Catalog Archive
Auction 183, Lot 468

"[Title on Verso] Tabula II. Asiae", Ptolemy/Fries

Subject: Caucasus

Period: 1535 (circa)

Publication: Claudii Ptolemaei Alexandrini Geographicae…

Color: Black & White

15.7 x 11.9 inches
39.9 x 30.2 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 woodblock Ptolemaic map illustrates ancient Sarmatia located northeast of the Black Sea. Mountain ranges dominate the map, and three gates are shown in the Caucasus Mountains, which in ancient times used to be a caravan route to the ancient Orient. The Alexandri Column is shown in present day Georgia. Latin text and ornate woodblock illustrations on verso.

References: Mickwitz & Miekkavaara #209-34.

Condition: B+

On watermarked paper with light toning, show-through of text on verso, and minor soiling along the centerfold. There are a few small areas of loss along the centerfold that have been professionally repaired with minor image loss.

Estimate: $230 - $275


Closed on 6/9/2021