Europa regina

“Europa regina” which means “Queen of Europe” is cartographic or, in other words, map-like depiction of European continent as a queen. Europa regina, which is also known as the Putsch-map, originated and became popular during the mannerist period. Mannerism is a style of European art which emerged around 1520 in Italy.

Europa regina is considered to be a young and graceful woman. Europa regina is literally made of different parts of European continent – Iberial Peninsula forms her head, the Holy Roman Empire forms the upper body, Italy and Denmark form her arms which hold a sceptre, but other regions of European continent – Hungary, Poland, Lithuania, Livonia, Bulgaria, Muscovy, Albania and Greece – form her gown. Her crown which is shaped after the Carolingian hoop crown is placed on the Iberian Peninsula, Bohemia is her heart, but globus cruciger in her hand is Sicily. Territories as Scandinavia, Asia and Africa are partially shown.

Her crown is placed on the Iberian Pninsula, because in 1537 Holy Roman Emperor Charles V united lands of Habsburg, including Spain, therefore, the map is oriented westwards and Spain is the crowned head, showing Habsburg’s claim to be emperors of Europe. Carolingian crown, sceptre and orb are the most typical insignias of Holy Roman Empire. Gown of Europa regina resembles the contemporary dress code at the Habsburg court, but the face of Europa regina resembles Charles V’s wife Isabella. There is no doubt that Europa regina is created according to situation in the Holy Roman Empire.

Of course, there are other assumptions as well. More general Europa regina is considered to be the “res publica christiana”, the united Christendom in medieval tradition, as well as dominant power in the world. Europa regina is also seen as the paradise because of its special placement of water bodies – seas and rivers.

Europa regina is considered to be the first map which depicts Europe in this manner, namely, which depicts Europe as an Europa regina. This map is made by cartographer Johannes Bucius Aenicola (Putsch) in 1537, at the beginning of the Early Modern Age, but the origination and initial perception of this map is still uncertain.The modern term “Europa regina” was not used by Putsch’s contemporaries – they used the Latin phrase “Europa in forma virginis” instead which means “Europe in the shape of a maiden”. This map was first printed by Calvinist Christian Wechel. In 1587 Jan Bußemaker published Matthias Quad’s copper engraving which was an adaption of Putsch’s Europa regina, but it was called “Europae descriptio”. Later there were several other adaptions of Europa regina as well, but the year 1587 marks the point when a lot of that time publications began adopting the Europa regina.