A rare example of the Rudimentum Novitiorum, a chronicle of the world printed in 1475, containing the Europe’s first printed map of the world, has been acquired by the James Ford Bell Trust for the benefit of the James Ford Bell Library at the University of Minnesota.
“The Rudimentum Novitiorum is one of the rarest and most significant pieces we have,” said Dr. Ford W. Bell, trustee and the grandson of James Ford Bell, who was the founder of General Mills. “We are thrilled to have acquired it and are looking forward to sharing it.”
Among the Rudimentum’s thick 18-by-12-inch folio pages and some 150 pictorial woodcuts, the most important are those that contain what are said to be the first printed maps. The maps incorporate Biblical history and mythology, including the Garden of Eden and the Pillars of Hercules, suggesting that they were not intended to be literal, but rather broad teaching aids for new learners. The first is a map of the world in a circular form, with a hill representing each country. The second is a more familiar-looking map of the Holy Land, which features Jerusalem at its core and the Red Sea to the south.
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