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Map of Mediterranean World Drawn by Medieval Cartographer is Acquired by Seminary

December 23, 1969
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

A map of the Mediterranean world that was created in 1500 by a Jewish cartographer has been acquired by the library of Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (Reform) here. The map, drawn by Judah Abenzara, is the only example in America of the school of medieval Jewish map-makers which reached its peak on the Balearic Island of Majorca in the 14th and 15th Centuries.

Abenzara’s only other surviving work, a nautical chart, is preserved in the Vatican Library in Rome. The map acquired by the Hebrew Union covers an area including Asia Minor, Syria, Israel and Egypt. The map was made while Abenzara resided in Alexandria, Egypt. Abenzara later migrated to Safed, in what is now Israel. His early background is uncertain although it is surmised that he came to Alexandria via Spain and Italy. The Italian language is used for the legends on the map.

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