Hugh of St Victor (1096–1141) and Anglo-French Cartography

Publication Date

January 2013


The post-print of this article will be available in December 2014, in accordance with Taylor & Francis publisher policies.


Recent research in England and France on twelfth- and thirteenth-century cartography posits Hugh of St Victor as an important source for ideas incorporated in maps of the period. P. D. A. Harvey and Patrick Gautier Dalché have noted Hugh’s influence, and Peter Barber has described a ‘third-stream’ of map making flowing from Hugh’s concepts of mapping through the Munich Isidore map (c.1130) and into a group of important Anglo-French mappaemundi. This article shows how Hugh’s theography—his theological cartography—reached England from the Royal Abbey and School of St Victor in Paris. To do this I outline Hugh’s image-based teaching and major theographical works, and then set out which English monastic libraries had copies of books with mappaemundi by Hugh and/or of Peter Comestor’s Hugonian Historia scholastica. I then map the presence of Victorine canons in English religious institutions as well as the communications between a selection of these institutions and St Victor, focusing on the role Hugh’s disciple, Lawrence of Westminster, played in disseminating Hugh’s ideas at priories and abbeys with world maps. Finally I offer a conjectural cartogenealogy tying these institutions and their maps to St Victor and Hugh’s wall map.


Geography | Medieval Studies | Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion

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