"[Title on Verso] Aphricae Tabula Quarta Continet Libyam & Duas Aethiopias", Ptolemy/Fries
Subject: Northern Africa
Period: 1541 (published)
Publication: Claudii Ptolemaei Alexandrini Geographicae…
Color: Hand Color
17.4 x 11.6 inches
44.2 x 29.5 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).
Fine Ptolemaic from the blocks of Laurent Fries, the famous physician, astrologer and geographer. This map covers the regions of Africa that were known to the ancients. The twin lake sources of the Nile are located near the Mons Lune (Mountains of the Moon). The Niger River is prominently featured in Libya with its source in several interior lakes and mountains ranges. The legendary Christian king, Prester John, is pictured in Ethiopia. Published in Lyon by Melchior and Gaspar Treschsel. This edition was printed from the same blocks as those in the 1525 and 1535 editions with wear showing in the lower side borders. Title on verso with Latin text.
References: Mickwitz & Miekkavaara #211-14; Norwich #287.
A clean and bright example with a dark, crisp impression on paper with a bunch of grapes watermark. There is a small worm track along the centerfold that has been professionally infilled, with a minute loss of image.