“Chaos,” from Olaus Magnus. Historia delle genti et della natvra cose settentrional. Venice, 1565.

The great scholar and explorer Olaus Magnus published one of the first detailed maps of Northern countries, including Iceland, in 1539. Olaus’s later cartographic and cultural studies were important enough to be translated into a variety of languages, including vernacular Italian, as this edition illustrates. In this vignette of Mount Hekla, Iceland’s most famous active volcano, Olaus pictures the mountain as a gateway to a hellish world.

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