Claude Ptolemy (AD150)

The earliest printed atlases were editions of the geographical text of Claudius Ptolemy (or Ptolemaeus), a Greek astronomer and geographer working in Alexandria, circa 150 A.D. Such was the importance of Ptolemy’s work, and the wide influence it held over future geographers, that many of his errors were perpetuated by subsequent mapmakers. The most important of them was a miscalculation of the circumference of the earth. Ptolemy, himself, under-exaggerated the circumference if the earth, by calculating each degree of longitude as 500 stadia, instead of a more accurate 700 stadia. He then exaggerated the length of the Mediterranean by about 30%, and also that of Asia, thus greatly reducing the distance between the western tip of Spain, and the east coast of Asia. This had important consequences, for all future explorers including Columbus who was know to own the 1478 edition of Ptolemy Geographia.

Re-discovery of the Ptolemy Texts: Following the fall of the Roman Empire, Ptolemy’s text was lost to western geographers. The earliest extant manuscript version of the ‘Geographia’ is Arabic, and probably dates from the 12th Century. Subsequently, the text was translated into Greek, and circulated through the Greek World. In about 1400 a Greek manuscript came into the hands of the Byzantine scholar, Emanuel Chrysolaras, who was working in Italy. Chrysolaras undertook a translation of the text into Latin, and completed by his pupil Jacopo d'Angelo, in 1406. The Greek manuscript that Angelo translated was apparently lacking maps, but the data in the text contained the information to construct a set of maps, and numbers of scholars set about such work. Of them, the most influential, was Donnus Nicolaus Germanus, a German cartographer, active in Italy from the 1460’s to 1480’s. He was a prolific editor of the text and maps, and his work formed the basis for three of the four sets of Ptolemaic maps printed in the fifteenth Century, with the fourth, accompanying Berlinghieri’s ‘Geographia’, “strongly influenced” by him .

The first printed versions of Ptolemy’s Text: The first published edition of the ‘Geographia’ with maps, which were probably engraved by Taddeo Crivelli, was issued in Bologna in 1477. Conrad Sweynheym was also working on an edition of Ptolemy in Rome in the same period. After his death, Arnold Buckinck, saw the atlas through the press, in 1478. Of the engraved editions of Ptolemy’s ‘Cosmographia’ the maps in the Rome edition are the finest fifteenth century examples, and second only to Mercator’s maps, from his 1578 edition. The atlas proved popular, and three successive editions (to 1508) followed. In 1482, Nicolas Laurentii published a set of Ptolemaic maps to illustrate Francesco Berlinghieri ‘Geographia’. The first edition of Ptolemy’s ‘Geographia’ printed outside Italy was published by Lienhart Holle, in Ulm, also in 1482. Holle’s maps were printed from woodcuts, and are characterised by heavy wash colouring for the sea areas, typically a rich blue for the 1482 edition, and an ochre for the 1486 edition. These bright colours, and the greater sense of age that woodcuts convey, make this series the most visually appealing of these various sets of maps.

Later Editions of Ptolemy: Next in chronological sequence, and the most unusual of the editions of Ptolemy, was that published by Jacobus Pentius de Leucho in Venice in 1511, edited by Bernardus Sylvanus. Martin Waldseemuller’s edition of Ptolemy, first published in 1513, is the most important of the sixteenth century editions. Waldseemuller’s edition was reprinted in 1520, and then the maps were re-drawn by Lorenz Fries on a smaller format, for editions published in 1522, 1525, 1535 and 1541. The next to produce an edition of Ptolemy was Sebastian Munster, who worked in Basle. Munster was one of the leading geographers and cartographers of his period, and he diligently set about revising and improving the maps. Giacomo Gastaldi, one of the leading cartographers of the sixteenth century, composed a set of maps for an edition of the ‘Geographia’, published in Venice in 1548. Of all the editions of Ptolemy, that prepared by Gerard Mercator, and published in 1578, is technically the finest, with the World map being a particularly fine engraving. This atlas is, also, noteworthy for its longevity, the original printing plates were still in use in 1730, over one hundred and fifty years after they were first engraved.

