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Previously Unknown Armillary Broadsheet With Illustrations of the Signs of the Zodiac

Seemingly unknown, this educational broadsheet was published by Pierre Moullart-Sanson in 1723.

Meant to communicate a wealth of geographic information quickly and clearly, the broadsheet shows the world split into two armillary hemispheres. Each is dissected by lines denoting climate zones (frigid, temperate, torrid), divisions of latitude and longitude, and the ecliptic, or the path of the sun as viewed from earth, with corresponding zodiac signs.

These central, packed hemispheres are accompanied by other diagrams below. At center is a 32-direction wind rose. On either side the constellations of the zodiac are repeated, with an explanation of their relationship with the ecliptic at top and bottom.  

Moullart-Sanson was the grandson of the famed geographer Nicolas Sanson and the uncle of Gilles Robert de Vaugondy, who would also become a well-known mapmaker. In the early-eighteenth century, Moullart-Sanson published a series of hemispheres meant to teach various geographic concepts. These were separately published, as this example appears to have been, but some were also included in his atlases, like Introduction à la géographie en plusieurs cartes avec leur explication (1705, 1707).


The map is apparently unrecorded.