Cosmography is the science that map
A map is a visual representation of an area—a symbolic depiction highlighting relationships between elements of that space such as objects, regions, and themes....

s the general features of the universe
The Universe is commonly defined as the totality of everything that exists, including all matter and energy, the planets, stars, galaxies, and the contents of intergalactic space. Definitions and usage vary and similar terms include the cosmos, the world and nature...

, describing both heaven
Heaven, the Heavens or Seven Heavens, is a common religious cosmological or metaphysical term for the physical or transcendent place from which heavenly beings originate, are enthroned or inhabit...

 and Earth
Earth is the third planet from the Sun, and the densest and fifth-largest of the eight planets in the Solar System. It is also the largest of the Solar System's four terrestrial planets...

 (but without encroaching on geography
Geography is the science that studies the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of Earth. A literal translation would be "to describe or write about the Earth". The first person to use the word "geography" was Eratosthenes...

 or astronomy
Astronomy is a natural science that deals with the study of celestial objects and phenomena that originate outside the atmosphere of Earth...

). The 14th century work'Aja'ib al-makhluqat wa-ghara'ib al-mawjudat
'Aja'ib al-makhluqat wa-ghara'ib al-mawjudat
ʿAjā'ib al-makhlūqāt wa gharā'ib al-mawjūdāt is an important work of cosmography by Zakariya ibn Muhammad ibn Mahmud Abu Yahya al-Qazwini who was born in Qazwin year 600 /1203.-Background to the work:...

 by Persian
Persian people
The Persian people are part of the Iranian peoples who speak the modern Persian language and closely akin Iranian dialects and languages. The origin of the ethnic Iranian/Persian peoples are traced to the Ancient Iranian peoples, who were part of the ancient Indo-Iranians and themselves part of...

 physician Zakariya al-Qazwini
Zakariya al-Qazwini
Abu Yahya Zakariya' ibn Muhammad al-Qazwini , was a Persian physician, astronomer, geographer and proto-science fiction writer....

 is considered to be an early work of cosmography.

Traditional Hindu, Buddhist and Jain cosmography schematize a universe centered on Mount Meru surrounded by rivers, continents and seas. These cosmographies posit a universe being repeatedly created and destroyed over time cycles of immense lengths.

In 1551, Martín Cortés de Albacar
Martín Cortés de Albacar
Martín Cortés de Albacar was a Spanish cosmographer. In 1551 he published the standard navigitional textbook Arte de navigar Cortés was born in Bujaraloz, province of Zaragoza, Aragon...

, from Zaragoza, Spain, published Breve compendio de la esfera y del arte de navegar. Translated into English and reprinted several times,the work was of great influence in Britain for many years. He proposed spherical charts and mentioned magnetic deviation and the existence of magnetic poles.

Peter Heylyn's 1652 book "Cosmographie" (enlarged from his "Microcosmos" of 1621) was one of the earliest attempts to describe the entire world in English, and being the first known description of Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

 and among the first of California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

. The book has 4 sections, examining the geography, politics, and cultures of Europe, Asia, Africa, and America, with an addendum on Terra Incognita
Terra incognita
Terra incognita or terra ignota is a term used in cartography for regions that have not been mapped or documented. The expression is believed to be first seen in Ptolemy’s Geography circa 150 CE...

, including Australia, and extending to Utopia
Utopia is an ideal community or society possessing a perfect socio-politico-legal system. The word was imported from Greek by Sir Thomas More for his 1516 book Utopia, describing a fictional island in the Atlantic Ocean. The term has been used to describe both intentional communities that attempt...

, Fairyland
Fairyland commonly refers to the land of fairies, in folklore.Fairyland may also refer to:* Álfheimr, the abode of the elves in Norse mythology* Elfhame or Elfland, the abode of the elves in English and Lowland Scottish folklore...

, and the "Land of Chivalrie
Chivalry is a term related to the medieval institution of knighthood which has an aristocratic military origin of individual training and service to others. Chivalry was also the term used to refer to a group of mounted men-at-arms as well as to martial valour...


In 1659, Thomas Porter
Thomas Porter
Thomas Porter is an American physician and cardiologist. He is the Theodore F. Hubbard Distinguished Chair of Cardiology and professor of Medicine at the University of Nebraska . The Section Chief is the highest ranking cardiologist but Dr...

 published a smaller, but extensive "Compendious Description of the Whole World", which also included a Chronology
Chronology is the science of arranging events in their order of occurrence in time, such as the use of a timeline or sequence of events. It is also "the determination of the actual temporal sequence of past events".Chronology is part of periodization...

 of world events from Creation forward. These were all part of a major trend in the European Renaissance to explore (and perhaps comprehend) the known world.

The word was also commonly used by Buckminster Fuller
Buckminster Fuller
Richard Buckminster “Bucky” Fuller was an American systems theorist, author, designer, inventor, futurist and second president of Mensa International, the high IQ society....

 in his lectures.

In astrophysics
Astrophysics is the branch of astronomy that deals with the physics of the universe, including the physical properties of celestial objects, as well as their interactions and behavior...

, the term "cosmography" is beginning to be used to describe attempts to determine the large-scale geometry
Shape of the Universe
The shape of the universe is a matter of debate in physical cosmology over the local and global geometry of the universe which considers both curvature and topology, though, strictly speaking, it goes beyond both...

 and kinematics
Kinematics is the branch of classical mechanics that describes the motion of bodies and systems without consideration of the forces that cause the motion....

 of the observable universe
The Universe is commonly defined as the totality of everything that exists, including all matter and energy, the planets, stars, galaxies, and the contents of intergalactic space. Definitions and usage vary and similar terms include the cosmos, the world and nature...

, independent of any specific cosmological theory or model
Physical cosmology
Physical cosmology, as a branch of astronomy, is the study of the largest-scale structures and dynamics of the universe and is concerned with fundamental questions about its formation and evolution. For most of human history, it was a branch of metaphysics and religion...


See also

  • Star cartography
    Star cartography
    Celestial cartography, uranography or star cartography, is the fringe of astronomy and branch of cartography concerned with mapping stars, galaxies, and other astronomical objects on the celestial sphere...

  • Cosmographia
  • Johann Bayer
    Johann Bayer
    Johann Bayer was a German lawyer and uranographer . He was born in Rain, Bavaria, in 1572. He began his study of philosophy in Ingolstadt in 1592, and moved later to Augsburg to begin work as a lawyer. He grew interested in astronomy during his time in Augsburg...

  • Julius Schiller
    Julius Schiller
    Julius Schiller was a lawyer from Augsburg, Germany, who like his fellow citizen and colleague Johann Bayer published a star atlas in celestial cartography....

  • Andreas Cellarius
    Andreas Cellarius
    Andreas Cellarius was a Dutch-German cartographer, best known for his Harmonia Macrocosmica of 1660, a major star atlas, published by Johannes Janssonius in Amsterdam....

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