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At the heart of the maps

  • Description
  2019  HD 16/9  Color  Sound

The French national library BnF (Bibliothèque Nationale de France) and CNRS Images present "At the heart of maps", a series of fourteen short documentary films on nautical maps, also called portolans.

The Bnf holds such rare and little-known documents drawn by hand and dating from the 13th to 17th centuries in its collections. All these, from the oldest known portolan chart - the Pisana Carta - to the Dutch maps of the 17th century, through the sumptuous Miller Atlas, with their wind lines, place names, distance scales, but also coats of arms, real or mythical cities, spices and other exotic riches which are calls of wide horizons and for travel.
These series deciphers every detail and reveals how Europeans viewed the world. It shows the dual role of these maps which were essential for naval mastery and for the dissemination of exploration results in the Age of Discovery.

Author : HOFMANN Catherine (Bibliothèque nationale de France) VAGNON Emmanuelle
Director : FERLITA Céline (CLT, UPS CNRS, Villejuif) GUILLEMAIN Franck (CLT, UPS CNRS, Villejuif)
NotesBnF : Bibliothèque nationale de France
CLT : Cultures, Langues, Textes
LAMOP : Laboratoire de Médiévistique Occidentale de Paris (INSHS)


Only available for non-commercial distribution


Geography ; History


Human geography ; History


Sea and ocean ; Asia ; Africa ; Europe ; America

Technical Sheet
Item No.6859
PublicLarge audience
Original SupportHD
Delivery supportDigitalised File