Claude Ptolemy (2)

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1486 Claude Ptolemy, Holle & Reger Antique Renaissance Map of Great Britain & Ireland - Rare

1486 Claude Ptolemy, Holle & Reger Antique Renaissance Map of Great Britain & Ireland - Rare

This original hand coloured wood-block engraved very early, rare antique map of Great Britain & Ireland was published in the 1486 Ulm edition & translation of Claudius Ptolemys (87-150) text, published in the 2nd edition of Lienhart Holles & by Johann Reger  atlas Claudii Ptolomei .... Cosmographie ... Opus Donni Nicolai Germani Secvndvm Ptolomevm Finit, Ulm, Germany. (Shirley 5)

This is a unique & very rare map and only the 4th map of the British Isles printed, published only 47 years after Johannes Gutenbergs invention of the moveable type printing press in 1439.
The two edition of Lienhart Holles atlases were published in 1482 & 1486. The 1482 Ulm edition of Ptolemys Geographia was the first edition printed north of the Alps  and the first to appear in color, applied by the publisher.
The 1482 Ulm edition was one of the most important cartographic texts of the early Renaissance and the first edition of the work to be printed outside Italy. The text for this edition was based upon a manuscript translated into Latin by Jacobus Angeli and edited by Nicolaus Germanus that had been brought to Ulm from Rome in 1468. The Ulm Ptolemy was published in 1482 by Lienhart Holle, the same year as Berlingheris Florence edition. Ashley Baynton Williams notes:.........Working independently of Berlinghieri, but apparently using the same or similar models, Holle also added modern maps of Spain, France, Italy and Palestine, but also the first printed map of Scandinavia, composed by Cornelius Clavus, circa 1425-7 . Holles maps were printed from woodcuts, and are characterised by heavy wash colouring for the sea areas, typically a rich blue for the 1482 edition, and an ochre for the 1486 edition. These bright colours, and the greater sense of age that woodcuts convey, make this series the most visually appealing of the Ptolemeic maps.........
Holle went bankrupt shortly after the original publication and the work was taken over by Johann Reger, who issued a second edition in 1486.

This large map is in fine condition on strong sturdy paper, the printing impression is heavy and clear. The colour is original and beautifully applied. There has been professional restoration to the L&R bottom corners. No loss of original paper and restrengthened on the verso. The centerfold has been re-strengthened, on the verso, with some light creasing and rippling.

General Condition:
Paper thickness and quality: - Heavy and stable
Paper color: - off white
Age of map color: - Original
Colors used: - Yellow, green, red, brown.
General color appearance: - Authentic and fresh
Paper size: - 20 1/2in x 15 1/2in (552mm x 397mm)
Image size: -14 1/2in x 14 1/2in x 20 1/4in (369mm x 369mm (upper margin) 511 mm (lower margin)
Margins: - Min 1/4in (6mm)

Imperfections:
Margins: - Light discolouration & soiling.
Plate area: - Bottom L&R corners restored, no loss. Light creasing and rippling
Verso: - Re-enforced along center-fold and L&R bottom corners

Background: The first editions of Ptolemys Geographia Atlas was published in Italy in 1477 and republished in 1478 & 1482. The next atlas to be published was north of the Alps by Lienhart Holle, in Ulm, Germany in 1482. Holles maps were printed from woodcuts, and are distinct with their heavy wash colouring for the sea areas, typically a rich blue for the 1482 edition, and an ochre for the 1486 edition. These bright colours, and the greater sense of age that woodcuts convey, make this series of maps one of the most visually attractive.

Claudius Ptolemy:  (87-150) was an Egyptian astronomer and geographer living and studying in Alexandria. Alexandria was not only the home of the greatest library of any period, but was also one of the most important trade centres between west and east - here Ptolemy could not only study ancient authorities, but could also consult contemporary travellers and merchants. From this wealth of accumulated knowledge, Ptolemy composed his <i>Geographia</i>, a work of considerable genius, which dominated the whole of the Christian and Moslem world for 1,500 years (Tooley).
It was Ptolemy who introduced the concept of latitude and longitude to form a grid to cover the whole world, so that it would be possible to plot the position of principal land-marks on the map by observations, and then fill in other information from other sources, including the notes and Itinerary of Marinus of Tyre, perhaps the most accurate source available.
Unfortunately Ptolemy was hampered by the paucity of observations - as a result he exaggerated the length of the Mediterranean by over 20 degrees -and by lack of information which was often circumvented by invention. Despite these errors, which persisted for nearly 1,500 years, the work was of fundamental importance at a time when little was being done in the way of modern mapping. As a result of this work, which was so far in advance of anything before or anything produced in the next 1,500 years, Ptolemy has earned the reputation and accolade, the father of geography (Tooley).

