"[Title on Verso] Tab. Mo. Germa.", Waldseemuller/Fries
Subject: Central Europe
Period: 1525 (circa)
Publication: Claudii Ptolemaei Alexandrini Geographicae…
Color: Hand Color
12.6 x 11.9 inches
32 x 30.2 cm
Claudius Ptolemy was a mathematician, astronomer and geographer who worked in Alexandria, then a part of the Roman Empire, in the 2nd century AD. One of the most learned and influential men of his time, his theories dominated both astronomy and geography for nearly 1500 years. His writings were kept alive by Arabic scholars during the Middle Ages and reemerged in Europe during the Renaissance. The birth of printing led to wide dissemination of his great works on astronomy and geography. There were a number of editions of his Geographia beginning in 1477. These early editions contained maps based on his original writings, known as Ptolemaic maps. As geographic knowledge increased with the explorations of Columbus, Magellan, Cabot and others, maps of the New World were added, and maps of the Old World were revised. Ptolemy's Geographia continued to be revised and published by some of the most important cartographers including Martin Waldseemuller, Sebastian Munster, Giacomo Gastaldi, Jodocus Hondius, and Gerard Mercator (whose last edition was published in 1730).
This nice example of this "modern" map of Germany. Denmark and Scotland are still given their distorted Ptolemaic outlines. In this wood block map, Fries has added a vignette of the Holy Roman Emperor, not included in Waldsemuller's model. The Latin text on the verso is flanked by ornate woodblock designs, presumably the work of Hans Holbein the Younger and Urs Graf.
References: Mickwitz & Miekkavaara #208-32.
On a watermarked sheet with very light toning along the centerfold, minor show-through of text on verso, and a few worm holes that have been professionally infilled.