what does the symbolism mean, and why is the map covered in frightening creatures?

     

    From the 1560s to 1648 Holland was engaged in a war of independence with Catholic Spain. Jodocus Hondius, who made this map, was a Dutch Protestant. The human figures on the map illustrate the battle between Catholics and Protestants. The armoured ‘Christian’ knight represents King Henry IV of France, a Protestant ally. The figures fighting him symbolise Catholicism: (left to right) Worldly Vanity, Sin, Carnal Weakness, the Devil, and Death.

     

    Shelfmark: Maps 188.k.1.(5)

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