The Northern Isles and Scotland in the Anglo Saxon mappa mundi with Dr Oisín Plumb

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eleventh century English tome charting the wonders of the world
Reproduced by permission of The British Library

The Anglo Saxon mappa mundi is a fascinating map within a fascinating manuscript- an eleventh century English tome charting the wonders of the world which has been described as a ‘book of elsewhere’. The map itself is notable for a depiction of Britain and Ireland which is at first glance strikingly similar to one we would recognise today. However, a closer look reveals that all is not a simple as it seems. An enormous Orcades dwarfs Scotland, and in part seems to be drawn on top of it. There are strange omissions from the annotations within Britain, and some of them seem to be in the wrong place. This talk will take a close look at the map and the manuscript it appears in. Why was the map created in this way and what was its creator trying to say about the northern world?

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