Catalog Archive
Auction 161, Lot 718

"[Title on Verso] Aphricae Tabula Secunda Continet Aphricam & Numidiam ", Ptolemy/Fries

Subject: Northern Africa

Period: 1541 (published)

Publication: Claudii Ptolemaei Alexandrini Geographicae…

Color: Hand Color

18 x 11.3 inches
45.7 x 28.7 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 fine Ptolemaic map is from the wood blocks of Laurent Fries, the famous physician, astrologer and geographer. The map covers the central part of northern Africa, present-day Tunisia and Libya. It also shows the southern part of Sardinia and Sicily and a group of oversized Mediterranean islands including Malta. The topography is dominated by large rivers, convoluted mountain ranges and the locations of ancient cities. This edition, printed by Gaspar Trechsel, is a reissue of the 1535 edition, which was printed from the same blocks as those in the 1525 edition with wear showing in the lower side borders. Title is on the verso along with Latin text.

References: Mickwitz & Miekkavaara #211-12.

Condition: A

A dark impression on a clean bright sheet of paper with a bunch of grapes watermark and several old manuscript notations. There are minor professional repairs along the centerfold in the blank margins.

Estimate: $350 - $425

Sold for: $200

Closed on 2/8/2017