World Map of the Beatus of Liébana (Part II)

World Map of the Beatus of Liébana (Part II)
World Map of the Beatus of Liébana (Part II)

As we pointed out in the previous entry, the Beatus of Liébana was an influential man in medieval art, so it does not seem strange to note that his works have enjoyed great representation and were copied on numerous occasions. In the representation of the world map we can analyze in detail each one of the continents with the symbols that identify them.


Thus we can see how at the end of the Asian continent the author has installed the well-known Garden of Eden,it is precisely in this garden where we find the entrance protected by an angel armed with a sword of fire. Already inside we find the source from which the four most significant rivers of Christianity flow: Tigris, Pisón, Euphrates and the Guijón; as well as the Tree of Life from where Eva took the forbidden apple. Also in Así, but at the opposite end of the garden, the author represents India with exotic animals such as rhinoceroses and a multitude of precious stones. Also in the islands that surround the country such as Celián, Tyle or Chrysa we find large reserves of precious stones and valuable minerals such as gold or silver.

Between the Tigris and the Indus, the Blessed of Liébana places Parthia, which is divided into five regions: Aracusia, where the Parthian warriors came from, Assyria, where the color purple was invented and which was famous for its essences and perfumes,Nineveh the home of the Aririans, Persia the home of King Cyrus and finally Media which was divided into the regions of Media Less and Media Mayor.

Following ancient tradition Mesopotamia is between the Tigris and Euphrates; In it, the cities of Chaldea and Babylon stand out. The area of ​​Arabia was a rich place where the lands were fertile and where the Phoenix Bird came from, whose resurrection was linked to the resurrection of the Messiah. But the world map recreated by Beato de Liébana also pays attention to western territories, recreating, for example, the route of the Camino de Santiago, the Tower of Hercules or the Roman empire.

The world map we are analyzing here is one of those known as T in O maps, also called Orbis Terrarun. In these pieces the O represents the spherical conception of the world while the T are the masses of water that divide the earth. This type of map was very common in the Middle Ages, although it should be noted that most scholars of the time already knew of the spherical conception of the Earth and not a flat one as it is represented in this type of map.

In the Modern Age and especially after the discovery of the American continent, these types of maps fell into disuse since they did not make it possible to incorporate the newly discovered lands.

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