Beastly Belonging in the Premodern North
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Original versionJørgensen, D. (2018) Beastly Belonging in the Premodern North. In: Jørgensen, D., & Langum, V. (red), Visions of North in Premodern Europe, pp. 183-205. Turnhout: Brepols 10.1484/M.CURSOR-EB.5.114062
This article discusses the representations of animals on maps from the Middle Ages and early modern period that depict Scandinavia. It argues that examining animal images on maps of Scandinavia, like the Carta marina made by Olaus Magnus in 1539, can expose how the North and its fauna were understood in the premodern era as distinct from the fauna of Continental Europe, as well as Africa and other distant lands. The northern animals belong in the North, and the North is characterized by them. I will argue that mapmakers chose animals to represent the essential character of the North in the illustrated premodern maps.