1545 Munster Ptolemy Antique Map of France

Cartographer : Sebastian Munster

This fine beautifully hand coloured original antique map of modern contemporary France in the mid 16th century was published by Sebastian Munster in the 1545 edition of Ptolemy's Geographia, with 54 maps based on text by the Greek Mathematician Claude Ptolemy.

Munster's Geographia (first published in 1540) and his later Cosmographia were cartographic landmarks. The Geographia included not only Ptolemaic maps, but also a number of landmark modern maps, including the first separate maps of the 4 continents, the first map of England and the earliest obtainable map of Scandinavia.  TheCosmographia (first published in 1544) was the earliest German description of the world and a major work in the revival of geographic thought in 16th-century Europe. Altogether, about 40 editions of the Cosmographia appeared between 1544 and 1628.   
Munster dominated cartographic publication during the mid-16th Century and is generally regarded as one of the important map makers of the 16th Century.  

Geographia: contained a total of 54 woodcut maps, first published in 1540 and re-issued until 1552. Munsters "contemporary" maps were a result of data sent to him by German and European scholars of description of the villages, towns trades etc in their regions. The response was so great that over a 12 year period Munster was able to compile the first of many up-to-date, if not accurate, maps in both his two major publications, Geographia and Cosmographia. The result was one of the first comprehensive cartographical publications of regions of Europe and other parts of the world. Also as was the case with many cartographical publications of the time ancient maps interpreted from the text of the scholar Ptolemy were included along side the "modern" ones.

Claude Ptolemy: a Greek mathematician, astronomer and geographer, living in Alexandria, assembled and codified his predecessors' cartographic theories including those of Strabo & Marinus of Tyre (c. AD 120) to whom he was especially indebted. In about AD 150 he published his Geographia, a work in 8 volumes, supposedly illustrated with a world map, 26 regional maps and a profusion of smaller maps. Although the text of the Geographia survived, no maps older than about the twelfth century have come down to us and, in consequence, we have no means of knowing whether the 'Ptolemy' maps on which we set so much store were, in fact, drawn by him or were the interpretations of later map makers using his text as a basis.
In Europe the initial awakening of interest in geography arose from the revival of knowledge of Ptolemy's Geographia soon after the year 1400. Greek manuscript copies made in the twelfth to fourteenth centuries were brought by scholars to Italy from Constantinople and were subsequently translated into Latin and widely studied. This work coincided with, and was much influenced by, the development of printing techniques, particularly, of course, by the invention of movable-type printing by Gutenberg about 1450, which made possible for the first time the production of printed books in quantity. Apart from this factor, other more far-reaching influences were compelling the peoples of Western Europe to look beyond the horizon they had known for so many centuries. With the conquest of Constantinople in 1453 the Turks effectively closed Europe's trade routes to the East and shut off access to traditional sources of luxuries and precious metals from Asia and, above all, denied the supply of the spices which had become so important in the lives of ordinary people. Other factors often based on long-believed myths and legends added to the urge to break out into the unknown world.
The interpretation of Ptolemy's text began mainly with the Italians Angelus, Beroaldus & Vadius in 1477 and was re-interpreted and re-issued by many over the next century by the likes Waldseemuller 1513, Gastaldi 1548, Mercator 1578 & Magini 1596.

Sebastian Münster (1488-1552) was a German cartographer, cosmographer, and Hebrew scholar whose work Cosmographia (1544; "Cosmography") was the earliest German description of the world and a major work in the revival of geographic thought in 16th-century Europe. It had numerous editions in different languages including Latin, French, Italian, English, and even Czech. Altogether, about 40 editions of the Cosmographia appeared between 1544 and 1628 and was one of the most successful and popular books of the 16th century.Münster was a major influence in popular thinking in Europe for the next 200 years.
This success was due not only to the level of descriptive detail but also to the fascinating full page maps & views as well as smaller woodcuts that were included in the text. Many of the woodcuts were executed by famous engravers of the time including Hans Holbein the Younger, Urs Graf, Hans Rudolph Manuel Deutsch, and David Kandel. 
Aside from the well-known maps present in the Cosmographia, the text is thickly sprinkled with vigorous views: portraits of kings and princes, costumes and occupations, habits and customs, flora and fauna, monsters, wonders, and horrors about the known -- and unknown -- world, and was undoubtedly one of the most widely read books of its time.
Münster acquired the material for his book in three ways. Firstly he researched all available literary sources across Germany, Switzerland and other parts of Europe. Secondly he obtained original manuscript material from locals all over Europe for description of the countryside, cities, villages, towns, rivers and local history. Finally, he obtained further material first hand on his travels (primarily in south-west Germany, Switzerland, and Alsace). 

In 1588 Sebastian Petri re-released Cosomgraphia and re-issued many of Munsters maps and views in the "copperplate style". The maps in this release were more sophisticated than with earlier publications of Cosomgraphia and were based on the 1570 release of Abraham Ortelius monumental workTheatrum Orbis Terrarum. (Ref: Shirley; Tooley; M&B)

General Description:
Paper thickness and quality: - Heavy and stable
Paper color: - White
Age of map color: - Early
Colors used: - Brown, yellow, orange, blue
General color appearance: - Authentic
Paper size: - 16in x 12 1/2in (405mm x 320mm)
Plate size: - 16in x 12 1/2in (405mm x 320mm)
Margins: - Min 1in (25mm)

Margins: - None
Plate area: - None
Verso: - Verso backed in transparent archival Japanese tissue