This atlas is divided into three parts: First, the text comprising the new Latin translation by the humanist Wilibald Pirckheimer of the 1525 edition, which has been edited by Michael Servetus, for the first time for 1535 edition and the second time for this 1541 edition. The second part consists of 27 Ptolemaic and 23 modern maps. The maps of all four issues were printed from the same wooden blocks which were made for the first edition by Laurent Fries in 1522. The third and final part consists of a comprehensive index.
A special feature of the 1541 edition is the missing text on verso of some modern maps. This is due to the action of Calvinism, especially since the text on verso of the Holy Land map provoked controversy. Many of the first three editions were burned, which led Servetus to abdicate on some text on verso. Nevertheless, Servetus was burnt at the stake in 1553, condemned by Calvin for his doctrinal heresies, although the text is originally from Pirckheimer.
The impressive woodcut maps were created by Laurent Fries in most cases simply producing a reduction of the equivalent map from the 1513 edition of Waldseemüller's Geographie Opus Novissima, printed by Johann Schott. Fries also prepare three new maps for the Geographie: A map of South-East Asia and the East Indies, one of China with Japan and a new World map. The geography of these derives from Waldseemüller's world map of 1507. The Southeast Asia map and the map of China with Japan, are the first ever printed individual maps of these regions. Particularly noteworthy is the Atlantic Map 'Tabula terrae nouae' with the US East Coast, Florida, the Caribbean, Central and South America down to Brazil. The so-called Admiral's Map refers to the discoveries and voyages of Christopher Columbus. Servetus has appended a few remarkable words concerning the absurdity of putting the claims of Americus in precedence to those of the real discoverer. He concludes his account of the discovery of America by Columbus on verso of the Admiral map with these words: - Toto itaque quod aiunt abberrant coelo qui hanc continentem Americam nuncupari contendunt, cum Americus multo post Columbum eandem terram adieret, nee cum Hispanis ille, sed cum Portugallensibus, ut suas merces commutaret, eo se contulit. Another distinctive feature is the new world map of Fries Orbis Tabula cum Descriptione Ventorum. For the first time, the name America has been mentioned on a map of a Ptolemy atlas.
Among the woodcut illustrations in the text, the full-page armillary sphere with the inhabited earth by Albrecht Dürer (Meder 262) stands out. In the 6th chapter of the 7th book reproduced armillary sphere stands out for precision of representation... It shows how the humanistic cosmographers have been consistently put forward during the study of Ptolemy to the perfection of spherical projection of the earth. It retrospective proves the justification of the Dürer-Stabius world map. (Schoch 275). The authorship of Dürer is unquestionably solid at this sheet, since Johann Tscherte, the imperial architect in Vienna, has mentioned this armillary sphere in two letters to Pirkheimer as drawn by our mutual friend Albrecht Dürer. (Thausing, Dürer II p. 223).
All maps of this atlas are shown in high resolution on our Atlas-Gallery website: 1541 Ptolemy/Fries Atlas
|Title||Claudii Ptolemaei Alexandrini Geographicae Enarrationis, Libri Octo ... Prostant Lugduni apud Hugonem a Porta. M. D. XLI.|
|Publisher, Year||G. Trechsel, Vienne, 1541|
|Size||40.5 x 29.0 cm (15.9 x 11.4 inches), Folio|
|Collation||149 pages, 1 leaf, 48 leaves index|
|Illustrations||49 double page woodcut maps, 1 full page woodcut map, serveral woodcuts in text, 2 full page woodcuts.|
|Volume||3 parts in 1 volume|
|Reference||Shirley T.PTOL 7g; Adams P 2226; Phillips 336; Sabin 66485|
Contemporary brown calf gilt, most likely Italian. With small embossed gilt edges and gold embossed floral centerpiece. Rubbed, extremities worn, rebacked, corners restored, new front endpapers.
Partly slightly browned and stained, minor staining in upper magin on some leaves. Title page somewhat dust soiled and with small marginal defects. Title page marked with the ownership marks of the 16th and 17th Century. Gerardus Alectorius, 1586, head at the collegiate church in Bonn and registrar in Cologne; Haymonis Knippinck and Johannis Wendelini 1630.
All maps in beautiful, clear imprints. Overall a very good, complete copy with very wide margins. Even Dürer's armillary sphere is not cut, which usually is cropped.
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