An innovative, interdisciplinary approach to the understudied Icelandic mappae mundi.
The Icelandic mappae mundi (maps of the world), drawn between c.1225 and c.1400, are contemporary to the breathtaking rise of its vernacular literary culture, and provide important insights into the Icelanders’ capacious geographical imaginary in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. However, in comparison with those elsewhere, such as the Hereford mappa mundi, they have received relatively little critical attention.
This book explores these maps not only for what they reveal about the Icelanders’ geographical awareness, but as complex registers of Icelandic national self-perception and imagining, considering them in their various contexts, notably the physical. It reveals fully how Icelanders used the cartographic medium to consider fantasies of national origin, their political structures, and place in Europe.
The small canon of Icelandic word maps is reproduced here photographically, with their texts presented alongside English translations, enabling a wider understanding.
DALE KEDWARDS is Queen Margrethe II Distinguished Research Fellow at Stofnun Vigdísar Finnbogadóttur and Þjóðminjasafn Íslands.