Pictures and Words: Allegorical and Persuasive Cartography

  • Jelena Mrgić Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade
historical cartography, real and imaginary space, icono-texts, allegories, Folly, vanity, melancholy, literature


This paper aims to present a novel approach to map analysis, treating all ‘map-like’ drawings as icono-texts, according to premises postulated in modern cartographical theory by Brian Harley and his successors in this field. It is not just ‘deconstructing’ which takes place, but further interpretations are stimulated by probing questions not only of authorship (often unknown), but also of the social, cultural, and religious environment. Making an allegorical map and text was a difficult task, an intellectual endeavor, which demanded that the author carefully choose the symbols that would outlive the material. In this paper, the Fool’s Cap Map of the World is presented as an example of icono-textual analysis, by bringing together the most popular literary works and their illustrations – Erasmus Desiderius, Sebastian Brandt, and Hieronymus Bosch. The double masks of the author – the pseudonym “Epichtonius Cosmopolites”, with its denunciation of nationality, and the jester’s costume, were chosen as the means of conveying unpleasant truths about the state of the world, France, and/or the Netherlands. Human hybris, Suberbia and Vanitas were the primal sins, by which they were all blinded, waging wars for pieces of land and worldly goods. Therefore, the fool’s malade is melancholy, strictly reserved for male intellectuals – Ficino, Dürer, Shakespeare, Bright and Burton. On the other hand, it would seem as if the female primal sin were vanity, which brings the puritan Bunyan and Anglican Thackeray into this polyphonic interpretation. Their works did, however, show that’'vanitas’ is present among both genders and is an everlasting human trait, now heavily exploited as a ’cash crop’ par excellence. Since all knowlegde is situated, I feel the need to say that I am finishing this paper in self-quarantine due to the ’new plague’ pandemic, wondering if the people in this mad and greedy world would contemplate how all is nothing, and whether the survivors would be better, i.e. more human, acting with more empathy, regardless of the perpetually announced Apocalypse. This remains to be witnessed.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

Jelena Mrgić, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade
Department of History


Anon. ca. 1590. O caput elleboro dignum [Monde dans une tête de fou], u Nacionalnoj biblioteci Francuske, italijanska radionica - (6. juli 2018); (6. juli 2018).

Anon. ca. 1590. Fool’s Cap Map of the World, Bodeleian Library, dostupno na: (6. juli 2018); druga varijanta: Royal Museum Greenwich, dostupno na: (7. juli 2018).

Aronofsky, Darren. 2018. Director of “One strange rock”. National Geography channel, Season 1, Ep. 1–10.

Aspinall, Dana E. 1998. “Richard Tarlton (?-1588) and Robert Armin (o.1568–1615)”. In Fools and Jesters in Literature, Art, and History – A Bio-Bibliographical Sourcebook, edited by Vicki K. Janik, 41–49. Wesport/London: Greenwood Press.

Berryman, Sylvia. 2016. “Democritus”. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2016 Edition), edited by Edward N. Zalta. (7. juli 2018).

Bosch, Hieronymus, Ship of Fools, dostupno na:

Brandt, Sebastian. Das Narrenschiff. 1494. Digitalized edition of 1872, edited by Karl Goedeke, digital at: Originalni nemački text dostupan kao izdanje iz 1964. godine, priredio Hans-Joachim Mähl, na: Project Gutenberg, Spiegel online: Engleski prepev Barklija, na osnovu izdanja iz 1874, dostupan na: Project Gutenberg,; kao i na: .
Francusko izdanje iz 1499-1500, dostupno na:

Bright, Timothy. 1586. A Treatise of Melancholie. Containing the causes thereof ... with the phisicke cure, and spirituall consolation for such as haue thereto adioyned an afflicted conscience. London. Dostupno na:

Brusati, Celeste. 1990-1991. “Stilled Lives: Self-Portraiture and Self-Reflection in Seventeenth-Century NetherlandishStill-Life Painting”. Simiolus: Netherlands Quarterly for the History of Art 20, 2-3: 168-182.

