1541 Fries Ptolemaic Antique Map of the Caucasus - Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan

Cartographer : Laurent Fries

  • TitleTabula Tertia Asiae complectitur Colchidem, Iberiam, Alberiam & Armeniam maiorem
  • Date : 1541
  • Condition: (A+) Fine Condition
  • Ref:  92814
  • Size: 20 1/2in x 15in (520mm x 380mm)

This beautifully hand coloured original antique Ptolemaic map by Laurent Fries of the Caucasus region of central Asia - straddling the Black & Caspian Seas (what is today part of the Russian Federation and includes the countries of Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, north-western Iran & north-eastern Turkey) - was published by in the 1541 Vienna edition of Ptolemy's Geographia

General Definitions:
Paper thickness and quality: - Heavy and stable
Paper color : - off white
Age of map color: - Early
Colors used: - Yellow, green, red, blue.
General color appearance: - Authentic
Paper size: - 20 1/2in x 15in (520mm x 380mm)
Plate size: - 20 1/2in x 15in (520mm x 380mm)
Margins: - Min 1in (25mm)

Margins: - None
Plate area: - None
Verso: - None

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. (Ref: Tooley; M&B; Dover)