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Rudimentary Map Of The British Isles, In Gerald Of Wales's 'The Topography Of Ireland'

Rudimentary Map Of The British Isles, In Gerald Of Wales's 'The Topography Of Ireland'

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1200

Shelfmark: Arundel MS 14

Item number: f.27v

Length: 26.8

Width: 18.3

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated manuscript

Gerald 'of Wales' (c. 1146-1223) was born at Manorbier, Pembrokeshire, and remained fiercely patriotic throughout his life. In 1184 he accompanied Prince John on an expedition to Ireland, after which he wrote 'The Topography Of Ireland'. It describes the country's physical features, birds and beasts, marvels, history, and the inhabitants. We owe much of our knowledge of medieval Ireland to this one work. This map is puzzling to modern eyes until one realises that North is to the left, and South is oriented to the East. The two large islands (the upper one with a large rectangular modern repair) are labelled in red 'Britannia' and 'Hybernia', while the group of small islands are labelled 'Orcades' (the Orkneys). The other red words are 'Aquilo' (North, in Latin) and 'Auster' (South).

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