Auction 157, Lot 542

"Tabula Nova Poloniae, Ungariae, & Russiae", Ptolemy/Fries

Subject: Eastern Europe

Period: 1541 (published)

Publication: Claudii Ptolemaei Alexandrini Geographicae…

Color: Hand Color

14.4 x 11 inches
36.6 x 27.9 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 woodblock map is a "modern" map of eastern Europe, including Hungary, Czech Republic, and parts of Poland, and is based on the work of Waldseemuller. Budapest (Buda) is at bottom left. The region is dominated by convoluted mountain ranges that appear to have been engraved upside-down. This edition was printed by Gaspar Treschel and edited by Michael Villanovus (known as Servetus). Servetus was charged with heresy by John Calvin in 1553, in part due to the text in this atlas. The courts found him guilty and sentenced him to burning at the stake, atop a pyre of his own books, including this atlas.

References: Mickwitz & Miekkavaara #211-33.

Condition: A

An excellent impression on paper with a bunch of grapes watermark and minor professional repairs along the centerfold in top and bottom blank margins.

Estimate: $450 - $550

Sold for: $475

Closed on 5/4/2016