The Changing Shape of the Earth

The Printing of the Map
Latitude and Longitude
The Earth's Shapes

Two peculiarities in the presentation of Europe are noteworthy. These two features appear in Ptolemy's Geographia..

Wald's Scotland Scotland has a strange hook in the northeast;
Ptolemy's Scotland



the heel of Italy's boot hangs in an odd manner.

Wald's Italy
Ptolemy's Italy


The southern point of Africa, which in reality is about 35 degrees south, is at 50 degrees south.

Wald's Africa

Waldseemüller adopted Ptolemy's estimate of the size of the earth, which was about a fifth smaller than its true size. Thus Africa extends further south, and the oceans are smaller.

Printed versions of Ptolemy’s world maps show the south part of Africa connected to southeast Asia, enclosing the Indian Ocean by land.

Ptolemy's Africa

In contrast, on his globe Waldseemüller depicted open water around Africa.

Young Navigator link

magnifying glassUnder the Magnifying Glass

The Globe

East 3 gores detail
Near East Detail
Far East Detail
Amercia detail

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