"Macrobii Ambrosii, Aurelii Theodosii, Viri Consularis & illustris, In Somnium Scipionis, Lib. II. Saturnaliorum, Lib. VII…", Macrobius, Ambrosius Aurelius Theodo
Subject: Ancient World
Period: 1548 (published)
Publication: In Somnium Scipionis
Color: Black & White
4.5 x 7 inches
11.4 x 17.8 cm
This work, written by Ambrosius Macrobius, is a commentary on Cicero's Dream of Scipio. It includes a rare woodcut map of the world 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 Antipodunobis 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.
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. This edition was published by Sebastian Gryphius, the notable 'Prince of the Lyon book trade'. His famous griffin devise is engraved on the title page. The volume is in original hand stitched vellum, title page, 567 pp. (map at page 154), and extensive index.
See also lot 817 for Rodney Shirley's excellent reference work, The Mapping of the World, that discusses this map.
References: Shirley #13.
The map and contents are in very good condition with light toning. There are brown ink marginal notations and occasional soiling throughout the volume. The spine is split at head and tail with some minor worming affecting the vellum and endpapers and some staining on the covers.