Catalog Archive
Auction 157, Lot 672

"[Title on Verso] Asiae Tabula Decima Continet Indiam Intra Gangem", Ptolemy/Fries

Subject: India

Period: 1541 (published)

Publication: Claudii Ptolemaei Alexandrini Geographicae…

Color: Hand Color

18.1 x 11.5 inches
46 x 29.2 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).

A nice example of this early and desirable Ptolemaic map of India, which is depicted in a distorted form with a severely truncated peninsula. The map presents the mountains, rivers and places compiled by the Alexandrian geographer, which though crude and confusing, is a remarkable view of the region between the deltas of the Indus and Ganges Rivers, both of which are shown. The title is on the verso along with Latin text. 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 #211-24.

Condition: A

A clean and bright example on paper with a bunch of grapes watermark, several small worm holes, and old manuscript notations in the image.

Estimate: $750 - $900

Sold for: $550

Closed on 5/4/2016