November 28, 2004

A Map of Schlaraffenland

In the latest issue of FMR magazine, there is an article by Giorgio Mangani on ‘Cartographic Oddities’. The aberrant maps discussed in the piece are of the same kinds as in this list of curiosities held by the Yale University Library. Rather unreasonably, I found myself faintly disappointed; wishing that the oddities had been odder still, and the curiosities even curiouser. One of the illustrations in the magazine caught my eye, however, a map of Schlaraffenland.

Detail of the Cartouche on Homann's 'Schlaraffenland' map.

Schlaraffenland was a utopian country, a Land of Cockaigne, originally described in a satire by one Johann Andreas Schnebelin (d. 1706). It is a place where ‘chickens, geese, and pigeons fly around already cooked and waiting to be eaten, and every house is surrounded by a hedge of sausage’. A number of maps of this country were apparently produced between 1700 and 1750. The one pictured here was published by Johann Baptist Homann in Nuremburg in 1716.

Detail of Schlaraffenland proper from Homann's map.


Detail of Bibonia, land of Booze, from Homann's 'Schlaraffenland' map.

Besides Schlaraffenland proper, shown in the first of the two images above, the map depicts other countries on the same imaginary continent, including Mammonia; a Republic of Veneria; Bibonia, land of Booze; and a Great Empire of the Stomach, Magni Stomachi Imperium. All the common vices have their place: there is even an Island of Tobacco. To the east and west of these lands are, respectively, the Kingdoms of Youth and of Old Age. To the North there is Terra Sancta Incognita, the ‘unknown country of the pious’, while a hotter region lies to the south….

Homann's 1716 map of Schlaraffia in full.

Click on the images above to see them enlarged.

Posted by misteraitch at November 28, 2004 09:38 AM | TrackBack

Neblogas puslapelis :)

Posted by: As on November 28, 2004 10:50 AM

Hi there! First of all: Great weblog. Just found it recently and enjoyed looking around a bit for quite a while.

Here's just a little hint by someone from Germany: It's called "Schlaraffenland" and not "Schlaraffenlande". I guess you got the second term from the first picture, where it is written in genitive case ("Schlaraffenlandes"), but the "s" in the end is not quite visible. But the nominative cause is "Schlaraffenland". (gosh, I sound like a teacher, don't I? :-D )

But, then, of course, it's not a big deal, just wanted to let you know, 'cause maybe it might interest you. :)

Keep up the great work here in your blog and have a good time,

Posted by: Thomas on November 29, 2004 07:19 PM

Thanks Thomas for your kind words about the site, and for patiently pointing out my mistake, which I have now corrected.

Posted by: misteraitch on November 30, 2004 08:59 AM

They know all about Schlaraffenland in Germany (see above).

There's a fabulous painting of Life in Schlaraffenland in the Alte Pinakothek Museum in Munich. It's by no less an artist than Breughel. Maybe you'd like to post it too?

Thanks for displaying all these marvelous and colorful things here, strangely mixed yet intimately related.

Your site is a bit dreamlike....


Posted by: Ron Sabaroff on December 6, 2004 09:15 AM

Many thanks, Ron: actually, I did have Brueghel’s painting in mind when writing this, and included a link to it (hidden behind the text ‘Land of Cockaigne’).

Posted by: misteraitch on December 6, 2004 11:50 AM

... looks a bit like Sweden.

Posted by: Loxias on March 23, 2005 07:37 AM
Comments are now closed