Catalog Archive
Auction 167, Lot 17

"[Untitled - Ancient World]", Macrobius, Ambrosius Aurelius Theodo

Subject: Ancient World

Period: 1565 (published)

Publication: In Somnium Scipionis...

Color: Black & White

3.1 x 3.2 inches
7.9 x 8.1 cm

This rare woodcut map of the world was published in Ambrosius Macrobius' commentary on Cicero's Dream of Scipio. It includes a (1.8 x 1.8") illustrating Cicero's interesting theories. This diagrammatic map shows two distinct regions of the earth. The inhabited Afro-Eurasian continent was balanced by an unknown, and relatively equal, landmass (Temperata Antipodum Nobis Incognita) on the other side of an impassable torrid zone (Perusta) and a great boiling sea (Alveus Oceani). It was this notion of antipodean balance and landmass equivalence that continued to attract Renaissance minds to the otherwise outmoded geographical ideas of Macrobius. Distinguished cartographers like Mercator and Ortelius would later incorporate Macrobius' model into an immense southern continent (Australis Incongita) to balance the known lands of the world, and the division of the world into climactic zones is still in use today. On a full sheet of Latin text measuring 3.9 x 5.9".

Macrobius was a 5th century Roman neoplatonic philosopher. His commentary on Cicero’s Somnium Sciponis was of great influence in the Middle Ages and gained popularity with the advent of printing. First published in Brescia in 1483, numerous editions appeared throughout the 16th century. His commentary includes several chapters dealing with his own conception of the world and the universe. It also contains references to many facets of the scientific knowledge of his time, including references to physics, astronomy, and mathematics.

References: Shirley #13.

Condition: A+

Clean and bright with just a hint of toning along the edges of the sheet.

Estimate: $700 - $850

Sold for: $500

Closed on 3/28/2018