Map history is fertile interdisciplinary terrain. No longer the preserve of map historians presiding as custodian-interpreters of a simple mimetic truth, map history now involves historians, historians of art and of science, geographers, literary scholars, and, just as important, new forms of curatorial scholarship and responsibility. The purpose and interpretation of the large maps on display in one form or another between c.1450 and 1850 throughout Europe depended greatly upon the physical and social environments of their viewing. Insights from the history of the book and the history of science offer new possibilities for the continued interdisciplinary interrogation of these maps as visual and textual sources.

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