ph: Kjeld Duits
Via Lady Lionheart
Slate presents an amazing, interactive digital version of Olaus Magnus’ 1539 Carta Marina, a chart that portrays the sea as teeming with monsters…
When the chart was made, in the early years of the Age of Exploration, there was a lingering belief in the existence of griffins, unicorns, dragons, the phoenix, the monstrous races, and a host of other unnatural creatures. Modern science was in its infancy. Although adherents to the direct observation of nature would soon challenge hearsay and tradition and begin to classify animal life, at the time the medieval imagination was still free to shape its own forms of the natural world. The chart’s giant lobster gripping a swimmer in its claws, a monster being mistaken for an island, and a mast-high serpent devouring sailors would have represented actual fears of the unknown deep.
Those and Olaus’ other fanciful sea beasts are not mere decorations to fill empty spaces. Nor are they only visual metaphors for dangers lurking in the sea. Intended as representations of actual marine life, they are identified in the map’s key.
Click through to Slate to explore the stories of each creature, and read more on the chart’s origins…
Via My Melancholy
"The mountain opened, and he went into a great enchanted castle, wherein chairs, tables, and benches were all hung with black. Then came three young princesses who were dressed entirely in black, but had a little white on their faces. They told him he was not to be afraid, they would not hurt him, and that he could rescue them. He said he would gladly do that, if he did but know how. At this, they told him he must for a whole year not speak to them and also not look at them, and what he wanted to have he wasjust to ask for, and if they dared give him an answer they would do so."
— excerpt from “The Three Black Princesses” by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm
dress: Atelier Boz
stole: h.Naoto GRAMM
pearl rosary necklace: Moss Märchen