Re-discovery of the Ptolemy Texts:  Following the fall of the Roman Empire, Ptolemys text was lost to western geographers. The earliest extant manuscript version of the Geographia is Arabic, and probably dates from the 12th Century.  Subsequently, the text was translated into Greek, and circulated through the Greek World. In about 1400 a Greek manuscript came into the hands of the Byzantine scholar, Emanuel Chrysolaras, who was working in Italy.  Chrysolaras undertook a translation of the text into Latin, and completed by his pupil Jacopo dAngelo, in 1406. The Greek manuscript that Angelo translated was apparently lacking maps, but the data in the text contained the information to construct a set of maps, and numbers of scholars set about such work.  Of them, the most influential, was Donnus Nicolaus Germanus, a German cartographer, active in Italy from the 1460s to 1480s.  He was a prolific editor of the text and maps, and his work formed the basis for three of the four sets of Ptolemaic maps printed in the fifteenth Century, with the fourth, accompanying Berlinghieris Geographia, strongly influenced by him .

The first printed versions of Ptolemys Text:  The first published edition of the Geographia with maps, which were probably engraved by Taddeo Crivelli, was issued in Bologna in 1477. Conrad Sweynheym was also working on an edition of Ptolemy in Rome in the same period.  After his death, Arnold Buckinck, saw the atlas through the press, in 1478.  Of the engraved editions of Ptolemys Cosmographia the maps in the Rome edition are the finest fifteenth century examples, and second only to Mercators maps, from his 1578 edition. The atlas proved popular, and three successive editions (to 1508) followed. In 1482, Nicolas Laurentii published a set of Ptolemaic maps to illustrate Francesco Berlinghieri Geographia.
The first edition of Ptolemys Geographia printed outside Italy was published by Lienhart Holle, in Ulm, also in 1482. Holles maps were printed from woodcuts, and are characterised by heavy wash colouring for the sea areas, typically a rich blue for the 1482 edition, and an ochre for the 1486 edition. These bright colours, and the greater sense of age that woodcuts convey, make this series the most visually appealing of these various sets of maps.

Later Editions of Ptolemy:  Next in chronological sequence, and the most unusual of the editions of Ptolemy, was that  published by Jacobus Pentius de Leucho in Venice in 1511, edited by Bernardus Sylvanus. Martin Waldseemullers edition of Ptolemy, first published in 1513, is the most important of the sixteenth century editions.  Waldseemullers edition was reprinted in 1520, and then the maps were re-drawn by Lorenz Fries on a smaller format, for editions published in 1522, 1525, 1535 and 1541. The next to produce an edition of Ptolemy was Sebastian Munster, who worked in Basle.  Munster was one of the leading geographers and cartographers of his period, and he diligently set about revising and improving the maps. Giacomo Gastaldi, one of the leading cartographers of the sixteenth century, composed a set of maps for an edition of the Geographia, published in Venice in 1548.  Of all the editions of Ptolemy, that prepared by Gerard Mercator, and published in 1578, is technically the finest, with the World map being a particularly fine engraving. This atlas is, also, noteworthy for its longevity, the original printing plates were still in use in 1730, over one hundred and fifty years after they were first engraved. (Ref: Shirley 5; Stevenson; Tooley; M&B; MapForum)

$27,500.00 USD
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1650 Original Antique Hand Drawn Manuscript Map of Ptolemaic Germany - Unique

1650 Original Antique Hand Drawn Manuscript Map of Ptolemaic Germany - Unique

Description: 
This is a unique and rare opportunity to acquire a hand drawn hand coloured manuscript Ptolemaic map of Germany.

The map was drawn from Ptolemy's map of Germany and is drawn on heavy cable laid paper with a Bunch of Grapes watermark, which denotes paper made in France in 1616. This does not necessarily mean the map was drawn in 1616 as paper was held for years sometimes before being used. But I would surmise from the colours, faded ink and age of the paper that the drawing was done sometime by the mid 17th century.
The map was once part of an atlas containing a range of 17th & 18th century maps with the margins being extended top and bottom to fit into the atlas.

