Geographiae Claudii Ptolemaei Alexandrini, Philosophi ac Mathematici praestantissimi,...

Sebastian Münster (*1489 - 1552)
Sebastian Münster's edition of Ptolemy's Geographia with 54 woodcut maps, published by H. Petri 1552 in Basel.

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The Geographia of Ptolemaeus with the magnificent woodcut maps of Sebastian Münster. With 27 Ptolemaic maps (World, 10 Europe, 4 Africa, 12 Asia) and 27 new maps drawn by Sebastian Münster and David Kandel (World, 22 Europe, 2 Asia, 1 Africa and 1 America). With the imprint of the French privilege. With 7 woodcuts in the text, one with the portrait of Claudius Ptolemaeus. On verso of each map a brief descriptive text surrounded by a woodcut borders which are occasionally attributed to Holbein. On verso of the map of America Novae Insulae, the printer's device of H. Petri with the publishing date M.D.LII.

Of great importance is the map of the New World, one of the most important maps in the history of American cartography. For the first time, the New World is shown as an entity on a map. It has the earliest appearance of Japan on a map, predating European contact. The Pacific Ocean, Mare Pacificum, is named on a map for the first time. Philip D. Burden writes about Münster's first map of America: "(This map) sealed the fate of America as the name for the New World..."

This edition of the Geographia of Ptolemaeus was commented by Sebastian Münster himself. After the first edition in 1540 four more editions followed. This is the fourth edition of 1552 with an additional treatise and extended indices by Konrad Wolffhart and 6 additional maps compared to the editions of 1540 and 1542.

All maps of this atlas can be seen in high resolution at our Atlas Gallery website: 1552 Ptolemaeus/Münster Atlas


CartographerSebastian Münster
TitleGeographiae Claudii Ptolemaei Alexandrini, Philosophi ac Mathematici praestantissimi, Libri VIII... his accesserunt... tabulae novae... per Sebastianum Munsterum
Publisher, YearHenricus Petri, Basle, 1552
Size32.0 x 23.5 cm (12.6 x 9.3 inches), Large 4to
Collation108 leaves, 195 pages
Illustrations54 double page woodcut maps, 7 woodcuts in text
CoverCalf binding with gilt on spine
ReferenceShirley, R. W.: Maps in the Atlases of the British Library, T.PTOL-8e; Phillips, P.L.: A List of Geographical Atlases in the Library of Congress, No. 370; Sabin, J.: Dictionary of Books Relating to America, No. 66488; Imago Mundi: The International Journal for the History of Cartography, XVI, pp. 84-97


Later brown calf with gilt on spine and cover. New endpapers. With a leather slipcase.

Title page with two library stamps, one of which has been deleted. Carefully cleaned, occasionally a few stains. Complete.


Sebastian Münster was born 1489 in Ingelheim (Pfalz). First being a Franciscan, he became Professor for Theology, Hebrew and Mathematics after he converted to Protestantism in 1529. He became one of the most influencing geographers of the sixteenth century. His Cosmographia, published in 1544, spread geographical knowledge wide over Europe. It was issued in nearly 40 editions and 6 languages. Münster was the first cartographer publishing each known continent on a separate map. His second important work was the Geographia, a new edition of Ptolemys Geographia. He died May 1552 in Basel on Black Death.

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Sebastian Münster: Geographiae Claudii Ptolemaei Alexandrini, Philosophi ac Mathematici praestantissimi, Libri VIII... his accesserunt.......
Sebastian Münster's edition of Ptolemy's Geographia with 54 woodcut maps, published by H. Petri 1552 in Basel.

Atlases - Münster, Sebastian - Geographiae Claudii Ptolemaei Alexandrini,...

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