Project Title: Hereford Mappa Mundi as Guide to Salvation
Student: Sarah Thomas
Mentor: Dr. Ellen Arnold
This presentation will be on my senior capstone project that was completed in December 2014 for the Ancient, Medieval, and Renaissance Studies Program. I worked extensively with the facsimile of the Hereford World Map through the Special Collections and Rare Books at Beeghly Library. The Library recently acquired a full-scale, colored facsimile of the 1300 C.E. medieval map with complimentary texts and identification of scenes and captions on the map. The map was produced on a pentagonal sheet of vellum 5'2" from top to bottom by 4'4" across and contains 1,000 inscriptions. I was excited to work with this map because it gave me the opportunity to do hands-on research and connect my passions in medieval history, literature, and art.
Many scholars and academic studies have focused on the images within the world map such as the Tower of Babel, the Mediterranean Sea, and bustling cities of Europe, but I have focused on the three main images depicted on the frame, outside the boundaries of the known world. My presentation will emphasize looking at the map through the literary device of a frame story. The perimeter scenes act like a frame or foundation for what is on the map and the images within the world can be explained only through this frame. A well-known work that utilizes a frame story is The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer. When looking at the map in this manner, it becomes a guide to determine one’s fate in the Last Judgment.