Sebastian Münster

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Sebastian Münster (20 January 1488 – 26 May 1552), [1] was a German cartographer, cosmographer, and a Hebrew scholar.



Münster was born at Ingelheim near Mainz, the son of Andreas Munster. He was appointed to the University of Basel in 1527. As Professor of Hebrew, he edited the Hebrew Bible, accompanied by a Latin translation.

His work, the Cosmographia from 1544 was the earliest German description of the world. It had numerous editions in different languages including Latin, French, Italian, English, and even Czech. The last German edition was published in 1628, long after his death. The Cosmographia was one of the most successful and popular books of the 16th century. It passed through 24 editions in 100 years. New_International_Encyclopedia This success was due to the fascinating woodcuts (some by Hans Holbein the Younger, Urs Graf, Hans Rudolph Manuel Deutsch, and David Kandel). It was most important in reviving geography in 16th century Europe.

In 1540 he published a Latin edition of Ptolemy's Geographia with illustrations. The 1550 edition contains cities, portraits, and costumes. These editions, printed in Germany, are the most valued of the Cosmographias.

Münster also wrote the Dictionarium trilingue in Latin, Greek, and Hebrew and Mappa Europae (map of Europe) in 1536. He died at Basel of the plague in 1552.

He was pictured on the old 100 DM banknotes that were replaced at the beginning of the 1990s.

Statue of Sebastian Münster in front of St. Remigius Church, Ingelheim

Cover of first edition of Cosmographia

his home town Ingelheim in Cosmographia

Porträt of Sebastian Münsters, edition of 1628

Europa regina in Münster's "Cosmographia", 1570.

Portraits of Sebastian Münster

Several paintings with oil on canvas, woodcuts and copper etchings depict Sebastian Münster, by Hans Holbein d. J. (Basel, c. 1530), Willem de Haen (1615), as rector of the University of Basel (by Christoph Amberger, um 1547), and on the 100-DM-bill as used 1962 to 1991.

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