Background of Ptolemy's Geographia: The first published edition of Ptolemy's ‘Geographia’ with maps, engraved by Taddeo Crivelli, was issued in Bologna in 1477.  Unusually, this edition contained 26 maps, with one of the Asia maps divided up among three neighbouring sheets. With the exception of Palestine, these are the first regional maps of any of these various countries.
Unfortunately for the undertakers, this atlas seems not to have been a commercial success, and today only twenty-six examples of the atlas are recorded, with all but one in institutional libraries.
One explanation of the failure is that the publishers do not seem to have been fully mastered the intricacies and problems of engraving, and printing from, copper-plates, an art, which, after all, was very new and experimental. These problems were more successfully addressed by a German printer, Conrad Sweynheym, who was working on an edition of Ptolemy in Rome in the same period. Unfortunately, he did not live to see the volume appear, but his successor, Arnold Buckinck, saw the atlas through the press, in 1478.
The Rome Ptolemy contained 27 maps, with the same geographical coverage as the 1477 Ptolemy. Of the engraved editions of Ptolemy’s ‘Cosmographia’ the maps in the Rome edition are the finest fifteenth century examples, and second only to Mercator’s maps, from his 1578 edition.  One explanation for this was the use of individual punches to stamp letters onto the printing plates, rather than engraving them.  This allowed much greater uniformity than lettering-engravers were able to achieve, and gives a very pleasing overall effect. The atlas proved popular, and three successive editions (to 1508) followed, although only about forty examples of the first edition are recorded today.

Claudius Ptolemy(90 A.D.-168 A.D.) was a celebrated astronomer, mathematician, and geographer who lived in Alexandria in the 2nd century AD. Although his thinking influenced contemporary Arab geographers, little was known of his work in the West until manuscripts from Constantinople reached Italy in about 1400.  These manuscripts were written in Greek and contained the names of every city, island,  mountain and  river known to the many travellers interviewed by Ptolemy. In addition, the latitude and longitude of each of the resulting eight thousand locations were also recorded. They were translated into Latin by 1401 and appeared in print by 1475.  The earliest Byzantine manuscript maps, drawn by analysing the Ptolemy figures, date from the twelfth century. A number of hand-drawn copies were made in Italy throughout the early fifteenth century to accompany Ptolemy's text.
Ptolemy stressed the importance of accurate observations in order to calculate latitude and longitude, and  laid down the principals of systematic cartography that remain to this day. Obviously there are many errors in Ptolemy's maps, due to the limited extent of basic geographic information at that time and the lack of a method of determining accurate longitudes. Judged by modern standards, the basic shortcoming of the Ptolemy world map is the small area it portrays. The Mediterranean is fairly well depicted, but is greatly exaggerated in length (Longitudinally). The effect of this, combined with Ptolemy's disregard for Eratosthenes' extremely accurate estimate of the earth's circumference (c. 200 B.C.) and the use of a Posidonius' much smaller flawed estimate (c.50 B.C.) implied a much shorter distance across that part of the unknown earth's surface not drawn on the map. Columbus and his contemporaries based their exploratory ventures on Ptolemy's calculations and, like him, had no idea of the vast New World to the west, interposed between Europe and Asia.
Work on the first “printed” atlas from the text of Ptolemy was started in 1473 and finally published in 1478. A crude copy of this atlas was produced and published by some dissident workers in 1477 in order to be ‘first’.However, the plates for the 1478 were done prior to the pirated issue and thus the 1478 atlas holds the title of the first Atlas of the world. There are very few surviving examples of this atlas and individual maps. (Ref: Stevenson; Tooley; M&B)

General Description:
Paper thickness and quality: - Heavy and stable
Paper color: - off white
Age of map color: - Original
Colors used: - Yellow, green, red.
General color appearance: - Authentic
Paper size: - 19in x 12in (485mm x 305mm)
Map size: - 13in x 11 1/2in (330mm x 295mm)
Margins: - Min 1/4in (6mm)

Imperfections:
Margins: - Top and bottom margin extended outside of image
Plate area: - None
Verso: - Light soiling

$1,499.00 USD
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