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December 3 – Sea Monsters

Sea serpents from Münster’s Cosmographia universalis (the 1550 Basel edition).

Unable to pick just one of the fantastic beasts shown in this woodcut illustration, we decided to share them all! This chart of sea serpents and monsters is from Münster’s Cosmographia universalis (the 1550 Basel edition). Sebastian Münster (1488-1552) was a German cartographer, cosmographer, and professor of Hebrew. His Cosmographia was first published in 1544 and was so popular it was issued in numerous editions and translated into five languages.

The top quarter of the image illustrates land-based fauna, including a reindeer in the top left corner. Very similar representations of some of these marine creatures appear in other contemporary texts. Look out for the Kraken later in the series.

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