Bunyan, John. (1678) 1910. The Pilgrim’s Progress. Dent: London. Dostupno na:
Bunyan, John. 1821. A Plan of the Road From the City of Destruction to the Celestial City, Adapted to The Pilgrim's Progress, dostupno na:,_The_Road_From_the_City_of_Destruction_to_the_Celestial_City_1821_Cornell_CUL_PJM_1038_01.jpg

Bunyan, John. 1850. A Plan of the Road from the City of Destruction to the Celestial City. Engraved expressly for Virtue's, Elegant Edition of The Pilgrim's Progress, dostupno na:

Burke, Peter. 1978. Popular culture in Early Modern Europe. Harper & Row Publishers.

Burke, Peter. 1991. Junaci, nitkovi i lude – Narodna kultura predindustrijske Evrope. Preveli B. Auguštin i D. Rihtman-Auguštin. Zagreb: Školska knjiga.

Burke, Peter and R. Po-Chia Hsia (eds.). 2007. Cultural Translation in Early Modern Europe. Cambridge University Press.

Burton, Robert. 1621. The Anatomy of Melancholy, or What it is With All the Kinds, Causes, Symptoms, Prognostics, and Several Cures of It. In Three Partitions... By Democritus Junior, digitalno izdanje dostupno na sajtu projekta Gutenberg: .

Celenza, Christopher S. 2017. “Marsilio Ficino”. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2017 Edition), edited by Edward N. Zalta. (pristupljeno: 8. april 2020).

Caquard, Sébastien and William Cartwright. 2014. “Narrative Cartography: From Mapping Stories to the Narrative of Maps and Mapping”. The Cartographic Journal No. 51-2, 101-106, DOI: 10.1179/0008704114Z.000000000130.

Collé-Bak, Nathalie. 2010. “Spreading the Written Word through Images: The Circulation of The Pilgrim’s Progress via its Illustrations”. XVII-XVIII. Revue de la société d'études anglo-américaines des XVIIe et XVIIIe siècles. Diffusion de l’écritdans le monde anglophone. Spreading the Written Word in the English-Speaking World, 223-246; .

Cornelis de Baellieur. ca. 1635-40. Picture gallery, dostupno na:,_the_Elder,_c._1635-40.jpg

Cosgrove, Denis. 2008. “Cultural cartography: maps and mapping in cultural geography”. Annales de géographie 2-3 (660-661): 159-178.

Crampton, Jeremy W. 2001. „Maps as Social Constructions: Power, Communication and Visualization“. Progress in Human Geography 25 : 235–252.

Dodds, Frederic. 2020. „’Joker’ proves the power of empathy“. Variety 346 (25): 68-69.

Dooley, D. J. 1971. “Thackeray's Use of Vanity Fair”. Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900, Vol. 11–4, Nineteenth Century: 701-713.

Đorđević-Stojković, Bojana i Jelena Mrgić. 2011. “Marriage and Madness – A Case Study from mid-nineteenth century Belgrade”. The South Slav Journal 30 (3-4): 28-44.

Eckel, Julia, Jens Ruchatz and Sabine Wirth (eds.). 2018. Exploring the Selfie: Historical, Theoretical, and Analytical Approaches to Digital Self-Photography. Palgrave MacMillan Press.

Ehrlich, David. 2019. “‘Joker’ Review: For Better of Worse, Superhero Movies Will Never Be the Same”. Indiewire, August 31, 2019 – (pristupljeno: 17.03.2020).

Erazmo Roterdamski. 2016. Pohvala ludosti, prev. V. Korać. Beograd: Industrija knjiga.
Latinski tekst: Erasmus Desiderius, Morias enkomion, sive, Stultitiae laus, Basiliae-Bazel 1780, opremljeno sa 83 ilustracije koje je Hans Holbajn Mlađi (1497–1543) uradio na marginama izdanja iz 1515. godine =

Ettin, Andrew Vogel. 1998. “Will Sommer (?-1560)”. In Fools and Jesters in Literature, Art, and History – A Bio-Bibliographical Sourcebook, edited by Vicki K. Janik, 406–410. Wesport/London: Greenwood Press.
London: Routledge.

