Martin Behaim

In India, there grow a lot of spices, aloes, a lot of oriental precious stones and pearls … Were these the words which tempted Columbus to look for the Indian continent, taking this unusual route. He, who looks at the first terrestrial globe made by Martin Behaim, can see these promising words written on it, apart from many other pieces of advice.

Europe and Asia are painted on it as neighbouring continents, the only ones in the whole world. America does not exist. In 1492, Columbus, too, used the same conception of the world and started his voyage in a western direction. It is exactly at this period that Martin Behaim made his terrestrial globe. It is the oldest preserved globe. When Columbus returned, the Earth was richer by one continent, and Behaim’s work was out-dated.                             

This terrestrial globe was designed to be the first of a whole series. Without America, the globe was, however, a useless ball. It is still in the Germanisches National Museum (Germanic National Museum) in Nuremberg, while Martin Behaim died in Lisbon in 1507 a poor man.

In Room no. 41 you will find one of  these useless balls…