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Displaying the known world of the early 17th century as a triptych, with the map divided into three segments or gores, was very uncommon during the Golden Age of Dutch cartography. However, such a format was commonly used in altarpieces and would have been familiar to a Christian audience. Dividing the world into three parts was also reminiscent of the world diagrams drawn in the Medieval Christian tradition, especially Heinrich Bünting's cloverleaf map. In the latter diagram, each of the three leaves (or gores) represented one of the known continents - Europe, Africa, and Asia.
In Verhaer's map, only the central section focused on this Old World view of the lands bordering the Mediterranean Sea - Europe, Africa, and western Asia. Interestingly, the central focal point of this segment was still the eastern Mediterranean and by implication, Jerusalem reflecting the influence of the Medieval Christian world diagrams. The left section displayed the European discoveries to the west (Novus Occidens) - the Atlantic Ocean and the Americas. Meanwhile, the right sphere depicts the European discoveries to the east (Novus Oriens) - the Far East, the East Indies, and the Pacific Ocean. While this three-part projection reduced the amount of distortion for the respective geographic areas, it was also a logical presentation of classical and medieval geographical tradition in the context of the new geographical knowledge gleaned from Europeans' 15th- and 16th-century explorations.
The map's author was a theologian and classical historian living in Antwerp. His other works included several small globes and maps of a historical-religious nature. The basic layout of this map on three pointed segments suggests globe gores. His classical and religious interests can be seen in numerous aspects of the map. There is an inset map in the lower eastern section depicting the 2nd-century A.D. world view of Claudius Ptolemy. A small inset at the bottom center provided a legend for the map, explaining symbols which identify religious habitations (a cross for Christian regions, a crescent for Islam, and a slanted arrow for barbarians). In addition, the inset views in the top corners and along the lower margin portray biblical themes, including the flood and Noah's ark on the lower right. Some scholars have suggested that this relatively rare map may have been prepared as an illustration for a Bible or similar tome.
The physical item is not available at the Boston Public Library.