Catalog Archive
Auction 158, Lot 427

"Tabula Nova Partis Africae", Ptolemy/Fries

Subject: Northern Africa

Period: 1541 (published)

Publication: Claudii Ptolemaei Alexandrini Geographicae…

Color: Hand Color

15.8 x 11 inches
40.1 x 27.9 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).

Based on Waldseemuller's map, this is one of the earliest "modern" maps of Northern Africa. The map extends from the Mediterranean in the north to the Equator in the south, and from the Canary Islands in the west to the Red Sea in the east. Details are focused primarily along the coastline, with numerous place names noted. The interior of Africa is filled with spurious mountain ranges and rivers. The map is adorned with depictions of kings on their thrones, a Cyclops, a rhino, and a pair of water buffalo.

References: Mickwitz & Miekkavaara #211-38; cf. Norwich #286.

Condition: A

A crisp impression on a clean and bright sheet with a bunch of grapes watermark and minor foxing in the top blank margin. There are professional repairs to a few tiny worm holes along the centerfold.

Estimate: $900 - $1,100

Sold for: $600

Closed on 6/22/2016