Catalog Archive
Auction 189, Lot 580


"Tabula Asiae VII", Ptolemy/Ruscelli

Subject: Central Asia

Period: 1561 (circa)

Publication: La Geografia di Claudio Tolomeo Alessandrino…

Color: Black & White

9.9 x 7.2 inches
25.1 x 18.3 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 Ptolemaic map shows the region east of the Caspian Sea including present-day Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, and part of Iran. The Caspian Sea is depicted in a horizontally elongated shape, and there are rope-like mountain ranges throughout the map. An illustration of Tarris Lapidea, the "Stone Tower" described by Ptolemy as the midpoint on the Silk Road, appears north of Mount Imeon, inside a ring of trees. Italian text on verso.

References: Mickwitz & Miekkavaara #216-51.

Condition: B+

On watermarked paper with light toning along the centerfold and short wormtracks in the bottom blank margin.

Estimate: $160 - $190


Closed on 9/14/2022