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Globes: 400 Years of Exploration, Navigation, and Powerby Sylvia Sumira
Synopses & Reviews
The concept of the earth as a sphere has been around for centuries, emerging around the time of Pythagoras in the sixth century BC, and eventually becoming dominant as other thinkers of the ancient world, including Plato and Aristotle, accepted the idea. The first record of an actual globe being made is found in verse, written by the poet Aratus of Soli, who describes a celestial sphere of the stars by Greek astronomer Eudoxus of Cnidus (ca. 408and#150;355 BC). The oldest surviving globeand#151;a celestial globe held up by Atlasand#8217;s shouldersand#151;dates back to 150 AD, but in the West, globes were not made again for about a thousand years. It was not until the fifteenth century that terrestrial globes gained importance, culminating when German geographer Martin Behaim created what is thought to be the oldest surviving terrestrial globe. In Globes: 400 Years of Exploration, Navigation, and Power, Sylvia Sumira, beginning with Behaimand#8217;s globe, offers a authoritative and striking illustrated history of the subsequent four hundred years of globe making. and#160;
Showcasing the impressive collection of globes held by the British Library, Sumira traces the inception and progression of globes during the period in which they were most widely usedand#151;from the late fifteenth century to the late nineteenth centuryand#151;shedding light on their purpose, function, influence, and manufacture, as well as the cartographers, printers, and instrument makers who created them. She takes readers on a chronological journey around the world to examine a wide variety of globes, from those of the Renaissance that demonstrated a renewed interest in classical thinkers; to those of James Wilson, the first successful commercial globe maker in America; to those mass-produced in Boston and New York beginning in the 1800s. Along the way, Sumira not only details the historical significance of each globe, but also pays special attention to their materials and methods of manufacture and how these evolved over the centuries.
A stunning and accessible guide to one of the great tools of human exploration, Globes will appeal to historians, collectors, and anyone who has ever examined this classroom accessory and wondered when, why, and how they came to be made.
Though recognized largely today as pedagogical tools, as mere spherical maps of the world, globes have played an influential role in the pursuit and discovery of knowledge and in the evolution of maps and map making. Since written evidence of the first globe appearedandmdash;a celestial sphere of the stars by Greek astronomer Eudoxus of Cnidus (ca. 408andndash;355 bc)andmdash;these three-dimensional geographical maps have symbolized affluence and prestige, advanced discovery and exploration, and encouraged curiosity about the temporal and eternal worlds. A Book of Globes provides a comprehensive overview of this history of globes and the art of globe making. Showcasing the impressive collection of the British Library, independent conservator Sylvia Sumira traces the inception and progression of globes over timeandmdash;from the early sixteenth to the late nineteenth centuryandmdash;shedding light on their purpose, function, influence, and manufacture, as well as the cartographers, printers, and instrument makers who created them.
About the Author
Sylvia Sumira is a leading authority on historic globes and one of few conservators in the world to specialize in printed globes. She worked at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich before setting up her own studio, where she carries out conservation work for museums, libraries, and other institutions, as well as for private owners.
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Engineering » Civil Engineering » Cartography