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Myrrour of the World
William Caxton
Westminster: William Caxton, 1481

This encyclopaedia was the first illustrated book to be printed in England, originally published by William Caxton in 1481. The work is a translation of a prose version of the French L'image du monde (from British Library, Royal MS 19 A. ix); probably written by Walter or Gossuin of Metz, it was based chiefly on the twelfth century encyclopaedia Imago mundi, compiled by Honorius Augustodunensis. Caxton's version is in three parts: part 1 deals with the power of God and the creation of the world, as well as the seven liberal arts (grammar, logic, rhetoric, geometry, arithmetic, astronomy and music); part 2 is on geography, with descriptions of India, Europe and Africa and their beasts and birds, the elements, the weather, etc.; part 3 is on day and night, the eclipses of the sun, the sizes of the sun, moon and earth, and the number of the stars. Some images from the 1489 printing can be seen on the Glasgow University Library website.

Language: English

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