Catalog Archive
Auction 132, Lot 39

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

Subject: Ancient World

Period: 1550 (circa)

Publication: In Somnium Scipionis…

Color: Hand Color

5.5 x 5.8 inches
14 x 14.7 cm

This diagrammatic map shows two distinct regions of the earth; the inhabited and known parts of the world in the northern hemisphere and the unknown, and relatively equal, landmass (Temperata Antipodunobis Incognita) on the other side of an impassable great boiling sea (Alveus Oceani). It was this notion of antipodean balance and landmass equivalence that continued to attract Renaissance minds to the otherwise outmoded geographical ideas of Macrobius. Distinguished cartographers like Mercator and Ortelius would incorporate Macrobius' concept into an immense southern continent (Australis Incongita) to balance the known lands of the world, and his division of the world into climactic zones is still in use today. Macrobius was a 5th century Roman neoplatonic philosopher. His commentary on Cicero's Dream of Scipio was of great influence in the Middle Ages and gained popularity with the advent of printing. First published (with the map) in Brescia in 1483, numerous editions appeared throughout the 16th century. This version includes the cardinal winds within the sphere and the lesser winds in an encircling band. The corners are embellished with a distinctly Italian flourish. Latin text on verso.

References: cf Shirley #13.

Condition: A

Trimmed, leaving 1/16" outside the neatline, else fine.

Estimate: $1,200 - $1,500

Sold for: $1,300

Closed on 6/2/2010