Graham, Daniel W. 2015. “Heraclitus”. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2015 Edition), edited by Edward N. Zalta. (7. juli 2018).

Grevs, Robert. 1991. Grčki mitovi. Prevela G. Mitrinović-Omčikus. Beograd: Nolit.

Grubb, Br. Hyacinth, O.P. 2016. Burning our Vanities with Savonarola, May 1, 2016.

Harley, John Brian (ed.). 2001. The new nature of maps. The John Hopkins University Press.

Harley, John Brian. 1989. “Deconstructing the Map”. Cartographica 26 (2): 1-20.

Harley, John Brian. 1992. “Rereading the Maps of the Columbian Encounter”. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 83 (3): 522-542.

Haubenreich, Jacob. 2016. “The press, the mirror, and the window: the intermedial construction of the reader in Sebastian Brant’s Ship of Fools”. Word & Image 32 (4): 375–392.

Hofmann, Catherine. 2007. “Publishing and the Map Trade in France 1470–1670”. In History of Cartography vol. 3-II, 1569–1588. Chicago University Press.

Hogenberg, Frans. ca. 1560-70. Stultorum Chorea / Narrendans. Original u Rijksmuzeju, dostupno na:,34 (pristupljeno: 18. mart 2020).

Jodorowsky, Alejandro and Marianne Costa. 2004. The Way of Tarot – The Spiritual Teacher in the Cards. Translated by Jon E. Graham, Destiny Books.

Kalvino, Italo. 1989. Američka predavanja. Prevod J. Tešanović. Beograd.

Klapp, Orrin E. 1949. „The Fool As a Social Type“. The American Journal of Sociology 55 (2): 157–162.

Klapp, Orrin E. 1954. “Heroes, Villains and Fools, as Agents of Social Control”. American Sociological Review 19 (1): 56–62.

Kleingeld, Pauline and Eric Brown. 2014. “Cosmopolitanism”. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2014 Edition), edited by Edward N. Zalta. (7. juli 2018).

Klibansky, Raymond, Erwin Panofsky and Fritz Saxy. 1979. Saturn and Melancholy – Studies in the History of Natural Philosophy, Religion and Art, first published in 1964. Kraus Reprint – Nendeln.

Lackey, Douglas P. 2005. “Goitto in Padua: A New Geography of the Human Soul”. The Journal of Ethics 9: 551–572; fotografije fresaka dostupne na stranici: Web Gallery of Art,

Matthews, Roy T. and Peter Mellini. 1982. In "Vanity Fair". University of California Press.

Medić, Milena. 2017. “From Pain to Pleasure: The Troping of Elegy in the Renaissance Italian Madrigal”.
Muzikologija/Musicology 22: 151–175.

Mills. William James. 2003. Exploring polar frontiers – a historical encyclopedia. ABC Clio.

Mitrović, Andrej. 2012. Vreme netrpeljivih - politička istorija velikih država Evrope 1919-1939. Beograd: Zavod za udžbenike.

Mode, PJ. 2017. “Not Maps at All” – What Is Persuasive Cartography? And Why Does It Matter?” The Portolan 100: 8–26.

Molinari, Čezare. 1982. Istorija pozorišta. Prevod J. Stojanović. Beograd: Vuk Karadžić.

Moses, Peaslee, Robert and Robert G. Weiner (eds.). 2015. The Joker: a serious study of The Clown Prince of Crime. The University Press of Mississippi – Jackson.

Neely, Carol Thomas. 1991. “"Documents in Madness": Reading Madness and Gender in Shakespeare's Tragedies and Early Modern Culture”. Shakespeare Quarterly 42: 315-338.

