Catalog Archive
Auction 158, Lot 377

First Map to Show a Compass with Magnetic Variation

"[Title on Verso] Quinta Tabula Universalis Palestinae, Continens Superiores Partuculares Tabulas", Ziegler, Jacob

Subject: Holy Land

Period: 1532 (circa)

Publication: Quae Intus Continentur Syria ... Palestina ...

Color: Black & White

13.5 x 9.2 inches
34.3 x 23.4 cm
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This map was published in the first atlas devoted to the Holy Land, Quae Intus Continentur Syria ... Palestina ..., published in 1532, with a second edition published in 1536 under the title Terrae Sanctae, Quam Palaestinam Nominant Syriae.... The atlas contained 7 maps of Palestine and 1 map of Scandinavia, all created by Jacob Ziegler, a Bavarian scholar. Although there is no record of Ziegler having traveled to Palestine, he based his work on a number of ancient sources, including Ptolemy, Strabo, and Pliny. Despite the fact that his maps were not based on contemporary accounts, he relied on a scientific method to compare and contrast existing sources of data, omitting any information that could not be corroborated by a second source. As a result, Ziegler's work was considered the first "scientific map" of the Holy Land. His work was well received and influenced subsequent cartographers, including Mercator and Munster.

This map shows all of Palestine from Sidon to Rinocorvra. The lines extending away from Palestine indicate the distances between Palestine and various cities, including Rome, Regensburg, Venice, and Babylon. One of the most interesting features is the compass at top right, which depicts both true and magnetic north, indicating the angle of declination. This is the first map to show a compass with magnetic variation, which was a practice recently introduced at the time the map was created. A number of important landmarks are shown, including the boundaries of ten of the Twelve Tribes of Israel, the Dead Sea (Asphaltis) with Sodom located, and four major rivers (Jabbok, Amon, Jordan and Kishon). The majority of the place names are based on Roman and Greek sources, such as Aeeia for Jerusalem. Adorned with a ferocious sea monster in the Mediterranean.

References: Laor #869; Nebenzahl #23; Shirley (BL Atlases) G.ZIE-1a #5.

Condition: B+

A nice impression on watermarked paper with minor toning. This map was originally published on two separate sheets, and this example has been professionally joined to create a continuous image. Two long tears to the left of the joint have been expertly and nearly invisibly repaired.

Estimate: $2,400 - $3,000

Sold for: $1,500

Closed on 6/22/2016