Catalog Archive
Auction 153, Lot 37

Famous Peutinger Table in History of Roman Roads

"Tabula Itineraria ex Illustri Peutingerorum Bibliotheca… [in book] Histoire des Grands Chemins de l'Empire Romain, Contenant l'Origine, Progres & Etendue Quasi Incroyable des Chemins Militaires…", Jansson, Jan

Subject: Ancient World

Period: 1728 (published)


Color: Black & White

159.3 x 7.3 inches
404.6 x 18.5 cm

This impressive long map is the famous Peutinger Table, or a Roman road map of the world. The original parchment document was found in a library in Augsburg by Konrad Celtes, who bequeathed it to Konrad Peutinger in 1508. The map later went to Peutinger's relative, Mark Welser, who was the first to publish a copy of it in 1591 at Aldus Manutius in Venice. This map, based on the original manuscript, was popularized by Ortelius in 1598 and became an important part of his great historical atlas. Jansson's version is nearly identical to that of Ortelius. This decorative strip map depicts the imperial roads and posts within the Roman Empire throughout Europe, North Africa and Asia as far as Toprobana (Sri Lanka).

This example, printed on 8 sheets and joined (measuring over 13 feet in length!), was published in Nicolas Bergier's Histoire des Grands Chemins de l'Empire Romain. Bergier (1567-1623), a lawyer and Jesuit historian, was commissioned by Louis XIII to study the Roman roads. In 1622 Bergier published his work about the origin, progress, and extent of military roads paved until the end of the Roman Empire. The book was subsequently translated into English in 1712, and then republished in French in 1728 and 1736. All editions are relatively uncommon. This edition includes a frontispiece engraved by Picart, portraits of Nicolas Bergier and Philippe Francios Prince de Rubempre, an engraved page of Roman coins, and three large fold-out engravings of Roman antiquities.

909 pp., five volumes in one with frontispiece, title page, index, 2 engraved portraits, Peutinger Table, engraved page of coins, and 3 fold-out engravings. 4to., hardbound in original full leather with raised bands, gilt tooling, and leather title label on spine.

References: Shirley #393.

Condition: A

The Peutinger Table is a dark, crisp impression with one short repaired tear in the bottom blank margin, far from the image, and a mis-fold adjacent to the last fold in the map. The fold-out portrait and engravings have short binding tears that have been repaired on verso. The text is clean and bright, with occasional soiling in the blank margins. The binding is very sound, although the hinges are starting. Covers show moderate wear with edges bumped and chipped. The spine has some cracking and the title label is faded.

Estimate: $3,000 - $3,750

Sold for: $2,500

Closed on 5/20/2015