Ortelius, Abraham. 1570. Teatrum Orbis Terrarum, Antwerp. Digitalizovano izdanje na sajtu Kongresne biblioteke u Vašingtonu. juli 2018).

Peeters, Clara. ca. 1618. Vanitas painting. Dostupno na:,_selfportrait_most_probably_Clara_Peeters.jpg

Pliny. 1938. Natural History, Volume I: Books 1-2. Translated by H. Rackham. Loeb Classical Library 330. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Publii Ovidii, Nasonis. Opera omnia, Volume 6, ex recensione Petri Burmanni, Augustae Taurinorum – Torino 1823, str. 427–431. Komentar o Antikiri sa daljom literaturom iz pera prevodioca A. Kilne, na: (4. juli 2018).

Publija Ovidija Nasona. 1991. Metamorfoze, XI. Prevod T. Maretić. Reprint. Beograd.

Senft, Theresa M. and Nancy K. Baym. 2015. “What Does the Selfie Say? Investigating a Global Phenomenon”. International Journal of Communication 9: 1588–1606. dostupno na:

Simonović, Dragutin. 1959. Botanički rečnik. Beograd: SANU.

Sodža, Edvard V. 2013. Postmoderne geografije – rearfirmacija prostora u kritičkoj socijalnoj teoriji. Prevod R. Mastilović. Beograd: Centar za medije i komunikaciju FMK.

Stoetzler, Marcel and Nira Yuval-Davis. 2002. “Standpoint theory, situated knowledge and the situated imagination“. Feminist Theory 3: 315–333.

Thackeray, William Makepeace. 1848. Vanity Fair – A Novel without a Hero, Bradburry & Evans: London.– Dostupno na:

Trifunović, Vesna. 2007a. “Socijalni tipovi heroja, nitkova i lude u teoriji Orina Klapa”. Etnoantropološki problemi 2 (1): 110–136.

Trifunović, Vesna. 2007b. “Formiranje socijalnih tipova u teoriji Orina Klapa”. Glasnik Etnografskog instituta SANU LIV: 125–139.

Tyner, Judith A. 2015. “Pursuasive Cartography”. In Cartography in the Twentieth Century, edited by Mark S. Monmonier, 1087–1095. The History of Cartography vol. 6 (HOC 6). Chicago: University of Chicago Press,
van Oostsanen, Jacob Cornelisz. Laughing Fool, dostupno na:

Vanity Fair (UK magazine), digitalizovane karikature iz perioda 1869–1913, dostupne na:

Wilde, Oscar, Caricature from the Vanity Fair magazine, no. 812, April 1884, dostupno na:,_April_1884..jpg .

White, C. Todd. 1998. “The Anthropology of Fools”. In Fools and Jesters in Literature, Art, and History – A Bio-Bibliographical Sourcebook, edited by Vicki K. Janik, 33–40. Wesport/London: Greenwood Press.

Zweig, Stefan. 1934. Triumph und Tragik des Erasmus von Rotterdam. Digitalizovano izdanje na: .

Žikić, Bojan. 2015. “What Makes People Good or Bad? (Mis)Anthropological Essay on Searching for Social/Cultural Reasons on Judging the Other People”. Issues in Ethnology and Anthropology 10 (4): 927–943.

Žikić, Bojan. 2016. “Why Do We Need Misanthropology in Anthropology? An Exploratory Essay in Deliberating the Research Subfield”. Issues in Ethnology and Anthropology 11-4: 967–988.

Žikić, Bojan. 2017. “Pesimistički prikaz prirode ljudskog postojanja u filmu “Zapadni svet”: naknadno mizantropološko tumačenje”. Etnoantropološki problemi 12 (2): 415-435.
How to Cite
Mrgić, Jelena. 2020. “Pictures and Words: Allegorical and Persuasive Cartography”. Issues in Ethnology and Anthropology 15 (2), 373–399.