Auction 110, Lot 35

"[Ancient World]", Macrobius, Ambrosius Aurelius Theodo

Subject: Ancient World

Period: 1712 (circa)

Publication: Teatro del Cielo

Color: Black & White

2.5 x 2.5 inches
6.4 x 6.4 cm

This is a very rare miniature map of the world based on the works of Macrobius, a fifth-century Roman philosopher. The woodcut was originally prepared by Andreas Asulanus in 1528 for an Aldine edition of Expositio in Somnium Scipionis ex Cicerone (Commentary of the Dream of Scipio by Cicero). It was then included in the final edition of Teatro del Cielo by Giuseppe Rosaccio, printed by Domenico Lovisa.

The map is characteristic of the later medieval versions of the Macrobian world-picture. It depicts the spherical world with windheads in each corner and is printed on a full sheet of Italian text. Macrobius' geographic concept of the world shows the inhabited world north of the Equator balanced by a southern continent (Temperata Antipodum Nobis Incognita) and divided from it by a large ocean. Macrobius further divided the earth into climate zones, three of which were considered uninhabitable: two at the poles, which were too cold to support life, and one at the Equator, which was too hot. It was this notion of antipodean balance and landmass equivalence that continued to attract medieval minds to the other wise outmoded geographical ideas of Macrobius.

References: cf. Shirley #13; King (2nd ed.) pp. 72-3 & 193-4.

Condition: A

Some light foxing in text.

Estimate: $250 - $350

Sold for: $350

Closed on 3/2/2005