"[Title on Verso] Tabula Quarta Asiae Complectitur Cyprum Insulam, Syriam, Phoeniceam, Iudaeam Palaestinam, Arabiam Petream, Arabiam Desertam, Mesopotamiam & Babyloniam", Ptolemy/Fries
Subject: Middle East
Period: 1541 (published)
Publication: Claudii Ptolemaei Alexandrini Geographicae…
Color: Hand Color
17.8 x 12.4 inches
45.2 x 31.5 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).
Woodblock map illustrating the Ptolemaic concept of the Middle East, between the Mediterranean, the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf, extending from Cyprus to Babylonia. Rivers, place names, and rope-like mountains fill the map. The map is reduced from Martin Waldseemuller's map, with a few changes, including a reduction in size of the bay north of Jaffa (here ioppe). 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: Laor #613; Mickwitz & Miekkavaara #211-18; Zacharakis #1829.
A crisp impression on a clean and bright sheet with a number of old manuscript notations and a few tiny worm tracks along the centerfold. There are two larger worm tracks in the bottom blank margin that have been professionally repaired.