Catalog Archive
Auction 158, Lot 284

Rare and Important Map of France

"Tertia Europe Tabula", Ptolemy

Subject: France

Period: 1478 (circa)

Publication: Cosmographia

Color: Black & White

12.6 x 14.4 inches
32 x 36.6 cm
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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 important map of France was published in Rome in one of the earliest editions of Ptolemy's Geographia. First printed in 1478 by Arnoldus Buckinck, this edition was reissued in 1490 with the same maps, and in 1507 and 1508 with several additional maps. The Rome editions included copperplate maps, which are widely considered to be superior to those of the 1477 Bologna edition, with better clarity and craftsmanship. This map depicts the major rivers in France, with a large exaggerated mountain range extending from the Pyrenees in Spain to central France, and then linking with the Alps. Numerous ancient place names are given.

References: Mickwitz & Miekkavaara #197-4.

Condition: B

Sturdy watermarked paper with light soiling, some printer's ink residue, and professional repairs along the centerfold, with a small portion of image replaced in facsimile.

Estimate: $2,750 - $3,500

Sold for: $2,000

Closed on 6/22/2016