Gerardus Mercator

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Gerardus Mercator

Gerardus Mercator (March 5, 1512December 2, 1594) was a cartographer, philosopher and mathematician. He is best known for his work in cartography, particular the world map of 1569 based on a new projection which represented sailing courses of constant bearing as straight lines. He was the first to use the term Atlas for a collection of maps.


  • When I saw that Moses’ version of the Genesis of the world did not fit sufficiently in many ways with Aristotle and the rest of the philosophers, I began to have doubts about the truth of all philosophers and started to investigate the secrets of nature.
    • Evangelicæ Historiæ: Quadripartita Monas Sive Harmonia Quatuor Evangelistarum ("Harmonization of the Gospels") (1592), dedicatory letter. Quoted in Jean Van Raemdonck, Gerard Mercator: sa vie et ses oeuvres (1869), p. 25, footnote 2
  • Since my youth geography has been for me the primary object of study. When I was engaged in it, having applied the considerations of the natural and geometric sciences, I liked, little by little, not only the description of the earth, but also the structure of the whole machinery of the world, whose numerous elements are not known by anyone to date.
    • 1578, Introduction to Ptolemy's Geography.

About Mercator[edit]

  • It was the custom of our mutual friendship and intimacy that, during three whole years, neither of us lacked the other's presence for as much as three whole days. and such was the eagerness of both for learning and philosophizing that, after we had come together, we scarcely left off the investigation of difficult and useful problems for three minutes of an hour.
    • John Dee in: William Howard Sherman (1995) John Dee. p. 6 : About the friendship between John Dee and Mercator.

External links[edit]

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