"Orbis Antiqui Tabulae Geographicae Secundum Cl. Ptolemaeum", Ptolemy/Mercator
Subject: Title Pages
Period: 1730 (published)
Color: Hand Color
9.3 x 14.4 inches
23.6 x 36.6 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).
This striking, classical title page is from Mercator's edition of Ptolemy. It features two river gods in the foreground, and personifications of music, art, and learning are shown mapping the globe, while the angel of Fame trumpets above. Engraved by Jan van Vianen. Although Mercator is most renowned today for the projection he popularized and for first using the term Atlas for a collection of maps, he devoted much of his life to his Ptolemaic maps.
References: Shirley (TP) #14B.
A sharp impression with marginal soiling.